Many people believe that the Great Pyramid in Giza is the oldest, but there are more ancient ones. Djoser’s step pyramid was built about 4700 years ago during the Third Dynasty.
According to Egyptologists, Pharaoh Djoser personally oversaw the construction, appointing Imhotep, the royal vizier as an architect. The young man who unknowingly revolutionized Egyptian architecture continues to amaze us today.
Egypt had never seen anything like it. It was built entirely from carved building blocks, becoming the first major monument in history.
For construction, Imhotep had to attract a colossal, almost unrealistic number of workers. According to archaeological data, it took about 19 years to complete the construction, which suggests that Djoser ruled throughout this time.
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According to experts, the building was not originally conceived as a pyramid, since its foundation shows that it was a mastaba (an ancient Egyptian tomb rectangular in shape with sloping sides and a flat roof), so Imhotep had to redesign its structure in the process.
It has been suggested that the step pyramid was built in six stages. Starting from the square mastaba, Imhotep gradually increased the structure evenly on all four sides. Each stage is now considered experimental in the history of architecture.
In fact, there are no square mastaba in Egypt, or at least not one has been found to date.
It should be noted that the burial complex of Saqqara was huge; it is estimated to have an area of 15 hectares. Simply put, it was 3 times larger than the city of Hierakonpolis of the Early Kingdom.
Despite all the wonderful things that we mentioned, from the size of the complex and the construction of the pyramid, this remains in the background when it became known that there is a city below the surface that is equal to or more impressive than on the surface.
If we assume that the entire complex of Saqqara was colossal, then the underworld under the Pyramid of Djoser is a whole metropolis.
It is still not known and not clear why Imhotep built a whole network of tunnels, rooms, and an extensive labyrinth, the length of which, according to studies, reaches 6 kilometers.
This underground world was connected to the surface by an entrance shaft with a diameter of 5 meters and a depth of 28 meters, located almost in the heart of the stepped pyramid.
Egyptologists claim that this underworld under the pyramid was a burial ground that actually replaced the palace. It was a place where the spirits of the royal family lived. “Djoser’s burial chamber was carved of granite and, to reach it, one had to navigate the corridors which were filled with thousands of stone vessels inscribed with the names of earlier kings. The other chambers in the subterranean complex were for ceremonial purposes.”
But there is one problem: if the step pyramid of Djoser inspired the ancient Egyptian architects to build other pyramids, why weren’t more underground complexes built under other pyramids?
Until now, it has not been possible to fully explore this mysterious complex, so it is not known what it is hiding. There are thousands of rooms that need to be walked through and explored, so artifacts and other ancient evidence may still be discovered that remain hidden from the world.