Although the city of El Fayoum has some interesting historical sites and beautiful natural protected areas like the Protected Area of Wadi El Rayan, it is not often visited by many tourists who spend their vacations in Egypt.
Among the remarkable ancient monuments in El Fayoum is the Hawara pyramid that would be recommended to be visited by travelers visiting Egypt especially those who are fond of the ancient Egyptian pyramids.
The pyramid of Hawara is located only 9 kilometers to the South East of the center of the city of El Fayoum on a high plateau. The pyramid can be reached by riding in a couple of public transportations. However, it is always recommended, especially in El Fayoum due to the narrowness of the roads, to hire a car from Cairo or from El Fayoum to visit such monuments as the Pyramid of Hawara.
Usually a tour to El Fayoum would include a visit to the Pyramid of Hawara, the pyramid of Meidum, and some of the other historical sites in the area.
Amenmhat III was the sixth ruler of the 12th dynasty of ancient Egypt. He ruled over Egypt for a period from 1860 till 1814. He is said to be the greatest ruler of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.
His pyramid and great palace in Hawara in El Fayoum was considered by many historians to be a great wonder when the palace once existed.
Among the most important achievements of the king Amenmhat III was that he constructed a water dam near El Lahoun in El Fayoum. He was also famous for many constructions and developments in El Fayoum.
The king Amenmhat III, who began ruling Egypt in 1860 BC, started constructing his pyramid in Hawara in the 15th year of his reign. This means around the year 1845 BC.
The reason why Amenmhat built this pyramid was that he was not satisfied with his pyramid in Dahshur that collapsed shortly after its construction. However, the king never knew that his pyramid would not remain as solid and great as the Pyramids of Giza until today.
The pyramid of Hawara was made out of mud bricks that were coated with limestone. However, the outer limestone cover was ruined throughout history. This is why the pyramid has the look of a huge pile of sand today.
The pyramid was originally 58 meter high and each diameter of its base was 105 meters in length. However, only 20 meters of its original height remained until today.
When the guests spending their holidays in Egypt arrive at the entrance to the Pyramid of Hawara, they pass by the ruins of an ancient necropolis that occupies the northern section of this ancient historical site.
The architects responsible for the construction of the Pyramid of Hawara wanted to deceive the robbers. This is why the entrance to the pyramid is situated in its Southern section instead of the normal being in the northern section of the pyramid.
The guests can enter inside the pyramid from its southern small entrance. However, only a few steps are accessible due to the ground water that covers the rest of the internal structure of the pyramid of Hawara.
The burial chamber of the Pyramid of Hawara once had a huge sarcophagus that weighed 110 tons and was made out of one piece of quartz. The entrance to the burial chamber was blocked by a huge piece of rock that prevented the thieves to enter from this part. However, they were able to enter through a hole in the ceiling and they robbed everything inside the burial chamber.
The large area that starts at the foot of the pyramid to the south has the ruins of the ancient palace of Labyrinth that was a huge temple that was also constructed by Amenmhat III. This palace used to have 12 large ceiled halls with six of them looking towards the northern while the other six looks into the direction of the south.
It was estimated that the palace used to have 300 chambers with almost half of them being constructed under the ground to host the royal tombs.
Today only a few fragments of the granite pillars of the upper floor can be seen while the underground still needs to be excavated.
However, all the historical records including that of the famous historian Herodotus, assert it was an amazing structure. However, some of the ruins of the palace are now on display in Egyptian Museum in Cairo, others in the Museum of Berlin in Germany.
It was even said that the British, when they were controlling Egypt in the beginning of the 20th century, took some of the palace’s stones to build the railway of Egypt.
Situated near the Pyramid of Hawara, only one and a half kilometers to the South West of the pyramid, there is the tomb of Nefru Ptah, the daughter of the king Amenmhat III. This tomb that was made out of limestone hosted a granite sarcophagus, many potteries. This tomb was actually discovered in 1956.
The Pyramid of Hawara is surly worth a visit by any traveler who visit Egypt and who is fond of the ancient Egyptian history and architecture. Although it is now somehow ruined, it still represents an important stage in the construction of pyramids.