Saqqara is the name given both to a village 32 km to the south of the Egyptian capital of Cairo and (more particularly) to the extensive ancient necropolis on the plateau above the Nile Valley, the location of tombs and pyramids dating to the Predynastic, Old Kingdom, New Kingdom and Late Periods of ancient Egyptian history.
The desert plateau above the modern village of Saqqara formed one of the main cemeteries of the ancient Egyptian capital city of Memphis for thousands of years. As such, it attracted a large number of royal and high prestige burials, the remains of which can be seen in pyramids and decorated tombs scattered across the area. The site of Saqqara is quite extensive, stretching 6 km north-south and 1.5 km across at its widest point.
By taxi / cab
Taxis can be hired from central Cairo to visit Saqqara. Negotiate with your driver for a daily rate.
Travelers may be told there is no bus to Saqqara. This is not entirely true.
Bus services do exist to Saqqara from central Cairo, but entail a lengthy journey and a long walk from the village up to the plateau.
Alternatively, it is possible to reach the plateau by taking a microbus from the Giza metro station. It should be expected to transfer to multiple microbuses as there is no direct microbus. Tell the driver you want to go to "Marishay" and then Saqqara" and he should indicate where to transfer. Prices vary based on where the transfer points are from 25 piasters to 3 pounds. Once in Saqqara village, take a tuk-tuk for a few pounds to the site.
- Saqqara Necropolis. open daily 8am-5pm. admission LE80/ student LE40. edit
- Step Pyramid of Djoser. This structure marks the transition between the bench-like mastaba style of burial and the true pyramid shape (first seen at Dahshur). edit
- Pyramid of Teti I and Teti Period Cemetery. The pyramid tomb of the first ruler of the 6th Dynasty, the Pyramid of Teti was quickly surrounded by the tombs of his nobles and officials upon its completion. edit
- Tomb of Mereruka. edit
- Tomb of Kagemni. edit
- Tomb of Ankhmahor. edit
- Serapeum. edit
- Mastaba of Ti. A 'classic' Old Kingdom tomb of a high noble and one of the richest sources of information about life during that period, the mastaba tomb of Ti is one of the grandest and best-decorated examples of funerary architecture in Egypt. edit
- Unas Causeway. Leading to the Pyramid of Unas edit
- Imhotep Museum, ☎ +2 (02) 3818-3095. open daily 8am-4pm.. edit
Climb the Step Pyramid of Djoser. If the fence is open, feel free to enter and make your way up the wooden ramps to climb the pyramid. You will get a stunning view of the site, of the Nile River, and the stark contrast between the desert landscape and the lush, green arable land closer to the Nile.
Explore the necropolis. This section may have many closed doors. If they are not locked, feel free to open them and explore further.
Once you have paid for your admission, do not talk to anybody without an official badge on the site. Some scam artists will insist that certain sections of the site )such as the necropolis) require an additional admission fee. Just ignore them and keep on walking and exploring.