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Memphis, Egypt, Travel Guide – SiViaggia

Memphis, Egypt, Travel Guide – SiViaggia

negative It is the ancient capital of Egypt, a city that still today gives us a tremendous insight into the history of this land that contains thousands of mysteries, so much so that it allows us to understand its roots more deeply. Visiting it is like walking into an exceptional open-air museum, filled with funerary monuments, rock tombs and temple ruins that truly leave you breathless. Let's discover together what to visit in this city that certainly has a very long history.

Memphis, useful information

Memphis served as the capital of Enab-Hech, the first name of Lower Egypt, and the capital of the Old Kingdom from its constitution, around 2700 BC, until its dissolution in 2200 BC, becoming instead the capital of the name (region) of Lower Egypt.

Only from this little information about his history do we understand that he was A place of extraordinary importancewhich is actually not that difficult to reach because it is located about 19 kilometers from the current capital of Egypt, Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile River.

It is also called the “Balance of the Two Lands” due to its great importance with regard to the commercial movement in the Nile Delta and its location halfway between Upper and Lower Egypt. According to scholars, it was the most populous country in the world until 2250 BC.

What to see in Memphis

We have to be honest: Although full of places of interest, Memphis is not the best preserved site in the country. This does not mean that they do not live here Some of the most expensive antiquities in EgyptFor this reason, it is definitely worth a visit. An example of this is Sphinx of MemphisThe undisputed symbol of the ancient capital and most likely dating from 1700 to 1400 BC.

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Like many works found in Egypt, even in this case there is no confirmed information about the meaning of this grandiose work for man: it does not contain inscriptions to understand the pharaoh to whom it was dedicated. According to some scholars, his facial features indicate Pharaoh Amenhotep II or Hatshepsut, but unfortunately there is no certainty.

However, what is devoid of mysteries is the fact that this construction represents The largest alabaster sculpture from ancient Egypt: It is more than 8 meters long and 4 meters high. These measurements make it smaller than the Great Sphinx that dominates the Giza Necropolis, but that does not mean it is not one of the largest alabaster sculptures that have survived to this day.

It is also unusual Statue of Ramesses II, a huge statue made of limestone: it reaches a height of about 10 meters, and although it partly no longer contains the leg and the original base on which it stood, it is still in an excellent state of preservation. It is currently still located inside the Mit Rahina Open Air Museum (the same museum in which the alabaster Sphinx also rests), but soon it will be moved to The New Egyptian Museum in Giza.

I Dead hostage It represents the most modern part of Egypt's ancient capital settlement, but it is also one of the largest open-air museums in the entire country. In addition to the Sphinx and the giant statue of Ramesses II, here the visitor can immerse himself in an environment made up of giant rock statues representing Pharaoh Ramesses II, panels with hieroglyphic inscriptions, decorated columns and much more. Of particular interest are the large stone beds used for mummification of the sacred bulls Apis.

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Finally the ruins of a temple Koch Ka PtahDedicated to the cult of Ptah. It was in the past one of the most important temples of Memphis and the entire kingdom, and was also decorated with the presence of other sanctuaries dedicated to Ptah's wife, Sekhmet, and his son, Nefertum.

Pyramid of Djoser and Saqqara Necropolis

A trip to Memphis is often combined with a visit to two other interesting places: Pyramid of Djoser and Saqqara Necropolis.

Saqqara represents the largest archaeological site in the entire country and one of the most important historically: all the major pharaonic dynasties are represented here. If Memphis was in fact the capital of the Old Kingdom, then Saqqara was the royal necropolis at least until the Third Dynasty – and thus the designated place for the rest of the royal remains – and continued to be so for about 3,000 years after the coming of Giza and Thebes.

Guaranteed, Saqqara is the ancient necropolis of Memphis It covers an area of ​​7 kilometers in the Western Desert above the cultivated area in the Nile Valley. The pharaohs of the Old Kingdom were placed inside the 11 great pyramids, while their subjects were buried in the hundreds of smaller tombs that are always found in this area. Particularly interesting is SerapeumOr the underground burial chamber dedicated to the Apis bull.

Among the most impressive pyramids there is undoubtedly the Pyramid of Djoser, which is truly unique because it is made of steps and because it is the oldest in Egypt: it was erected by Imhotep, the first known architect in history, for burial. Djoser, ruler of the Third Dynasty.

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Built in 2630 BC, it is 140 meters long, 118 meters wide and 60 meters high, and features small limestone blocks and six diminishing terraces built one on top of the other. However, it is good to know that unlike the Pyramids of Giza, visiting the interior of the Pyramid of Djoser is not permitted.

During a trip to Egypt the city of Memphis is often overlooked, but the truth is that it offers a truly interesting and important historical glimpse for anyone who wants to understand more deeply the ancient (and fascinating) origins of this country.