too many tombs not open
Ancient Egypt in a nutshell
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,...more
Within a short distance from the Zoser Pyramid is the subterranean tomb of Mereruka, his son and his wife. The highlight of this tomb has to be the intricate and fascinating detail of the wall carvings which portray life in those ancient times. There are scenes of hippo hunts, craftsmen working gold into jewellery and the one I particularly...more
First of all, my main tip for this site has to be - make sure you have PLENTY of time for your visit, because it covers a large area, and if you try to cram it all into just an hour or two, you will leave without having made the most of it. I really wish we'd had more time to explore this wonderful place.See the wikipedia map (link below) for the...more
Before pyramids, tombs for the elite of Egypt were constructed in the form of mastabas, which were flat, rectangular structures with sloping sides. In the 27th century BC, Imhotep built a tomb for the Pharoah Djoser (or Zoser) which consisted of 6 mastabas, decreasing in size, one on top of the other. This was the Step Pyramid, considered to be the...more
If you get the chance try to visit Saqqara. There is the famous Step Pyramid of King Zoser and the amazing tomb of Mereruka not far away.If you climb the step ladder up onto the mound overlooking the deep excavations at the site you can see off to the south yet more pyramids including the Bent Pyramid of Dashur.more
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...more
Known as the "Master Butcher of the Great House", Irukaptah built himself a decorated tomb in Saqqara along the causeway to the Pyramid of Unas. The tomb dates back to the 5th Dynasty and is the only one known in Saqqara to contain rock cut statues. These statues (seen in the attached photo) were carved one after the other during the life of...more
Tickets to the Saqqara complex also grant admission to the newly opened Imhotep Museum (since 2006), located next to the ticket office. The small but orderly museum contains an excellent collection of artefacts found in the necropolis of Saqqara, as well as useful information on the history of the necropolis. It is definitely well worth a quick...more
One of a set of tombs only recently opened to the public, known as "B Tombs", the Tomb of Niankhkhnum & Khnumhotep is one of the most interesting to visit. It was discovered only in 1964 and is located just south of the causeway to the Pyramid of Unas. The tomb dates from the 5th Dynasty (c. 2400 BC) and belonged to two men who shared the title of...more
Located just south of the Funerary Complex of Djoser, the 5th Dynasty (c. 2350 BC) Pyramid of Unas is of great archeological importance. Although it was once 43 metres high, it is now little more than a mound of rubble, but whose interior is richly decorated with hieroglyphs. It is the first known Pyramid to have such elaborate decorations, as...more
Having long served as the necropolis of Memphis, one of Ancient Egypt's greatest capitals, Saqqara is rich in funerary structures. It contains a large number of pyramidal tombs, the most prominent of which is the Step Pyramid of Djoser, though many lesser ones have been reduced to little more than rubble. Although most are out of bounds for...more
Saqqara has served as a burial ground for thousands of years. It is thus dotted with numerous tombs and mastabas from various periods and dynasties of Ancient Egypt. While Pharaohs built pyramids and grand burial structures for themselves in Saqqara, their people built mastabas and simpler tombs in close proximity to remain near the Pharaohs in the...more
North of the Pyramid of Djoser lie the ruins of the Funerary Temple of Djoser. The Temple was the site of the funerary procession before the burial of Djoser and therefore led into the Pyramid, which was deliberately designed as a confusing labyrinth of corridors to discourage potential robberies. Next to the temple is the Serdab, a small chamber...more
Predating the Giza Pyramids, the funerary step Pyramid of Djoser is considered the first monumental stone construction ever built by man, standing since around 2670 BC! Its construction as a step pyramid was somewhat accidental, as it was originally built as a large, though regular mastaba, i.e. the typical flat square tomb structure. The first...more
The Hypostyle Hall leads into the Great South Court. It is a large open area at the footsteps of the Pyramid of Djoser. While the courtyard is now nothing but a barren desert, it was once surrounded by the enclosure's wall. In the south-west corner of the Court, a section of the wall is remarkably well-preserved. The most interesting feature of...more
Located just east of the Step Pyramid, the House of the North and House of the South are shrines representing Upper and Lower Egypt. The House of the North is decorated with papyrus, while the South is decorated with lotus, the plants symbolising each region and their unity. These shrines contain what is considered the oldest tourist graffiti...more
