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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Stepped Pyramid of Saqqara (The Pyramid of Djoser) in Egypt

The Stepped Pyramid or the Pyramid of Djoser is located in the Saqqara necropolis. The pyramid was built in 2630 BC by Imhotep for the Pharaoh - Djoser. Imhotep was the chancellor during the reign of King Djoser and was the one who designed the pyramid earning him the honour of being the first architect in early history.


Standing at 204 feet, the stepped pyramid was initially not intended to look like how it does. The construction was started off as a traditional flat roofed mastaba wherein the grave was supposed to be underground with just one step or mastaba over the ground. But over time, stretching over the 19 year reign of King Djoser, Imhotep added 5 more steps each decreasing in size as they rose upwards. This structure was to represent King Djoser's power and greatness.


The Stepped pyramid is said to be first ever stone construction by mankind. And when it was completed it was the largest building of its time. The entire Saqqara complex was surrounded by a 10 metre high limestone wall. The wall facade had 14 illusional gates/doors and one real gate which will lead you into the courtyard through the roofed colonnade. The false doors were meant for the passage of Kind Djoser's spirit between life and afterlife.




We went with a guide and it was really helpful as he explained the history of the place and about the King and his Chancellor. Last month during our visit the pyramid was under renovation and hence there was lot of scaffolding. Entry inside the pyramid was restricted. However, the pyramid was interesting to view from outside as well.




The best time to visit would be early mornings as the crowd of visitors is less at that time. It wasn't crowded when we went and we could look around peacefully. Take sufficient water and a sun hat as there is no shade inside the complex. There are locals inside offering camel/donkey rides. They will come over and offer to take your picture with the camel or the donkey. But be aware that they will ask for a payment for this later.




Overall, an interesting visit. Not as impressive as the Pyramids of Giza but worth as visit a this one is the 'original' pyramid - the first one ever to be built.

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