The Step Pyramid

The Step Pyramid was the early inspiration for majestic pyramids such as those at the Giza complex.

By stacking and stepping the original burial building of Egyptian nobility, the first pyramids were born.

The Mastaba.

The Mastaba was a flat roofed structure with sloping walls. It was built out of mud bricks, or stone, and was rectangular in shape.

The building itself was more of a shrine than a tomb, as the body was contained at the end of a long shaft going underground. Priests and family of the deceased made their offerings in a chapel equipped with a false floor.

It was a standard tomb for the Pharaoh and his family.

Imhotep's steps.

What an all-round superstar. Founder of architecture, medicine and a demi-god to boot, it was Imhotep who was credited with the design for the first pyramid.

By shortening the shape of the Mastaba to a square and then building another smaller one on top, and then another and another - the step pyramid rose up from the swirling hot desert sands.

A stone structure of this size had never been achieved before in ancient Egypt. It was a total of six steps high.

Djoser's final resting place.

It was the Pharaoh, Djoser, that would be buried in the first pyramid. It was known as the Pyramid of Djoser.

What would the Pharaoh have thought at such a radical evolution of the traditional burial structure?

Would he have felt that this huge triangular looking construction would safely aid his journey to the afterlife?

With a shining limestone surface it must have seemed in those primitive days of construction that the narrow tip of the pyramid was piercing the sky like a gateway to the stars and heavens above.

Surrounding pyramids in Saqqara.

Saqqara is the name of the area Djoser's pyramid resides in. Although there are other pyramids around, it seems the first one built is the most impressive.

The Pyramid of Teti was not a step pyramid, but rather, a true pyramid that is now nothing more than a well rounded large mound. Inside though, it is well preserved.

Sekhemket's pyramid never made it past the first stage. Although it could have potentially been bigger than Djoser's pyramid, it was not completed. It is now known as the Buried Pyramid.

Step pyramid of Meidum.

Built for the Pharaoh Huni, the pyramid at Meidum started out as a seven tiered structure. It now has only three visible steps nestled in a massive pile of rubble.

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