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Cairo Travel Guide


Approached through orchards of waving palm trees, Saqqara is best known for being the site of the earliest stone pyramid constructed in Egypt, the Step Pyramid of Djoser. The site encompasses at least four other pyramid complexes of different dates, countless tombs from all eras of Egyptian history, as well as several animal necropolises, the most notable of which is the Serapeum. Much active archaeological

work is being done at Saqqara by both Egyptian and foreign teams. In the 1990s, a French team found the rock-cut Tomb of Maya, wet nurse to Tutankhamun, at the edge of the plateau. This find complements the earlier finds of the tombs of Maya (the treasurer), Horemheb, and Aparel, all of whom were active during the reign of Tutankhamun.

Saqqara is large, sprawling, and best covered on foot and by car. A suggested route, which depends somewhat on which tombs are open to the public when you visit, is to start at the Step Pyramid complex and the Imhotep Museum; from there, visit the Pyramid of Unas, which you can reach on foot. Then return to the car, drive to the Mastaba of Mereruka and the Pyramid of Teti, then drive to the Serapeum if it is open. If you have more time, visit the Tomb of Ti near the Serapeum. There are other mastabas open near the Step Pyramid, as well as the Mastaba of Ptahhotep near the Serapeum. See these if you have time, energy, and interest. The ticket booth is at the main entrance to the site, and a ticket covering the majority of the sites in Saqqara is £E60.

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