Saqqarah Things to Do

  • Approaching Mereruka's tomb
    Approaching Mereruka's tomb
    by MikeBird
  • King Zosers Step Pyramid
    King Zosers Step Pyramid
    by MikeBird
  • Approaching the Step Pyramid
    Approaching the Step Pyramid
    by MikeBird

Best Rated Things to Do in Saqqarah

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    The mastaba of Mereruka

    by fonden Written Apr 26, 2007

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    The mastaba of Mereruka is really worth a visit. It's the largest one in Saqqarah with it's 32 (!) rooms. Mereruka was the the son in law to Pharao Teti, who was the first pharao of the 6th dynasty. The tomb has som really remarkalbe wallpaintings showing scenes of hunting, goldsmith working and another one showing what happens to people who not are paying their taxes.
    There is a sacrificial chamber at the far end of the mastaba with six pillars. In this chamber a statue of Mereruka was found intact.

    This is the place to go if you would like to see some real Egyptian hieroglyphs. You are not allowed to take photos in here though.

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    Djoser's Pyramid

    by fonden Written Apr 26, 2007

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    Djoser's Pyramid
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    During the Third Dynasty of Ancient Egypt (27th century BC), the architect Imhotep built Egypt's first step pyramid, the Pyramid of Djoser, by building a series of six successively smaller mastabas (an earlier form of tomb structure), one atop of another. This is the oldest, still standig pyramid in Egypt.
    The pyramid used to be sorrunded by a 10,5 m high wall made out of
    limestone. Some of the wall has been restored and now serves as the entrence to the pyramid area. A korridor made out of 40 columns lead you out the southern yard.

    Located at the east side of the pyramid you can find the oldest examples of tourist scribble from 1100 BC.
    On the north side of the pyramid you can see a painted statue of Djoser. The statue it though a copy the original, which can be found in the Egyptian museum in Cairo.

    Quite interesting to visit. Quite nice to have a guide here if possible, very much history and names to keep tack on.
    Worth a visit.

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    Pyramid of Unas

    by fonden Written Apr 26, 2007

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    Una's Pyramid

    South of Djoser's Pyramed is Una's Pyramid from the fifth dynasty. Nowadays this pyramid is now ruined, and looks more like a small hill than a royal pyramid.
    It was investigated by both Perring and Lepsius, but it was Gaston Maspero who first found the entry to the chambers in 1881, where he found texts covering the walls of the burial chambers, these together with others found in nearby pyramids are now known as the Pyramid Texts. These are the oldest known examples of decorative script found in a Pharaoh tomb.
    In the burial chamber itself the remains of a mummy were found, including the skull, right arm and shin, but whether these belong to Unas is not certain.

    Unfortunaitly you can't enter this pyramid since it's almost ruined. But you can visit many of the 200 mastabas and tombs surrounding it, many of them are very interesting.

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    See the Step Pyramid

    by uglyscot Updated Jan 11, 2011

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    Outer wall of compound and Step pyramid

    The step pyramid is remarkable for being the first man-made stone pyramid. It is actually 6 mastabas on top each other. The pyramid was designed by Imhotep, whio eventually himself was worshipped as a god. Some people believe Imhotep's tomb is somewhere on the Saqqarah necropolis.
    In addition to Djoser's pyramid are others of Pepi, Teti, Unas, Sekhemket.
    There are a number of fine tombs with bas relief and walls inscribed with the Book of the Dead.
    Further out is the philosopher's circle , a rather disappointing collection of Greek or Roman busts. The Serapaeum where the Apis Bulls were buried is unfortunately closed.
    Still there is a lot to see, and more is being discovered all the time.

    The only entrance to Zoser's complex is in the south-east corner of the giant enclosure wall [10,5 metres high] It encloses 150,000 sq m. and is made of limestone There are 14 bastions with gateways, thirteen of which are actually false doors of solid stone

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    Tomb of Mereruka

    by uglyscot Updated Apr 15, 2008

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    wall painting

    This is a very large mastaba tomb, in fact the largest Old Kingdom tomb at Saqqarah.. It is excellent for giving a clear picture of life in Ancient Egypt. The wall paintings are fairly well preserved.
    Mereruka was probably a member of the royal family, and had married the daughter [Shesheshat , aka Waetetkhethar] of Pharaoh Teti, whose pyramid is nearby.
    There are 32 chambers in three sections: 21 are devoted to Meruruka who held several high positions : Chief Justice and vizier, Inspector of the priests associated with the Pyramid of Teti, Scribe of the Divine Books, Chief Lector Priest, Overseer of the Royal record Scribes. these titles are inscibed on the jambs of the entrance. There is a14.5 m shaft down to the burial roof where he was laid in his sarcophagus. But this was robbed in early times.
    A section for his wife Shesheshat.
    A section for his son Meryteti.
    There is a good statue of Mereruka coming out of the false door in the large chamber which has 6 square columns . The walls show scenes of wildlife, hunting, industry, playing, as well as family life. For those who cannot get down to Luxor, this tomb is a good example of what can be seen there- and is far older, dating back to the 6th Dynasty

    Holes in a corridor once had statues which have been removed to the Museum.

    More pictures in the travelogue.

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    The tombs

    by awladhassan Written Dec 11, 2005

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    The largest tomb is that of Mereruka which has fine wall decorations, though the colour is fading- not surprising after more than 4000 years!
    There are similar murals in the romb of Ka Gemni,The tomb of Ti and the pyramid of Teti and Unas Pyramid Causeway.
    In the pyramids of Teti and Pepi there are incised the Book of the Dead.
    From the walls we learn almost every aspect of Egyptian life from cooking, wrestling, games, making jewellery, fishing and agriculture etc

    *My apologies for the quality of the pictures. They were taken from my video clip in the days before photography inside the tombs was forbidden.

