The second-most important site in ancient Egypt, after the great pyramid, is the Step Pyramid at Sakarra. This was the very first large stone building, the first pyramid concept building. It was built about 4500 years ago. And… it’s still standing. In 2012, it is undergoing some restoration work to help stabilize it for the next 5000 years. (Hence the joke, almost 5,000 years and it’s still not finished… government project.)

The Step Pyramid is also surrounded by a very large temple complex. This is the more remarkable since there is very little evidence of anything at allbuilt earlier resembling this complex – the concept appears to have sprung fulll-blown from the imagination of Djoser’s architect, Imhotep.
(Trivia Note: Imhotep, c2650-2500BC is also said to be the first person whose name we know, who was not a ruler.)

Me with our guide (and fantastic tour organizer) Ahmed Hamed Yousif in front of the Step Pyramid. Notice that Egyptians don’t seem to feel the heat like Canadians – he’s wearing a black courdroy blazer and blue jeans and looks cool, I’m wearing thin clothes and still sweating like crazy…

The pyramid of Teti – not much left above ground. However, it is one of the few pyramids with actual heiroglyphics and decorations carved on the interior rooms.

Farming scenes; various farm animals, and produce from the fields.

Fishing below domestic scenes; note the variety of fish shown; the women making bread above left; and it looks like a one-armed woman kissing a pig (?!).

Wall reliefs from the tomb of Ka-Gmni, c 2340BC. These wall carvings are remarkable for being almost 4500 years old, yet remarkably fresh. They also display many scenes of everyday life, fishing, dancing, farming, housework; and the artwork is extremely well done. Of course, we had to wait until our guide left, then tip the fellow watching the site to take pictures. These are also remarkable because except for the stylized fertility god, this is about the only place where the decorations depict naked men.


The Red Pyramid

Inside a staircase has been built to reach the passage to the second chamber.

The second chamber – looking down from the top – is very rough, not finished at all.

Here’s our fantastic guide and tour organizer, Ahmed Hamed Yousif, once again; he’s posing with our driver, the friendly Mr. Mohammed, at the back side of the Red Pyramid.

The Bent Pyramid – oops, that may be too steep an angle. Change of plan halfway through…
It is believed that evidence another pyramid was starting to collapse made the builders change their over-ambitious plan and reduce the angle of this pyramid halfway through its construction.

The Black Pyramid, now a crumbled ruin except for the core.


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