Memphis and Sakkara, Cairo
The mortuary complex around the step pyramid is 544M long and 277M wide and there is a lot to explore. A part of the 10M high enclosure wall with bastions survived and is restored. In the wall were many false doors, so the spirit of Zoser could come and go. For the living people is only one entrance from where you can reach the Great South Court. Further you can have a look at the Houses of the South and the North, the serdab and the mortuary temple.
The complex is very impressing. I visited Saqqara two times, but will be back.
The Step Pyramid of King Zoser is the largest stone structure ever built. The brilliant architect Imhotep, also first minister and doctor of Zoser, constructed the pyramid in 2675 BC. His way of construction was new and a break with traditions to build royal tombs as undergroud rooms.
This pyramid became the inspiration and the start for the future architectural achievements and building of pyramids in Egypt.
Saqqara, named after Sokar the God of the cemetaries, is the necropolis of Memphis.
In 3000 years the necropoils grew 7 KM into the western desert.
Zoser's step pyramid is the most known structure of Saqqara, but there is so much more, that for exploring the site you need more than one day. So you have to make choices.
The archaeologists ignored the site a long time. The mortuary complex round the pyramid is first discovered 80 years ago.
Memphis, founded in 3.100 BC, was the glorious capital of the Old Kingdom of Egypt.
Even in the 5th century BC, long after Thebes became the new capital of Egypt, was Memphis still a "prosperous city and cosmopolitan centre" (Herodotus).
Nowadays it's only a small museum in open air. The main attraction is the huge limestone statue of Ramses II. This staue is lying down and is similar to the one standing at Midan Ramses in Cairo.
In the open air museum of Memphis is -except the large statue of Ramses II - also an alabaster sfinx of eight tonne in the garden.
Furtheryou can see the sarcophagus Amenhotep and more smaller statues of Ramses II.
Opening hours: 8 am to 5 pm
Entrancefee: 14 Egyptian pound
MEMPHIS: This ancient capital of MENUFER extends for 15 km from Giza to Saqqara began by architect Imhotep has nothing left but a few ruins, most important of which are the TEMPLE OF PTAH, where the pharaohs were crowned & a chapel of Seti I. Look out for the Alabaster SPHINX OF AMENOPHIS II (pictured) carved from a single block (4.5 m high & 8 m long) which once flanked the entrance to the Temple of Ptah.
SAQQARA: 8 km long & 1 km wide. This is where ZOSER'S PYRAMID is located; the first large structure finished in stone ashlars. Height: 62.5 m Base: 125x109 m. An extraordinary number of galleries, tunnels & rooms has be discovered under the pyramid.
Take an escorted tour so you don't get lost or pass out from the incalculable heat and sun...and visit the reeeally ancient Step Pyramids at Saqqara...
Walking in Memphis...
I took this hazy picture taken early in the morning when the sun was shining though the trees. It was cold here!