Travel Tuesday: Saqqarat

Saqqara_pyramid_ver_2

Here’s part of where I am going to this time next year.

Saqqara (Arabic: سقارة‎, Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [sɑʔˈʔɑːɾɑ]), also spelled Sakkara or Saccara in English /səˈkɑːrə/, is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world-famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base, as well as a number of mastabas (Arabic word meaning ‘bench’). Located some 30 km (19 mi) south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 km (4.35 by 0.93 mi).

At Saqqara, the oldest complete stone building complex known in history was built: Djoser’s step pyramid, built during the Third Dynasty. Another 16 Egyptian kings built pyramids at Saqqara, which are now in various states of preservation or dilapidation. High officials added private funeral monuments to this necropolis during the entire pharaonic period. It remained an important complex for non-royal burials and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well into Ptolemaic and Roman times.

North of the area known as Saqqara lies Abusir; south lies Dahshur. The inhabitants of Memphis have used the area running from Giza to Dahshur as a necropolis at different times, and UNESCO has designated it as a World Heritage Site in 1979. Some scholars believe that the name Saqqara is not derived from the ancient Egyptian funerary god Sokar, but from a supposed local Berber Tribe called Beni Saqqar.

F.M. Laster

“I never loved another person the way I loved myself”. – Mae West

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