Cairo | Memphis & Sakkara


cairo, egypt, sakkara, pyramids, step pyramid of zoserStep Pyramid of King Zoser.The Great Pyramids of Giza get all the tourism hype, but there’s a lot more to see in Egypt. As part of my day tour of Cairo, we also visited Memphis, the capital city of ancient Egypt during the Old Kingdom some 5,000 years ago, and Sakkara, one of the most extensive archaeological sites in Egypt best known for the Step Pyramid of King Zoser.cairo, egypt, memphis, Pharaoh Rameses IIStatue of Ramses II.The site of the ruins of Memphis is now an open-air museum. Among the principal artifacts excavated and now on display is a giant statue of the Pharaoh Ramses II. Actually only part of the statute — about 10 meters — is on display; the lower legs, feet and base are broken off and housed at the British Museum.cairo, egypt, memphis, alabaster sphinxAlso found at Memphis: Egypt’s other sphinx, also known as the Alabaster Sphinx or the Sphinx of Memphis. While not as large as the Great Sphinx at the Giza Necropolis (which is missing its nose and beard), it was neat to be able to see a this mysterious statue up close.cairo, egypt, sakkara, pyramids, step pyramid of zoserSakkara.From Memphis our tour group took the short trip over to Sakkara (also spelled Saqqara), a vast archaeological site that served as the necropolis to the ancient capital. Our group opted not to go into the Great Pyramid on our earlier tour, but at Sakkara we are able to enter one of the pyramids, the Pyramid of King Teti.cairo, egypt, sakkara, pyramids, step pyramid of zoserColumns.Entering a pyramid — and the tomb(s) therein — is not recommended for the claustrophobic or very tall. It is more than a little bit creepy. Within the Great Pyramid, there isn’t anything to see — no writing on the wall, no original paints and dyes on any images, nothing. In the Pyramid of King Teti, however, each room was covered in extremely well-preserved hieroglyphics and images, some of which still bear the original colors from thousands of year ago. Pretty cool.cairo, egypt, sakkara, pyramids, step pyramid of zoserMe and the Step Pyramid.Photography inside the pyramid was prohibited so unfortunately I was not able to take any photos of the wall carvings. In some chambers, the hieroglyphics covered the walls from floor to ceiling. The original (now empty) sarcophagus is still housed within. I found it both fascinating a kind of scary.Are you claustrophobic? I’m not but I couldn’t help thinking, What if these rocks collapse or we’re sealed inside by a giant boulder?See more photos from Cairo.

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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