Saqqara, situated 40 kilometers southwest of Cairo, is without doubt one of the most necessary cemeteries of Memphis, which was one of the vital necessary cities in historical Egyptian historical past. The identify of the placement is most definitely derived from Sokar, the god of this necropolis.

Saqqara is a real open-air museum, displaying everything of historical Egyptian historical past. Kings and noblemen from the primary two dynasties (c.3100–2686 BC) had been buried right here, and the Step Pyramid of Djoser (c.2686–2613 BC), the world’s earliest monumental edifice totally composed of stone, can be situated right here.

Saqqara historical past

Saqqara, now a UNESCO World Heritage website, is house to 11 giant pyramids unfold out over 6 kilometers. Essentially the most well-known is the Step Pyramid, which was constructed within the 27th century BC because the funerary complicated of Pharaoh Djoser (or Zoser), who reigned from 2630 to roughly 2611 BC.

Saqqara’s varied pyramids had been created all through three,000 years of Historical Egyptian civilization, starting from these of Fifth Dynasty kings Userkaf and Unas to the extraordinarily well-preserved Pyramid of Teti I, constructed by the Sixth Dynasty’s first ruler.

Saqqara pyramids

Saqqara Step Pyramid

The Step Pyramid, the tomb of the third Dynasty king Djoser or Zoser, was constructed by Imhotep and is the earliest giant stone monument constructed in Egypt.

The pyramid’s form may be defined as a improvement of the big mastabas (mud-brick tombs) of the First and Second Dynasties, with the six steps, every smaller than the one beneath, produced by the addition of successive new layers of masonry to the unique mastaba, accompanied by the enlargement of the decrease phases.

The Step Pyramid is 60 meters tall and manufactured from low-quality clay sandstone quarried regionally.

The within of the Step Pyramid has reopened to company after 17 years of restore. The inner chambers and passages of the pyramid had been used for a wide range of functions, together with the burial of the pharaoh’s shut kinfolk (significantly these of his sons who died as kids) and the storage of grave items for the utilization of the lifeless.


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Pyramid of Unas

The Pyramid of Unas or Onnos, the Fifth Dynasty’s ultimate pharaoh, is situated southwest of the Step Pyramid. The pyramid’s inside, which opened in 1881, is open to the general public.

A sloping path, the doorway to which was initially hidden beneath the paving, runs from the north facet to an antechamber, from which a horizontal hall, initially restricted by three trapdoors on the far finish, continues to a central chamber.

The middle room and tomb chamber partitions are coated with writings from the “Pyramid Literature,” the oldest recognized Egyptian non secular texts referring to life after demise, with the etched hieroglyphs stuffed in with blue pigment.

Pyramid of Userkaf

The mound of rubble northeast of Djoser’s Step Pyramid represents the Pyramid of Userkaf, the founding father of the Fifth Dynasty. With an unique base measurement of 75 meters, the pyramid was fairly tiny, and it was situated inside a correspondingly small precinct.

The mortuary temple was on the south facet, and the ruins of a secondary pyramid are to the southwest.

Mastabas from the Previous Kingdom may be discovered south of Userkaf’s Pyramid.

Pyramid of Teti

A 500-meter-northeast of Djoser’s Pyramid is a mound of earth that represents the placement of Teti’s Pyramid, the founding father of the Sixth Dynasty. The few ruins of a mortuary temple, an alabaster altar, and a number of other table-like statue bases may be discovered on its east facet.

Additional east is a chaotic pile of constructions relationship from the Previous Kingdom to the Ptolemaic interval.

Most well-known Saqqara tombs

Tomb of Nefer-her-ptah

The tiny Tomb of Nefer-her-ptah, superintendent of the Palace, Royal Wigmaker, and confidant of an unidentified pharaoh, is situated about 300 meters east of the Pyramid of Unas. It includes an entrance hall and a single chamber, but it surely has high-quality preliminary sketches for reliefs that had been by no means realized. They painting on a regular basis life, agricultural, and looking conditions.

Double tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep

The Double Tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep (Fifth Dynasty), two buddies or kinfolk who had been monks of Re in Niuserre’s Solar Temple and Court docket manicurists, is situated to the east of the Tomb of Nefer and Companions, beneath the causeway (which was constructed over it).

The tomb is partially hewn from the rock, partially made with masonry, and partially confronted with fine-grained limestone. The subtle ornament of painted reliefs within the stone-built entrance portion has been rigorously preserved.

Reliefs representing funeral rituals may be discovered on the portico’s partitions, and the lifeless males with their eldest sons may be discovered on each side of the entryway. The mother is seen being carried to the tomb by means of the gateway, accompanied by providing bearers.

Tomb of Nefer and Companions

The Tomb of Nefer and Companions (Fifth Dynasty) is situated on the south facet of the causeway resulting in the Pyramid of Unas. It’s most definitely the household or communal tomb of a guild of singers.

It includes a single eight-meter-long room with 9 tomb shafts. In one in every of them was found the mummies of a unadorned man, dressed solely in a blue beaded necklace, laying on his facet along with his legs barely bent, as if asleep.

The plastered partitions are adorned with a plethora of reliefs. 5 rows of scenes from on a regular basis life are depicted on the left wall, together with woodworkers, farming scenes, and a uncommon and informative scene representing the launching of a ship. The lifeless guys are depicted on the right-hand wall with their wives at a funeral banquet.

Saqqara in the present day

The Serapeum, the place the Egyptians buried the holy bulls of Apis, is one in every of Saqqara’s historical treasures. The Egyptians thought-about these bulls to be reincarnations of the deity Ptah, and they’re now neatly mummified in huge stone coffins.

Saqqara is a big historic monument which may take hours to discover. For these with restricted time, the Serapeum, Djoser’s burial complicated, and the Mastaba of Akhti-Hotep and Ptah-Hotep are the best locations to see.

There are a number of excursions supplied at Saqqara, together with camel, horse, and donkey excursions across the Step Pyramid.

Sherif Khalil is Proprietor of Dunes & Past. Dunes & Past provides luxurious excursions, Nile cruises and desert safaris in Egypt.

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