The Saqqara Necropolis lies outside Cairo, Egypt. It’s approximately 9 miles southeast of its more famous cousin at Giza, although it forms part of the same UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Giza Pyramids and Sphinx.
At the heart of the Saqqara funerary monuments is the Pyramid of Djoser, also known as the Step Pyramid, for obvious reasons.
Built around 4700 years ago, in the 27th Century BC, the Pyramid of Djoser is considered to be the oldest completely stone structure on Earth. It originally stood 203 feet tall and was the prototype for all the Egyptian pyramids that would follow.
Djoser’s pyramid began as a single mastaba, a flat-topped, horizontal stone structure with slightly sloping sides. Another mastaba was then built atop the first. Then another… until there were six in total. And hey presto! the World had its first stone pyramid!
The Step Pyramid enclosure at Saqqara was surrounded by a 34-foot-high wall and numerous associated structures.
Saqqara as a whole was the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis. It was in use for over 3000 years, and stretched 4 miles, north to south. Eventually though, it was abandoned and buried by the desert, leaving only the Pyramid of Djoser visible.
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