Step Pyramid of Djoser

Just 25 km (15 miles) south of Cairo is an area called Saqqara, which contains a pyramid field packed with some of the earliest pyramids in Egyptian history. One of the most significant is the Step Pyramid of Djoser, which is widely believed to be the oldest cut-stone structure in the world, making it an important landmark for Egyptologists, archeologists, and architects alike. The Step Pyramid of Djoser was constructed in the Third Dynasty by Imhotep, the vizier of Pharaoh Djoser, and it was completed in approximately the 27th century BC.

The Pyramid of Djoser definitely looks different when compared to the typical image of an Egyptian pyramid. That’s because instead of smooth sides, Djoser is a step pyramid. Each level, or terrace, was built on top of the next. Technically, the design is one of six mastabas stacked on top of each other, each mastaba smaller than the last.

Ancient step pyramid of Djoser

The entire Djoser complex was surrounded by a limestone wall, and there were 14 doors built into the walls. However, there was just one entrance, and the remaining doors may have been aesthetic or just a trick to passersby to prevent unwanted entry. Other important features of Djoser include a great trench surrounding the complex and the ornate stone pillars in the roofed colonnade corridor, which were carved to resemble bundles of reeds.

The South Court of the Djoser complex is a large area that was designed to separate the pyramid itself from the South Tomb. To this day, the South Court features curved stones associated with the Heb-sed festival, and they were placed there to help the pharaoh continue his reign over Egypt even after death. Although there are many theories about what would have been stored in the South Tomb, there is no confirmation about what was placed in its three chambers, which are skillfully decorated and arguably the most beautiful part of the entire complex.