One door opens ...
After a couple of years of renovation, Menkaure’s Pyramid is now open.
Whilst the Great Pyramid of Giza is permanently open for a select number of visitors each day, the second and third pyramids, those of his son and grandson, Khafre and Menkaure respectively, alternate. One is always closed for cleaning and renovation.
Now after a two-year, 3.5 million EGP ($493,000) cleaning project, Menkaure’s pyramid has reopened. Sadly, part of the work included the removal of graffiti which visitors had left on the walls of the pyramid’s passageways and burial chamber.
In keeping with the rotation schedule, the pyramid of Khafre will be closed on April 1.
Menkaure’s pyramid, at the edge of the Giza Plateau, is around 1/10 of the mass of the Great Pyramid. Egyptologists are unsure why his pyramid is so much smaller than his predecessors. Perhaps there wasn't enough room left on the Plateau. Some think that perhaps the cost of building was too high.
Whatever the reason, Menkaure wasn't building his pyramid on the cheap: the bottom 16 courses of his pyramid were sheathed in Aswan granite. This was harder and costlier to work with than the softer limestone; each block of granite had to be quarried in Aswan and then floated 850 kilometres downriver.
Despite its smaller stature, Menkaure seemed to be intent on making his pyramid special: glowing with a rich reddish hue rather than the gleaming white of his predecessors’ monuments.
Pictured are the pyramids of Menkaure and two of his three queens greeting another dawn, as they have been doing for the past 4,300 years.