Step pyramid of Djoser
The pyramid tomb of king Djoser (ca. 2667-2648 BC) of the 3rd Dynasty at Saqqara, the first ever to be built, is justly named the Step Pyramid. Located within a large enclosed mortuary complex and originally conceived as a huge mastaba, the tomb was gradually enlarged until it encompassed the six-stepped structure still visible today, rising up to a height of 60 m. Purportedly conceived by the architect Imhotep, the entire complex measures 277 x 544 m and is surrounded by a high wall featuring one real and fourteen false doors. Apart from the pyramid itself, the complex comprises among others several open courtyards, some used in connection with the Sed Festival, a secondary mastaba tomb called the 'Southern tomb', two buildings which have been interpreted as representations of the shrines of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, a serdab with a statue of the king, and several other buildings. Built entirely in stone, the pyramid complex sought to imitate earlier structures made of perishable materials. Both the Step Pyramid and the Southern tomb contain subterranean apartments, used for the burial of the king and eleven members of his family, which are partly decorated with blue faience tiles and with depictions of the king performing rituals during his royal jubilee.
The factfiles below are based on M. Lehner's 'The Complete Pyramids', London, 1997 and P.A. Clayton's 'Chronicle of the Pharaohs', London, 1994.
||Horus name||:||Netjeri-Khet ('Divine of the Body')
||121 x 109 m