Egypt yesterday opened two of its oldest pyramids, located about 40km south of the capital Cairo, to visitors for the first time since 1965.

Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany said tourists could now visit the Bent Pyramid and its satellite pyramid in the Dahshur royal necropolis, part of the Memphis Necropolis, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The Bent Pyramid, which was built during the Old Kingdom of the Pharaoh of Sneferu in about 2600BC, is unique in that it has two internal structures. El-Anany said it represented a transitional form of pyramid construction between the Djoser Step Pyramid (2667-2648BC) and the Meidum Pyramid (also about 2600BC).

A member of an international delegation sketches the site of the Bent Pyramid during an event opening the pyramid and its satellites for visitors in Dashur, Egypt. Photo / AP
A member of an international delegation sketches the site of the Bent Pyramid during an event opening the pyramid and its satellites for visitors in Dashur, Egypt. Photo / AP

El-Anany also said Egyptian archaeologists had uncovered a collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi, some of them with mummies. He said archaeologists also found wooden funerary masks and instruments used for cutting stones, dating to the Late Period (664-332 BC).

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Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said they also uncovered large stone blocks along with limestone and granite fragments indicating the existence of ancient graves.

Egypt has been whipping up publicity for its new historical discoveries in the hopes of reviving a devastated tourism sector still recovering from the turmoil after a 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

- AP