Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I bet not many of you knew that there are other pyramids in Egypt besides the 3 very famous ones. The pyramid pictured above is the "Step Pyramid" of Saqqara (Sakara).
According to tradition, it was built for Horus Netjerikhet, better known as Djoser, a major ruler of Egypt's 3rd Dynasty, by Imhotep, Egypt's most famous architect who was subsequently deified during the New Kingdom. Djoser is actually the name given to this king by visitors to the site one thousand years after its construction, but actually the only name found on its walls is that of Netjerykhet.

Built during the 27th century BC, it is the first Egyptian pyramid. It consists of six "mastabas" or layers, built in decreasing size. The pyramid is the main feature of a huge mortuary complex in an enormous courtyard surrounded by ceremonial structures and decoration. The pyramid was not simply a grave in ancient Egypt. Its purpose was to facilitate a successful afterlife for the king so that he could be eternally reborn. It really is quite a fascinating site for visitors. Off to one side is the burial chamber, where the ruler's household items and everything he needed for the afterlife would have been buried with him. The walls of this chamber have beautiful paintings on them, probably depicting his life.

If you ever get a chance to visit Egypt, the Step Pyramid should be on your list of things to see. There are other pyramids too, such as the "bent pyramid" and the "red pyramid" which I will post about sometime in the future.

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