While pyramids exist all over the world, the spectular monuments in Egypt capture the imagination and represent the whole of Egyptian history.
Pyarmids evolved throughout the course of Egyptian history from small mound-like mastabas that morphs into the stepped pyramid in the third Dynasty adn then to various forms of the true pyarmid in the fourth Dynasty, the dynasty of the pyramid builders. Sneferu's early attempts -- the collapsed pyramid of maidum and the bent pyramid -- mark the transformation of the mastaba shape to the true pyramids of Giza. The pyarmids of the fourth dynasty include far more than the major pyramids at Giza, they also include smaller pyramids in Abu Rowash, Saqqara, and Zawiyet-el-Aryan.
Later pyramids are smaller, and steeper, harking back to the earlier model of the "stacked/layered" pyramids. They are built in Egypt through the 13th Dynasty adn then disappeared as a funerary monument.
Even though pyramids today stand as singular monuments in the flat bedrock of the plains, they were never intended to be alone. A pyramid was built as part of an enormous pyramid complex, which included a mortuary temple atainst the wall of the pyramid and a valley temple, far awy from the pyramid on the edge of the Nile (or a waterway to the Nile) connected by a causeway sometimes a kilometer in length. The mortuary temple is usually on the eastern side of the pyramid and was an expanded version of the offering places of earlier pyramids.
There are two primary types of complexes (often called the "Djoser type" and the "maidum type". The djoser type of complex has a strong north-south axis, with a main entrance (through the enclosure wall) on the south-east corner. The wall is niched -- as the wall around the Djoser complex is, and there is a temple on the north or south.
The later version of the complex has an east-west axis with the entrance on the east side, leading directly into the mortuary temple, which is symmetrical and balanced. THere is often a satellie pyramid for offerings and the temple is only on the east side ot the pyramid. Also, a small chapel is built on the east side of the pyramid to mark the entrance ot the burial shafts and chambers within the pyramid.