Abusir originally means (the house of Usiris), ancient Egyptians started building their monuments there during the 5th dynasty, and it is located several kilometers north of Saqqara. The site hosts many pyramids (around 14). The quality of the structures at Abusir does not compare to the 4th dynasty pyramids (smaller, and built with low quality limestone), which may signal a decrease in royal power or maybe less vibrant economy. All the pyramids at Abusir are step pyramids except the largest of them, pyramid of King Neferirkare, which was originally built as a step pyramid then the steps were filled with smooth material making it a smooth sided pyramid.
Pyramid Of King Sahure
Builder: King Sahure
Constructed: 2487 BC to 2475 BC
Height: 47 meters.
King Sahure (5th dynasty) son of queen Neferhetebes and king Userkaf, he ruled Egypt for 12 years. Historical documents and ancient Egyptian paintings show that king Sahure established a vast navy, and traded with countries in the Eastern Mediterranean. His pyramid had colonnaded courts and relief sculptures which showed his naval fleet and documented his wars against the Libyans in the western desert. He is credited with having begun the pyramids complex at Saqqara and he also used a quarry to the west of Abusir.
His pyramid was the first built at Abusir, the core of the pyramid was constructed of roughly shaped blocks of limestone that was brought from a quarry to the west of Abusir, it consisted of 5 to 6 steps that were held together with mud mortar.
Entrance to the pyramid was located at the north side, just east of center, near ground level. The passage ascended slightly till the main burial chamber, with a gabled roof of three tiers of massive limestone beams. The structure had been badly damaged and it is not open for public. A single trace of sarcophagus was found (a single fragment of basalt) in the 19th century.
Pyramid of King Neferirkare
Builder: Neferirkare Kakai
Constructed: 2475–2455 BC
Height: 70 Meters.
King Neferirkare (5th dynasty – 2475–2455 BC), His name means the beautiful in the soul of Ra; he took the throne after his brother Sahure. He attempted to build a pyramid that exceeded Sahure’s pyramid in size. Pyramid was planned as a six layered step pyramid, but later the steps were filled with loose masonry to turn it into a smooth-sided pyramid. It is thought that the pyramid was never finished because some of the outer casing was found around the base and it was not smoothed.
The interior design of the pyramid was very simple, just a descending corridor leading to the main burial chamber, however, the corridor and the main chamber have collapsed long time ago and no traces of any coffers was found inside.
Pyramid of King Nyuserre Ini
Builder: King Nyuserre Ini
Constructed: 2445–2421 BC
Height: 51.6 meters
King Nyuserre Ini, 5th dynasty, he ruled Egypt for 25 years (2445 – 2421 BC). He was the younger son of King Neferirkare and his mother was Queen Khentkaus the second. Nyuserre built his pyramid next to those of Sahure and Neferirkare. The pyramid was originally a 7 step one; unfortunately today it is badly deteriorated. Some of the smooth limestone casing can still be seen today covering some parts of the pyramid. The main burial chamber was lined with high quality limestone and roofed with three layers of limestone beams 10 meters long each. He also built the remarkable ‘Joy of Ra’ temple, also known as the sun temple at Abusir.
The entrance to the pyramid is located at the northern face near ground level; from there an access passage descends down to a hall; however the entrance to the hall is blocked by stone slabs. Beyond the hall, the passage continues to descend turning slightly towards east, till it finally reaches the main burial chamber, slightly below ground level. When the burial chamber was first discovered it was empty, It is suggested that treasure hunters broke in and stolen whatever was inside.