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Home / Blog / Egypt Encyclopedia blog category / The step pyramid of Djoser

The step pyramid of Djoser



The step pyramid of Djoser

You would consider the other pyramids located in Giza a lot more refined with their smooth sides. But the Djoser pyramid has by right earned its name as the most important of all pyramids. If you want to see this step pyramid, you will have to make a separate journey about 11 miles (19 km) south of Giza. Saqqara was an ancient necropolis of the city of Memphis, where the remains of the Pharaohs and some of the richest and most important ancient Egyptians rest in their peace. The story behind every pyramid, started with a mastaba. It was a requirement of the sacred burial ceremony, something like today‘s gravestone, but much bigger. A building with a rectangular base and oblique sides, on the walls, there were carved the family relationships or the deceased one‘s story. Because of the resemblance, the mastaba got its name from a bench in front of an Egyptian house. The most important part was actually deep under the mastaba, in a cell with the mummy. There was one other, hidden cell, where were all the essential things, the deceased could need in his afterlife. Here we come to the importance of the Djoser pyramid. Being the oldest is not the only reason of its significance. Here the archeologists could deducate the significance of all pyramids. The Djoser‘s step pyramid is actually six layers of mastabas, one on the other.

Djoser pyramid | Memphis

Djoser pyramid | Memphis

Do you recall, how in the movie The Mummy, Imhotep was cursed with the most terrible curse Hom-Dai? Well, his actual fate was much kinder to him. He was the one, who designed the pyramid of Djoser for his Pharaoh, the first one of the thirth dynasty. Imhotep was a skilled physician, discovering the blood flow and developing sophisticated surgical procedures, an architect, who sponsored massive projects across the whole country, high priest, philosopher, poet and one of the few mortals, who was promoted to a god after his death. Imhotep changed the original rectangular base of a mastaba and the base of the Djoser pyramid was built as a symmetrical square. This led to today‘s very exact dimensions of the pyramids in general. And so, more than 4.500 years ago, the most prominent building started to dominate over Saqqara. The pyramid was secured against unwanted guests, having thirteen false doors – the number is not accidental, the magic of math was as important as much later in ancient Greece. The surrounding of the Djoser pyramid consisted of shrines, courtyards and living quartiers for priests, which altogether covered the area of 40 acres (16 ha), which could comfortably facilitate the Pharaoh in his eternal afterlife. The pyramid temple was built to the north and this south – north axis was supposed to help reaching the eternal North star by the Pharaoh. Latter complexes used more east – west axis.

Djoser pyramid

Djoser pyramid

Sadly, all the precautions were for nothing as it didn‘t stop the robbers, who stole even the mummy of the Pharaoh. However, some treasures were left untouched. Napoleon Bonaparte brought a team of experts, who did a systematic research. They even found the Rosetta Stone with three translations, according to which Jean-Francois Champollion translated the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Spare some time for the Saqqara necropolis in your itinerary. The oldest of them all, the oldest in the world, the pyramid of Djoser with the whole complex can bring you further in the history, than any other place in Egypt. Travel safely with Your Egypt Tours.

Djoser pyramid | Rosetta Stone

Djoser pyramid | Rosetta Stone

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