Egypt’s oldest pyramid reopens after 14-year restoration work

A general view shows the step pyramid of Djoser in Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, south of the capital Cairo, Image Source: Hatem Maher/ABC News

Post a 14-year restoration effort, Egypt’s oldest pyramid reopened to visitors on 5th March 2020. This pyramid, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in the Saqqara necropolis in the ancient city of Memphis, which is around 30 kilometres from the capital Cairo.

The pyramid, which is 60-meters high, is known to be built in the 27th century B.C for pharaoh, Djoser – one of ancient Egypt’s Third Dynasty kings – and is around 4,700 years old. It is widely considered the oldest stone structure of its size in the world.

Unfortunately, this mammoth structure was damaged due to an earthquake of 5.8 magnitude that hit Egypt in 1992 and was facing a risk of collapse. The government, subsequently, started the renovation project in 2006, which cost a total of $6.6 million. The project also faced some roadblocks along its way: in 2011, the project was halted after Egypt’s dictator, Hosni Mubarak and his government were toppled by a popular uprising.

This awe inspiring structure was designed by Imhotep, widely considered by scholars as one of the first architects ever. It consists of a 28-metre deep and seven-metre wide burial chamber for the pharaoh. The structure is made of six rectangular structures, called mastabas, stacked on top of each other.

The pyramid underwent massive internal and external restoration works: the burial chamber, the narrow internal passages of the pyramid, and the ceiling of the central shaft were all renovated. Further, the gaps within the rectangular structures were also filled with blocks that were similar to the original structures.

In the recent past, Egypt has made massive efforts to preserve its ancient archaeological findings to boost its flagging tourism sector.

We are certain that this breathtaking structure will bring in many more tourists to Eqypt.

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