5-speed listening (Pyramids - Level 3)

Egypt opens ancient pyramids for first time since 1960s



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Egypt has opened two of its oldest pyramids. The pyramids are in Dahshur, about 40 kilometers south of the Egyptian capital city Cairo. They are now open to the public for the first time since 1965. Hundreds of people gathered outside the Bent Pyramid at a special opening ceremony on Saturday. The Bent Pyramid was built 4,600 years ago. It was built for the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Sneferu. It is 101 meters high. Builders used new techniques to build it and archaeologists say it was an important step in the development of pyramid building. Tourists can also enter an 18-metre high "side pyramid" next to the Bent Pyramid. This was built for King Sneferu's wife Hetepheres.

The two pyramids are part of the Memphis Necropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Egypt hopes the opening of the pyramids will boost the country's tourism industry. Egypt was a top tourist destination but tourist numbers fell after the 2011 uprising. Ancient sites in Egypt are on the bucket lists of many people around the world. At the Bent Pyramid, tourists will be able to go through a 79-meter narrow tunnel to reach two chambers deep inside. They will also be able to see ancient treasures found inside the pyramid. Egyptian archaeologists uncovered a collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi - the coffins people were buried in. Some of the sarcophagi contained mummies.

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