Saqqara – Splendours of Egypt

Saqqara is one of the richest archaeological sites in Egypt and today we visit its Step Pyramid of Djoser.  Saqqara’s monuments span some 3,000 years, with monuments including the earliest ancient funerary structures to Coptic monasteries.Colonnade - Stepped Pyramid - Saqqara

There were masses of visitors at the entrance to the enclosure, so we had to wait our turn to move in.  To get to the Great Southern Court, we walk through a magnificent colonnaded corridor.  This corridor is lined with 40 pillars, ribbed in imitation palm stems. 

Stepped Pyramid - SaqqaraEveryone knows of the Great Pyramids of Giza, but it’s the Step Pyramid that holds the most significance in the history of Egyptian monuments.  The Step Pyramid marked an unprecedented leap forward in the world of architecture.  Imhotep has been hailed the inventor of the art of building with hewn stone.  Site excavations revealed Imhotep’s name inscribed on Djoser’s pedestal.  The vast enclosure surrounding the Step Pyramid was another achievement.  The site design provided the template for subsequent Egyptian architecture.

Saqqara became the royal necropolis for the Old Kingdom capital of Memphis.  As the city grew, so did its necropolis.  It spanned Frieze of cobrasan area over 6 km long and more than 1.5 km wide.  The Step Pyramid of Djoser was built some time after 2630 BC. The pyramid was built for King Djoser by Imhotep, high priest and architect.  It was the first pyramid in Egyptian history. The Step Pyramid was the first stone structure of its size in the world.  Prior to this, royal tombs were underground rooms covered by low sandy mounds.  The Step Pyramid was started as a large mastaba tomb.  It followed the well-established Saqqara tradition.  Imhotep chose to use stone rather than mud-brick.  He built one mastaba on top of the other, each one smaller than the one below.  In one of the restored sections of the wall you’ll see a frieze of cobras.  It is quite a sight.


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