The Secrets of the Saqqara Site...

 

Anyone who's anyone has heard about Egypt's pyramids. Those three 'Toblerone' shaped objects in the Sahara desert on the outskirts of Giza in Cairo. Unfortunately, that's all people seem to know about Egypt's wonders. Did you know there is a whole collection of pyramids in Egypt? Like... over 100! Many are now inaccessible to the average historical enthusiast as they lie within military areas. However, there is a site called Saqqara where many a pyramid can be seen. And not only that, so many more secrets await at this complex. Saqqara was the original capital of Egypt, known as Memphis. It dates back as far as 3100BC and trust me, you're going to be blown away by what you're about to see! 

Basic entry to the Step Pyramid and surrounding areas is 80LE. Everything else is for an extra cost. Decide what you want to see and ask for the extra tickets when you first arrive. 

Scroll down to find out more.

The Step Pyramid
The Step Pyramid is neighboured by an Archaic Cemetery. Mostly lying in ruins, there is debate about who exactly would have been buried here. Some suggest that it may have been kings from the First Dynasty, others refute this theory.
Back to the Step Pyramid and this was built for King Djoser (2667BC). It has six levels but is not known as a 'true pyramid' because the sides were never smoothed out, leaving the steps which we are able to see today. This whole area is the first great monumental structure in the history of mankind. Until this point, most structures had been made of wood or mud. The courtyard was used for worship and for the king to 'renew his powers'. There were also areas for which to store food, drink and equipment within the pillars. The surrounding area was mainly used for temples and burials.
When standing here, I love to imagine the hubbub of everyday locals going about their business when this was the height of Egyptian society.
 
 
Serapeum
From the outside, this looks like nothing more than a sign in the sand. Literally. However, if you make the effort to venture down to the entrance, I can guarantee you will well and truly have your breath taken away.
The boulevard leading to the entrance would have been lined with 600 sphinxes at one point. Today, it is merely a boardwalk down to a huge wooden door.
This Serapeum was thought to be for bulls which became immortal after death. A large tunnel was constructed through the stone, deep underground, and chambers added off to the sides. Within each chamber, was to be put a granite sarcophagus weighing up to 70 tonnes. Each sarcophagus would contain a mummified bull - specially chosen because of the white diamond shape present on its forehead. The sarcophagi were all cut perfectly at 90 degree angles inside and outside, both lids and boxes. The details present on the outer are so precise that they look as if they have been carved with lasers! Oh, and the sarcophagi had also been lowered about 1.5m down into each chamber...
The granite came from Aswan in Upper Egypt, almost 1000km (620 miles) away. Scientists have carried out many investigations into these sarcophagi and how they were transported, made and put into the chambers. Ultimately, it has been decided that there is no explanation as the boxes are too big to be turned, there was not enough space for the man or animal power needed underground to move the boxes and as if that wasn't enough... all those years ago, there was no ventilation system so people would only have been able to survive underground for around three minutes before the air ran out. Just how did the Ancient Egyptians create this place? There are so many questions that need to be answered!!
 
Tomb of Ti 
Similarly to the Serapeum, Ti's Tomb also looks nothing more than an empty patch of desert at first glance. However, once you get up close to the entrance, it is clear that what lies beneath the ground is truly exceptional and well worth seeing.
As you descend into the tomb, the first part is quite open and above ground. There is the chance to go down into the burial chamber which requires crawling through some tight spaces and leads you to a sarcophagus.
The other part of this fabulous tomb has two amazing features - the extremely detailed and quite colourful hieroglyphics on the walls and the mysterious hidden statue.
After you have finished winding your way through the narrow corridors of the tomb, admiring every single precise engraving, you will come to nothing more than a wall with a small slit in it. Peer carefully through and you will see a lone statue staring back at you. Highly creepy but highly impressive too!
 
 
Titi Pyramid 
Similarly to the Serapeum, Ti's Tomb also looks nothing more than an empty patch of desert at first glance. However, once you get up close to the entrance, it is clear that what lies beneath the ground is truly exceptional and well worth seeing.
As you descend into the tomb, the first part is quite open and above ground. There is the chance to go down into the burial chamber which requires crawling through some tight spaces and leads you to a sarcophagus.
The other part of this fabulous tomb has two amazing features - the extremely detailed and quite colourful hieroglyphics on the walls and the mysterious hidden statue.
After you have finished winding your way through the narrow corridors of the tomb, admiring every single precise engraving, you will come to nothing more than a wall with a small slit in it. Peer carefully through and you will see a lone statue staring back at you. Highly creepy but highly impressive too!
 
 
Tomb of Mereruka
This tomb is by far one of the most impressive and well-preserved sites I've seen in Egypt and across the entire world. From the moment of entry, the hieroglyphics stand out. Each one so intricately carved, the different scenes of ancient life playing out along the walls from the floor to the ceiling. 
So many of them are preserved with the original colours. 
There are plenty of little rooms (33 in total), twists and turns and stairways to investigate. The hieroglyphics on the walls show everything from fishing to hunting and dancing. You could easily lose a couple of hours just looking at all of the different carvings and puzzling over how exactly they were created thousands of years ago. 
As wow as the hieroglyphics are, the real pièce de résistance is the perfectly intact statue of Mereruka which stands guard within the principal chamber. It's all truly truly fascinating!
 
 
Imhotep Museum
Unlike other ancient sites in Egypt,  Sakkara actually has a museum as part of the experience. Entry is included with the  price of the basic ticket. The museum is modern, well laid out and informative but quite hidden so it is easy to miss. 
There are six halls within the museum and each one is dedicated to a different area  of the Saqqara complex.
There is even a section dedicated to the French Egyptologist, Jean-Philippe Lauer  who was responsible for so much of the original excavation work at Saqqara in the 1920s.
Many of the items on display came directly from the various sites at Saqqara. They are now stored in temperature controlled environments and photographs are allowed to be taken, with the purchase of an extra ticket.
 
 

Jess is a Wanderer

 

dreamer . photographer . adventurer

 

jessisawanderer@gmail.com

© 2018 by Jessica Ingles

 

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