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Saqqara is one of the oldest ancient Egyptian cemeteries and it was the necropolis of Memphis. Today it is one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt because monuments of most of the principal dynasties are represented there. Many pharaohs with their court dignitaries were buried in Saqqara.

The Stepped Pyramid of King Zoser

                  The Pyramid of Unas
The pyramid of Unas, the last pharaoh of the 5th dynasty is situated to the south of the Stepped Pyramid of King Zoser. The pyramid of Unas is famous for its burial chamber, where its walls are covered with what is known as the "Pyramid Text", the first collection of religious texts drawn up during the Old Kingdom and destined to protect and guide the dead pharaoh during his journey in the "other world". The tomb chamber still contains the granite sarcophagus of the king. South to the Pyramid of Unas, the so called Persian tombs of the 26th dynasty are located, where a shaft of 25 metres in depth is leading to three beautifully decorated burial chambers.

The Mastaba of Meruka

This name arose because the Apis Bull once dead and deified, was named Osir-Apis, which the Greeks converted into Serapis, from which the name Serapeum derived. The structure in which the sacred bulls were buried is a subterranean gallery. The overall length of all corridors combined totals several hundred metres. There are 24 sarcophagi of up to 70 tons of black granite can be seen at the Serapeum.

The Mastaba of Meruka

                The Mastaba of Meruka

Close to King Teti's pyramid, is the most complex mastaba of the 6th dynasty situated, containing 33 chambers with many magnificent wall inscriptions. Particularly original in its conception is the scene showing hunting and fishing, in which plants and animals are freely distributed all over the available space in a fantastic manner.

                    The Mastaba of Ti
The reliefs in this mastaba are considered to be among the most beautiful exampled from the period of the Old Kingdom, with scenes showing men and women at various jobs like ship-building, ploughing and reaping grain.

The Stepped Pyramid of King Zoser

                   The Stepped Pyramid
Originally, a mastaba tomb was planned for King Zoser (3rd dynasty) in 2816 BC, by his physician and architect Imhotep. Finally, after several extensions, it became a 60 metres high stepped pyramid composed of six steps in the middle of the necropolis of Saqqara. At the base, the Step Pyramid is rectangular and measures 123.5 x 107 metres and is surrounded by a mortuary compound of Zoser, which is the oldest stone structure of this dimension in the world.

The Pyramid of Unas

                          The Serapeum

The Apis Bull lived in a stable in front of the temple of Ptah, the creator of the world. There, the animal received offerings from its worshippers and pronounced its oracles. After its death it was mummified and buried in a tomb in the desert. Up until the 19th dynasty each bull had its own separate burial place. Later on, Ramses II created a common burial place for them, which was enlarged by the Ptolemaic period, known today as Serapeum.

The Serapeum

                          The Mastabas
Saqqara is well known for the mastaba-type tombs of the ancient Egyptian nobles. The tomb walls bear inscriptions showing scenes of daily life in ancient Egypt, such as: farming, animal breeding, hunting, as well as religious rites and offerings to the owners of the mastabas and to the gods.

                The Mastaba of Ptah Hotep
The walls of the offering chambers are covered by colourful reliefs, depicting everyday life scenes. The most important scene shows Ptah Hotep, being entertained by a band of musicians.

Relief in one of the Mastabas



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