Necropolis of Saqqara

egyptBeyond the bustling city of Cairo, Egypt still possesses the charm of the Ancient World with its magnificent pyramids and remnants of great structures. At the height of Egypt’s power and wealth, they buried their dead in a vast cemetery that sprung a life of its own.

Covering a seven-kilometer stretch of the Western Desert, on a plateau high above the River Nile, Saqqara was Ancient Egypt’s cemetery for more than 3500 years. Named after Sokar, the patron god of the dead in the ancient capital of Memphis, this necropolis is also the final resting place for some of the deceased pharaohs and their families, administrators, generals, and sacred animals. It is here where you can find 11 major pyramids where the Old Kingdom pharaohs were buried, surrounded by hundreds of smaller tombs where their loyal subjects were laid to rest. This

It was only during the mid-19th Century when the secrets of Saqqara were unearthed, revealing the many pyramids and tombs that have been buried in the sand for the past 2000 years. New discoveries are still being learned, such as the mummified remains of three royal dentists, a doctor, and even a Pharaonic butler.

Saqqara is located just 30 miles south of Cairo, where you will find the ancient step pyramid of Queen Sesheshet, mother of King Teti I who founded the Sixth Dynasty. Step pyramids are the precursors of the bigger and more meticulously constructed Giza Pyramids. Aside from the multitude of tombs, you can also find beautiful wall paintings, carvings, and the Serapeum, where Apis bulls (which was believed to be the god Ptah in animal form) were mummified and buried.

Although Saqqara has become one of the most popular attractions in Cairo, visitors are actually few and far between, with organized tour groups quickly rushing in and out in the morning. This gives you that peaceful atmosphere, which is very rare in other ancient sites. To get to Saqqara, you can hire a taxi from central Cairo. Negotiate with your driver on how much to pay and he can even introduce you with knowledgeable yet unofficial tour guides on the site. You can also take a bus from central Cairo to Saqqara, but it entails a lengthy journey and a long, exhausting walk from the village up to the plateau.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.