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    Go into the pyramid of Teti

    by uglyscot Updated Mar 23, 2007

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    Pyramid of Teti

    The pyramid of Teti is nothing much to look at- a heap of rubble, but go down into the tomb and you will see a chamber with a sarcophagus. The ceiling is painted with six-pointed stars, and the walls have inscriptions from the Book of the Dead.

    Similar is the Pyramid of Unas on the southern side of the Djoser pyramid. It can be entered and also has the Book of the Dead.

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    look at the colonnade

    by awladhassan Written Dec 11, 2005

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    the colonnade
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    The entrance passage is amazing. The architect Imhotep fashioned a colonnade from stone but in the manner of the traditional reed or plant bundles of the native houses. It was the first time that pillars were built and as he was not sure if they could stand freely alone, the columns were attached to a wall.
    They have now developed a polish from the 'desert varnish' and are a beautiful honey colour.
    When you walk through the columns try to look carefully to appreciate the achievement of this first great architect, who later was worshipped as a god.

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    Around the Step Pyramid

    by awladhassan Written Dec 11, 2005

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    Step Pyramid and its courtyard
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    Although the Step Pyramid looks inferior to those of Giza, it has its own beauty. Beside the pyramid is the serdab, a narrow box containing a statue of djoser viewing the heavens. There are many other buildings, and a huge courtyard where the hebsed festival was performed. At the southern corner can be seen a frieze of serpents [cobras, the uraei that denote kingship],

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    Heb Sed Court

    by Childish Written Jan 27, 2007

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    Saqqara, Heb Sed Court
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    Heb Sed Court is the place where Heb Sed Festival took place. It was a Jubilee of 30th year of the reign, sometimes celebrated in a shorter period rather than in 30 years. The idea was to demonstrate that the king is still able to rule the country.
    The chapels in the Heb Sed Court again have symbolic meaning. And again they were built in the way before the stone was used but rather mud-bricks, wood, etc. The chapel on the picture has unique architecture in Egyptian history, representing the plant Herculaneum giganteum.

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    Visit Memphis

    by uglyscot Written Jul 4, 2005

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    Memphis

    Memphis was the old capital of Egypt but now any remains must be under the present village. The village is called Mit Rihaina and is a few kilometers from Saqqarah when returning to Cairo.
    It's a bit expensive to get in for all their is to see. The main attraction is the colossal statue of Ramses II [damaged] which lies in a specially constructed museum. See The Mighty Pharaoh travelogue.
    Outside in the gardens are other statues and a sphinx, and other bits and pieces. Pleasant enough.

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    Djoser's Pyramid (aka Step Pyramid)

    by Childish Updated Jan 22, 2007

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    Egypt, Saqqara, Step Pyramid
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    The Step Pyramid is the earliest stone-made monument. It was built by the architect Imhotep for the pharaoh of the 3rd Dynasty, Djoser.
    Djoser, or as his real name name was, Netjerikhet, broke up the tradition with his decision his burial place to be in Saqqara instead of in Abydos, the burial place of the most of his ancestors from the 1st and from the 2nd Dynasty. The pyramid has the shape of 6 mastabas laid one on the top of the other. So, not only the material but also the form of the royal tomb were innovations for the time.
    Why this form of the pyramid was chosen? One answer I heard on my journey was that this is how the sun at sun rise in the desert looks like. And it is true!

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    Mastaba of Kagemni

    by Childish Written Jan 21, 2007

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    Kagemni was a judge at the time of the reign of the pharaoh Unas (5th Dynasty) and a vezier under the pharaoh Teti (6th Dynasty).
    Maybe the most important decorations in the tomb are the scenes of the everyday life incl. a fishing scenes, a battle between crocodiles; offerings; a hippopotamus hunt, etc.
    Especially two scenes are subjects of big discussions:
    - the scene where a man kisses a little pig;
    - the scene with the splitting of a calf from his mother-cow.
    The tomb was discovered in 1843 by Richard Lepsius.

    We were not allowed to take pictures inside.

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    Enclosing Walls & Collonade

    by Childish Written Jan 22, 2007

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    Egypt, Saqqara, Entrance Walls
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    The Djoser's complex was surrounded by a wall of 10.5m height and it was 1 645 m long. There were 15 false porches and only one real at the southwest corner which is now used as an entrance.
    Some of the scientist, among them Lauer, believed the walls had been build after the model of the White Walls in Memphis.
    The entrance hall is 54m long with 40 limestone columns. There 24 small chambers between the columns, on the both sides.
    The corridor leads you to a large, open courtyard (South Courtyard) where the Step Pyramid resides.

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    Pavillons of the North and South

    by Childish Written Jan 27, 2007

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    Saqqara, Graffiti in the Southern Pavilion
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    (aka Palaces or Houses)
    Some of the archaeologists believe both pavilions had no practical meaning but rather symbolic one and symbolize the Upper and the Lower Egypt. They are located next to the Mortuary temple but are not connected to each other.
    Pay attention to the following sites:
    The graffiti in the Southern Pavilion date back to the 18th and 19th dynasties. They are the first historical evidence that the complex belonged to Djoser.
    The three papyrus columns of the North pavilion are the oldest ones of their kind.

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