Pyramid of Djoser

Pyramid of Djoser

Location: Northwest of Mephis Map

Constructed: 2667–2648 BC during 5th dynasty by vizier (adviser) of Djoser- Imhotep

Height: 62 metres (203 ft)


Description of Pyramid of Djoser

Step of Pyramid of Djoser is situated Northwest of Memphis in the center of Saqqara necropolis. Architect of Pyramid of Djoser Imhotep designed the pyramid in the 27th century. He was later added to a pantheon of Egyptian gods. As as a source of his design Imhotep used a common mastaba, a giant slab that was put on top of the burial of important people of the country. He simply added more mastabas, one on top of the other to create this step like appearance. Despite its size it did not protect the riches of pharaoh Djoser who ordered its construction. Besides the pyramid the site contains many temples, tombs and other buildings that were later erected here. On the north side of a pyramid archaeologists discovered a cellar serdhab with a statue of pharaoh Djoser himself. You still can see it's copy through a narrow hole seated on his throne in royal robes. The original is kept in the Egyptian Museum. To the East of the pyramid you can find 11 wells that lead to a tunnel where the wives and children of the Pharaoh are buried.


According to the late Egyptian tradition, the highest dignitary (chati) of Joser Imhotep is considered the architect of the Djoser pyramid. Imhotep originally planned to create an ordinary stone mastaba (rectangular tomb). Only during the construction process did it turn into the first step pyramid. The meaning of the steps was perhaps symbolic - according to them, the late pharaoh was to ascend to heaven. But from the very beginning it was different from previous mastabs, since stone was used here as building material, not raw brick. The construction took place in six stages, according to the number of steps. It is possible that the core of the tomb of limestone blocks was built for the brother of Joser Sanakht. As a result of the superstructures, the base of the pyramid reached a size of 125 meters × 115 meters and a height of 62 meters.

The design of the pyramid has a feature not found later in the pyramids of the pharaohs - a giant vertical and wide shaft with a kind of huge sarcophagus composed of granite "sleepers". The mine is blocked from above by a dome. The sarcophagus has a round hole at the top with a cork, which makes it related to the Neolithic dolmens, and rests on the wreckage of some marble structure, which was decorated with carvings in the form of stars. The origin of these fragments is an object of scrutiny by archaeologists, since it is believed that the sarcophagus in its present very good condition could be collected precisely from the fragments, but not at all at the later destroyed building.

Djoser's pyramid was intended for the entire family of the deceased, as were the early mastabs. In later pyramids, only one pharaoh was buried. In the Djoser pyramid, 11 funeral chambers in the tunnels of the pyramid were prepared for family members. All his wives and children are buried there, including the mummy of a child of about eight years old. The body of Joser himself was not found (probably only a mummified heel was preserved from him). The pyramid was robbed in antiquity, and there are several different manholes pierced by robbers.

Temple complex
The temple complex of the Djoser pyramid is the largest among other ancient Egyptian pyramids. The first buildings were erected for the funeral ritual to extend the life of Ka-Pharaoh after his death. The buildings of the complex are expertly executed from the outside and not so carefully from the inside, since some were not built out of practical necessity.