South of Dashur, home of the Red and Bent Pyramid, lies Saqqara, home of the Step Pyramid. This is another one of Egypt’s lesser known pyramids, which is all the more reason to give it a visit.
Here, one enters through a temple of columns, where long ago, in each alcove, stood statues of the pharaoh with his queen by his side, arm around him for protection and support. In typical tour guide fashion, Mohammad had us pose as the statues for a photo.
While silly at the time, it’s one of those photos I’m glad we took; one we’d never have taken if we were on our own, but that reminds me so clearly of that day. Then we headed through the rest of the temple, out to where the pyramid stood.
At first glance, Saqqara is a world away from the pyramids at Dashur. For one, the shape of the pyramid is completely different, and it’s a construction site. This pyramid was built with stones found in the area of Cairo, not ones shipped up from Aswan. Instead of lasting throughout the years, as Dashur’s and Giza’s have, it is crumbling to pieces. Obviously, there’s no entering this pyramid anytime soon.
Since our Indiana Jones dreams were short lived, we walked around admiring the views, and I made friends with some young Egyptian girls who kept following us around.
We wandered about, finding a camel here.
Some serpents there.
And, finally, a resting place for all of the pharaoh’s furniture.
Although, there isn’t that much to Saqqara, it is nice to see another pyramid that belongs to Egypt. Even if this meant getting continuously hassled by vendors, no matter how good our Arabic for “No, thank you,” was.
So, we left with a necklace and the lesson to politely nod at vendors, keeping our mouths shut and pretending to not know English.
But, that necklace will forever remind me of my time in Saqqara; getting hassled to buy this and that, and the men’s offers to give Jeff camels in exchange for me. There was no doubt we were in Egypt while visiting this pyramid.
Still, that’s what we came for: the experience, the culture, the history. In Saqqara, we surely got it all.