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Funerary Complex Of Djoser 2

Funerary complex of Djoser 2 considered to be the oldest and most complete funeral complex still present on the face of the earth.

Funerary Complex Of Djoser 2

Courtyard of heb sed

Courtyard of Heb sed covers a very large area, where the common people gather for celebrating, there is stone base resembling the letter B, but each half is separate.

Heb Sed Feast temple

Heb Sed feast was known from the pre-dynastic era, it considered to be one of the most famous, and important fests to the ancient Egyptian,  as they had more than 169 feasts.

 The word (Heb) meaning feast, while (Sed) meaning tail, the tail represents the bull, as the king during this feast must fight a bull, and during this wrestling he ties the bull from his head with a rope, and wrap the rope around his legs to cause it to his fall, these ritual proves the rejuvenation of the king, and the renewal of his authority, where he performs after 30 years of assuming power,  and then every three year afterwards to revitalize his rule by re-enacting his coronation, on this feast priests from different countries come with statues of deities to attend this celebration.

This temple was built to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the king’s assumption of power, in order to prove to his people that he still has the strength, to enable him to continue to rule, the Temple of Heb sed used to contain several chapels with facades at a high architectural, and technical level, the first thing that met us in this temple was a high pavement with steps on both sides that the king used to rise to sit on two thrones representing lower Egypt  and the Upper Egypt, the most important parts of this temple were chapels located on both sides of the east and west, it represented the provinces of Upper Egypt, it was a symbolic building indicated the control of the king over the two land of Egypt (Upper & Lower).

Funerary Complex Of Djoser 2

The North House & The South House it was made up of two small buildings.

Funerary temple of king Djoser

Funerary temple of king Djoser was dedicated to hold religious rites related to the afterlife, as sacrifices were offered in it, to the deceased on certain occasions, it was built on the north side of the pyramid, and this is unlike what the kings followed later, as they built funerary temples east of the pyramid, the general people were not allowed to come to this area, but only priests, some senior statesmen, and sons of the king, it was noticed that most of its basic architectural elements were built in duplication, and this could be explained by the fact that religious and funeral rituals were held for the king once as King of the North and once as King of the SouthUnfortunately that The temple is largely destroyed, and all that can be seen is the remains of some stone pillars.

 Serdab (cellar)

Funerary Complex Of Djoser 2

Serdab (cellar) was called the statue house, It built from limestone brought from Tora, It is located to the east of the funerary temple, there is life sized statue of King Djoser in it, this statue considered to be the oldest known life-sized Egyptian statue, the original statue was transferred to the Egyptian Museum and there is a stucco copy instead of it inside the cellar.

Statue of king Djoser

Statue of King Djoser represented here sitting on the throne of Egypt, wearing a long robe that shows only his handsfeet, and the upper part of his shoulder, on his head there is long wig, there are two circular holes in the cellar directly in front of the statue's face.

  1. To allow the smoke of incense to enter the cellar.
  2. As well as to allow the statue to see the outside world, and to see the northern stars that do not absent, which was believed that the spirits of kings lives between it.

The step Pyramid of King Djoser 

The step pyramid of King Djoser is considered one of the most famous monuments in Egypt, as it is the oldest pyramid in the world, and its location is in the middle of the funerary complex of Djoser, and this pyramid constitutes an important historical turning point in Egypt, before building this pyramid, kings were buried in mastaba (The term "mastaba" refers to a type of funerary structure that was generally rectangular and built over a burial pit, which was underground.)

It took about (22 years) to build this pyramid, the pyramid of Djoser is not a complete pyramid in the sense of the word, but rather is a group of terraces above one another, it consists of six unequal mastabas, with a height of 63 meters, most of the exterior cladding of the pyramid has disappeared, the step pyramid of Djoser is the only pyramid, that has three entrances, 

  • The first entrance from the north side, it is the main entrance, it is located in front of the funerary temple, and there is a sloping corridor, it's about 28 meter long leads to the main burial chamber, 

  • The second entrance in the south side it was opened during 26 dynasty, from the southern entrance there are eleven wells aimed at misleading thieves and preventing them from reaching the main burial cemetery,

  • While the third entrance was  in the eastern entrance, it was used for ventilation.

Inside the step pyramid 

  • The burial chamber  can only be accessed through a round hole in the ceiling of it, and these hole was blocked by a large granite plug weighing more than three tons.

Djoser pyramid sarcophagus

Funerary Complex Of Djoser 2

In the main burial chamber there is the largest coffin in the Egyptian history, as it was made from 32 pieces of pink granite, and its weigh about 75 tons, it was written on these coffin by the quarry workers the arrangement of these pieces.

Around the burial chamber there were four vestibules, connected with each other by a corridor, found in it many vessels were buried with the king, these vessels were stacked on top of each other, numbering about 36.000 vessels were made from  alabastergranitediorite, and other types of stone, in it there was everything the king will needs it in the other world, including grainsfruits, and so on.

There were two coffins made of polyester for the king's daughters found inside the pyramid of king Djoser, Unfortunately all of the precautions and intricate design of the underground complex did not prevent ancient robbers from finding a way to Djoser's grave goods, and his mummy, in 1921 the archaeological team found the remains of a mummy inside one of the side corridors of the step pyramid, which is a skull covered with gold and feet also covered with gold, but unfortunately it did not belong to King Djoser, and so far this great king who owns this unique place has not been found yet.

Jean Philippe Lauer

Finally, we cannot leave the funeral complex of King Djoser without talking about the French archaeological Jean Philippe Lauer, who spent his entire life in this region, the greatest credit for our knowledge of the heritage, and civilization of Saqqara is due to him, as he devoted more than 70 years of his life to the discovery, and restoration in this site, he loved Egypt so much as he refused to leave it, except two times.

  1. Once was during the Second World War.
  2. The other during the El khalig War when a decision was made by the Egyptian Governorate to evacuate all foreign nationals from Egypt, at that time he applied request to stay in Egypt, but the Egyptian government refused it, after his return after War, the Egyptian government granted him the Egyptian nationality, as an expression of regret to him, and appreciation for his efforts in Egypt, as he is credited with placing Saqqara in the lists of places targeted for tourism after burying its history for centuries, he was dead at the age of 99 years.

Funerary Complex Of Djoser 2

Funerary Complex Of Djoser 2


Mostly the tour guides visits Djoser complex after the pyramids of Giza, but it is better to start the tour with the complex of Djoser, in order to preserve the Chronology of events and in order to make the tourists seeing  the huge buildings gradually, because after seeing Giza pyramids, Djoser pyramid will look like a small pyramid and not in the same importance.


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Asmaa Ahmed

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