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Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead

The Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead are the burial grounds of Memphis, Egypt’s ancient capital. This place is also known and spelled as Sakkara or Saccara. Unlike the Great Pyramids of Giza, the ones you see here are smaller but older than the former.

Off-the-beaten track
While tourists mostly flock to the three great pyramids, only few come here for a visit. There was only one big tour bus I saw in my two hours of exploration here. Most of the visitors were on private tours, like me.

How much to get here?
I hired a driver to get me here because I didn’t want to be with a huge group. I paid around $30. He took me here first and then to Dashur where the Red Pyramid, the world’s first true pyramid, is located. The whole trip lasted 5 hours.

The most famous of all Saqqara Pyramids is the Step Pyramids of Zoser.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

As you can see, its base is rectangular and if you move closer, you’ll find a number of benches.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

And of course, you’ll find photogenic camels chillin’ in front of it.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

The area isn’t really that big and you can explore it in less than an hour.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

It took me almost two hours here because I walked around the Step Pyramid of Zoser.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

The surrounding area is full of pyramids that are in different state of devastation.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Most of them look like just mounds of sand.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

And most of them, too, were built with sandstone clay of poor quality.

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Saqqara Pyramids in the City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt).

Standing here, you’ll see these two pyramids: the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

In two different directions, you’ll see part of Cairo’s skyline and the lush dates plantation next to the vast desert.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

Aside from Zoser, the ruler in 3rd Dynasty, other 16 Egyptian Kings also built pyramids here.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

All visitors must pass through this funerary complex.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

The funerary complex has rows of columns that will lead you to the Step Pyramid of Zoser.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara (Cairo, Egypt).

Travel Tip: 
Explore the Great Pyramids of Giza in the morning and then visit Saqqara after lunch. They’re 20-30 minutes drive from each other.

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