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For most visitors Egypt is synonymous with majestic pyramid of Giza and Sphinx. We decided to take a less traveled route on day 2. We took a cab from outside of our hotel , it was an old fiat model , looked straight from junkyard. The driver was also aged like his car but he was a nice chap.
We first visited Saqqara , which was the ancient burial site for the ancient Egyptian capital Memphis. The main attraction here is the ancient Step pyramid of Djoser which was under renovation.
This is a huge site and it contains monuments from old, middle and new kingdoms . There are several other pyramids and mastabas. I visited few important mastabas. These are flat roofed, rectangular structure with inward sloping sides, almost like inverted pyramid constructed out of mud-bricks (from the Nile River). These edifices marked the burial sites of eminent Egyptians during Egypt’s Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom.
Then we visited Serapeum . It was a burial place of Apis bulls ( sacred bull worshiped in the Memphis region. Identified as the son of Hathor) which were incarnations of the deity Ptah.
Our next stop was Memphis, the ancient capital . According to a commonly accepted tradition, Memphis was founded about 2925 bc by Menes, who supposedly united the two prehistoric kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. Eventually it started loosing importance from middle age and completely destroyed during Arab invasion. Today virtually nothing remained of the ancient city , however there is an open air museum which exhibits various artifacts and some colossal statues of Rames II.
Our final stop was Dahshur. This site is famous for black pyramid , bent pyramid and red pyramid. Black pyramid is heavily eroded . Unlike other pyramids this is made of mud brick and clay.
Bent and red pyramid both were constructed during time of Pharaoh Sneferu. Bent pyramid was originally planned to be a smooth – sided pyramid but due to a design flaw the angle was changed halfway up.