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The Step Pyramid in Saqqara

To this day, it remains a mystery why the decision was made to build the first Egyptian pyramid. It was certainly important that the tomb was visible from afar and made an impression on the subjects. Religious considerations were also important. According to the Pyramid Texts, the most important collection of sepulchral charms, the pharaoh ascended high steps into heaven, and what is more like a monumental staircase than a pyramid?

The tomb of Pharaoh Djoser (III Dynasty, 2668-2649 BC) was the first attempt to use a new building material. Until then, mud bricks, palm leaves and small amounts of wood were used, while stone was used in the construction of the Djoser pyramid. You can find here many elements that are not typical for stone construction, but are an attempt to reproduce the forms used in earlier types of buildings.

The stepped pyramid of Djoser is about 58m high, and its base is 123m by 107m. Initially, the structure was in the form of a mastaba (a cuboid-shaped tomb), only later were further steps added until a six-step pyramid was obtained.

The underground element is a tangle of tunnels, shafts and chambers. In one of the rooms, about 40,000 inscribed stone vessels were found, including cartouches with the names of the former rulers of Egypt. To this day, it is not known why Djoser decided to place them inside his pyramid.

On the eastern, outer side of the Step Pyramid there is a serdab. It is a small covered room with no doors or windows, in which the statue of Djoser once stood. At the level of the ruler's eyes, two holes were cut through, which the deceased pharaoh looked at the nearby mortuary temple in a symbolic way and participated in the rituals held there. Currently, inside the serdab there is a copy of the Djoser statue, the original is in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.