Saqqara

Saqqara is the name given both to a village 32 km to the south of the Egyptian capital of Cairo and (more particularly) to the extensive ancient necropolis on the plateau above the Nile Valley, the location of tombs and pyramids dating to the Predynastic, Old Kingdom, New Kingdom and Late Periods of ancient Egyptian history.

Understand

The Step Pyramid

The desert plateau above the modern village of Saqqara formed one of the main cemeteries of the ancient Egyptian capital city of Memphis for thousands of years. As such, it attracted a large number of royal and high prestige burials, the remains of which can be seen in pyramids and decorated tombs scattered across the area. The site of Saqqara is quite extensive, stretching 6 km north-south and 1.5 km across at its widest point.

Get in

By taxi / cab

Taxis can be hired from central Cairo to visit Saqqara. Negotiate with your driver for a daily rate.

By bus

Travelers may be told there is no bus to Saqqara. This is not entirely true.

Bus services do exist to Saqqara from central Cairo, but entail a lengthy journey and a long walk from the village up to the plateau.

Alternatively, it is possible to reach the plateau by taking a microbus from the Giza metro station. It should be expected to transfer to multiple microbuses as there is no direct microbus. Tell the driver you want to go to "Marishay" and then Saqqara" and he should indicate where to transfer. Prices vary based on where the transfer points are from 25 piasters to 3 pounds. Once in Saqqara village, take a tuk-tuk for a few pounds to the site.

See

Saqqara

Dahshur

The Bent Pyramid at Dahshur.

Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Dahshur formed part of the extensive necropolis of ancient Memphis during the Old Kingdom - the so-called "Pyramid Age". The pharaoh Sneferu (sometimes spelt Snofru), founder of the 4th Dynasty and the father to Khufu - builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza) - managed to erect two complete pyramids at the location, in addition to completing another pyramid (for his predeccesor Huni) at Meidum. In sheer volume alone, the father definitely out-did his son!

Somewhat later, pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom's 12th Dynasty erected their own pyramids at the locality - though on a greatly reduced scale.

Dahshur is very much off the traditional tourist trail around Cairo, having been a restricted military zone until 1996. The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities has in recent years, however, been encouraging travellers to visit Dashur, in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure on the Giza pyramids.

The Dahshur Necropolis is open daily 8am-5pm, admission LE£20. The pyramid field extends over 3.5 km north to south.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, January 11, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.