The starting of 1st dynasty’s royal burial to the resemblance of pyramid era leading to the end of the necropolis of Ancient Egypt are all recorded in the sacred area of Saqqara.
History Of Saqqara Pyramids
Pyramids Of Saqqara is the original necropolis at the beginning of Dynasty era. Wherever it moved, it was an extension. It has seen many mastabas, temples and pyramids.
In the beginning of Dynasty Era from 2950 BC, royal tombs are buried here mostly looked like mastabas. And with royal burial, lots of funerary furniture, boxes, and chests filled with vases, dishes, jewellery etc. were given or buried to comfort the eternal resting place of royal souls.
The idea of the pyramid was conceived with the construction of Sep pyramids for King Djoser of 3rd dynasty in 2630 BC. The royal architect Imhotep also a priest of King Djoser started the traditional building of mastabas and that developed into a complex structure of 6 steps like mastabas in shape of pyramid and one that encouraged future rulers to imitate the tradition of pyramid building.
And this pyramid was surrounded with courtyard, temple and shrines that King Djoser will enjoy in his afterlife. Later, during King Unas in 2375 to 2345 BC pyramid texts were inscribed and that is also in Saqqara. The last of Great Pyramid was by Pepi II in 2278 to 2184 BC. The pyramids after that are not of the same calibre and status. Pyramid building tradition continued to Middle Kingdom Phase but the grandness was not there anymore.
With tomb robbers and vandals looting many of the tombs and pyramids, Egypt Tourism restored many and what left was still enough to show the glory and richness of Ancient times.
Details of Pyramid complexes of Saqqara
Saqqara can be divided into 2 sections north and south.
In north Saqqara
1st Dynasty tombs or mastabas were built. Even large no. of mastabas belonging to 5th and 6th Dynasty is seen. Some animal cemeteries are also part of this necropolis.
Step Pyramid Complex:
In 3rd dynasty, King Djoser’s vizier Imhotep created this pyramid complex is first known pyramid. King Djoser otherwise called Netjerikhet made a complex that included various mastabas, Gisr el mundir (Great Enclosure Wall), a passage way, courtyards, structures, etc. to give comfort and grandeur in his eternal resting place.
Gisr el mundir
The oldest wall structure also called Great Enclosure between Step Pyramid and Buried Pyramid.
Teti Pyramid Complex:
Pyramid of Teti of 6th dynasty made 2nd known pyramid due to the pyramid texts has a satellite pyramid, two pyramids of queens accompanied by cult structures, and a funerary temple. The valley temple is supposed to be destroyed. But the king pyramid is supposed to be like pyramid of Djedkare.
There are lots of tombs and pyramids in the complex;
- Headless Pyramid- Pyramid of Menkauhor
- The pyramid complex of Khuit II
- The pyramid complex of Iput
- The pyramid complex of Sesheshet I, the king’s mother
- The mastaba of Tetiankhkem, royal prince, son of Teti and Khuit
- The mastaba of Kagemni, Vizier of Teti
- The mastaba of Ankhmahor
- The mastaba of Mereruka
- Serapeum- Tombs for Apis bulls
Unas Pyramid Complex:
Last of 5th dynasty and first known pyramid with pyramid texts inscribed. Many mastabas are found near main pyramid and a causeway that follows wadi. Pyramid of Unas, Userkaf and Djoser are close to each other and make an interesting site to explore.
In South Saqqara
Buried Pyramid- Pyramid of Sekhemkhet(unfinished):
Following the footstep of King Djoser, his son failed to create another history in pyramid building but the unfinished structure still made the history.
Mortuary complex of Pepi I:
Around 6th dynasty, the main pyramid of Pepi I along with 10 pyramids of his queen and family was built with pyramid texts to follow.
Pyramid of Pepi II:
The last of 6th dynasty, Pepi II built a pyramid complex comprising a main pyramid, 3 queen pyramids, a valley temple and a mortuary temple connected through an ungrounded tunnel.
Haram El-Shawaf- Pyramid of Djedkare:
The first king of 5th dynasty to built in South Saqqara. It has a main pyramid along with a satellite pyramid and queen pyramid but name unknown makes the pyramid complex.
Royal tomb of Shepseskaf:
Unlike other pharaohs, he preferred mastaba against pyramid. A valley temple was believed to be built along with mortuary temples and underground tunnel or causeway. The tomb is unlike any other. The courtyard, 3 entrances and structures are all elusive but fascinating.
Apart from these you can also see Pyramid of Merenre, Pyramid of Ibi, Pyramid of Merikare, Pyramid of Ameny Qemau, Pyramid of Khendjer etc. But what makes them captivating is its history and mystery behind constructions. People from far and near love to explore these histories and mysteries and NILE HOLIDAY have been able to fulfil these desires and dreams and making unforgettable memories…