The Hypostyle Hall leads into the Great Courtyard of the Complex of Djoser. The Hall consists of 40 columns, each carved to resemble bundles of papyrus plants, and statues were once placed between the columns. It is interesting to note that, unlike columns seen in Luxor and Aswan, these were not decorated with hieroglyphs. Such practice was not yet...more
The vast funerary complex of Djoser was once entirely surrounded by a high wall. The entrance into the complex was through a door in the south east corner. Only small sections of this wall have survived, but the south east section, through which lies the entrance, has been restored to enable the visitor to imagine what it was once like. The...more
Saqqara lies approximately 30 minutes south of Cairo. There is no public transportation from Cairo to Saqqara, nor within Saqqara itself. The best means of transportation to the necropolis and within its vast 7km x 1.5km area is private car, which is exactly what my travel companions and I did. We rented a car and a driver from our hotel for the...more
I decided not to use public transportation to see the different pyramids outside Cairo (Dahshur is not easy to reach by public transport), but to pay for a car with driver. I asked at the travel agent, which is open a few hours a day at Garden City House Hotel. There was no one to chare the price with so finally I went alone. For the transport to...more
Although it is possible to reach Saqqarah by public tansport [minibus], it is easier to hire a taxi.I usually reckon about 70 pounds for the round trip and having him wait while you tour the site. As some of the sites are widespread it is useful to have a taxi to move you from one area to the other. It is possible to walk if the weather is cool,...more
A few shops at Kerdassa sell handwoven goods like cushion covers, rugs and carpets. The area is famous for its carpet schools where children learn the art of weaving carpets while following their normal education. I used to consider this a form of child labour but now realise that the children are in fact learning a skill, and many have set up...more
There are a number of little shops selling jellabiyas for women. In all you need to bargain.The jellabiyas are made in the village of Kerdassa and sold there at a better price than in Cairo.Much of the embroidery is machine done nowadays , but there are still some hand embridered garments available - at a price. Jellabiyas for women can be elegant...more
Whether in statues or wall paintings, the majority of women when pictured with their husbands are shown as a fraction of his height.
Elswhere I have mentioned this [Luxor], but saw it again clearly on a wall at Saqqarah. The woman stands at her lord's feet, smelling a lotus and wearing a diaphonous dress.
Don't take photos of anyone on camel back - be it a policeman or a simple civilian... they'll hassle you and threaten you for a baksheesh, which you are under no obligation to give.
Especially pay attention to those people who jump into your picture, unwanted, and then ask for money. Ignore them and don't give them anything - with luck in time they might stop harassing tourists.
Most tourists seem to make a beeline straight for the Step Pyramid and maybe one or two of the other monuments, getting taken from one to the next in coaches. We found that one of the nicest things, probably because the site is so large, was that you can wander out into the encroaching desert sands, and stumble across half-buried temples and tombs...more
The road passes by different aspects of rural Egyptian life: agriculture, shops, new buildings, animals, and canals. The people go about their traditional daily life in spite of tourist buses coming in droves down the road.I am fascinated by the dove cotes and the decorated walls along th road.Horse and donkey carts are still in use. Palms are...more
The Pyramid of Userkaf dooesn't look much like a pyramid - more like a mound of bricks abondoned by Djoser's pyramid. But a pyramid it is, and not even an ugly one: it looks like Saqqara would have looked like while the desert was eating it away. Basically its how the necropolis would have looked like, before it started being excavated.Who was...more
The necropolis of Saqqara is a huge one - and an old one, too. Many burial grounds are still (at least partly) covered in sand; which makes it a very mysterious place to visit.
The necropolis is so big that one needs a car to visit it: it's 6 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide.
Fondest memory: The fondest memory is the reason why people visit Saqqara: Djoser's step pyramid. it's full of charm.
The many tombs (underground, or above ground) are very worthwhile, too. The bas-reliefs inside are so carefully drawn that it's possible to see all details, all learn a lot about ancient Egyptian life.