Step Pyramid

Before my trip, I watched a ton of National Geographic videos on Egypt. The Step Pyramid of King Djoser was one of the most fascinating places; they still discover tombs today. The outlying tombs are freakishly amazing. I cannot wait to see this place and the surrounding dead guys.

Heading into the Step Pyramid complex – 4/2021

Seriously, what makes this one so amazing? It was the first pyramid ever built, plus it is over 4,600 years old and still stands. The other claim to fame is the designer, Imhotep. Even I have heard of this dude; he was so famous. He and Djoser were besties. Imhotep started the traditional mastaba tomb (flat mound) and decided it was not good enough for his bestie, so he added five more on top. This masterpiece stands 204 feet tall and is also the very first tomb built of stone.

Not only is the pyramid super amazing, but the surrounding complex is also just as cool. There is a giant courtyard, temples, shrines, and other buildings I had no idea what they were. Oh, and camels, freaking real desert camels.

Step Pyramid – 4/2021

The complex built by Imhotep was so impressive to Djoser that he carved Imhotep’s name on the kings monument. That is quite the honor back in the day. Unfortunately, tomb raiders did manage to get into this one and stole most of Djoser’s riches and body. However, they did drop his left foot. Make sure you ask Hassan what was dropped from King Tutt’s body when it was moved. I heard Djoser’s toes are on display at the museum next door.

You have to enter the complex through the temple. A lot of it is reconstructed, but much of the thing is still stands. It is imposing when you approach it because of the size. Keep in mind this was my first temple, so everything was amazing. Once you pass the doorway, you head down a long hallway of 40 columns. The first columns were built in Egypt. Imhotep was not sure they could stand freely, so he connected them to walls.

Stolen off the internet, my photo sucked

Ok, I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I lost complete control of myself when Hassan and I hit that hallway. I froze for a moment then did an accidental little dance with a squeal at the end. I mean, can you blame me? I was walking down my first row of ancient Egyptian columns towards the first pyramid. Something about Egypt brings out raw emotion and uncontrollable dancing.

I felt like a kid going to Disneyland for the first time, and I wanted to see everything. The place had only a handful of others, so it was easy to roam around, and the weather was nice, the mid-70s. The first order of business was to wander around that pyramid and see all sides. Both entrances were closed to my horror. We ended up peeking into a few nearby buildings of sorts and looking into holes.

The back of the pyramid had some ruins and a strange limestone box. It was weird, like a guard shack or snack bar. I was like, cool; I could use a popsicle about now. What it was is the King’s own personal peepshow. The King had the magical powers of being able to inhabit limestone statues of himself. After his death, he would sit inside the statue and watch what everyone was doing outside his tomb. There were even two holes cut into the stone so he could see you.
He was the very first big brother, and he had trouble letting go of things.

See the leaning box, that is the peep show
Holes to spy on you 4/2021
We see you too King Djoser. 4/2021

After we walked around the pyramid, we stopped at the big entrance (the one in the back was a sketchy hole), and Hassan proceeded to visit with the guard. A few other people were around, and I had no clue what was happening. The others left the area, and I was quietly told to hurry up and follow the guard. It was all so secret squirrel and oh so fun. The guy looked around, saw we were not being watched, and unlocked the door. We were hustled in, and he shut the door. My first instinct was I hope he did not lock it and go to lunch.

I cannot confirm or deny that a bribe was given. I was escorted into the pyramid, and I was over the moon excited. What made me even more excited as this was a straight path to the tomb, no more climbs in short passages.

Hassan and I walked down a long hallway lined with columns. At the end of the hallway was a massive pit in which Djoser once laid. It had large limestone blocks at the bottom. I found out later the other entrance was a maze of tunnels that ended up at the bottom of the pit. That door was non-bribable, plus no one was there at the time. So I made Hassan promise me next time we would wander those hallways, he told me I was going by myself. It was a very impressive hole.

The sketchy entrance in back 4/2021
Path back to the pit 4/2021
Looking down on the limestone blocks Djoser was once laid to rest. 4/2021

After our naughty secret visit to the pyramid’s interior, we headed over to the little city area. I have no clue what he told me because I was so excited to see a camel on the hill. There were some rooms we could go into, probably tombs. Once again, I lost my mind; there were hieroglyphics there; I had to look at each one; some actually still had paint. Again, nothing super fancy but, to me, it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Hassan laughed at me silently as he knew what was at the next stop.

At the edge of the complex was a large pile of boring rocks. I found it strange in the middle of the desert but whatever. Well, that is known as the pyramid of Unas, and you could actually enter that pile of rocks. One word from Hassan and that boring pile of rocks became fascinating; he is magic. But, unfortunately, we could not as it is only an early morning entry, and we were there in the afternoon. Next time I will go into that one.

Pyramid of Unas and yes you can go inside that thing.

As we headed out of the park, I absolutely had to get up close to that stupid camel. I rode a camel in Morocco and wanted to meet an Egyptian one. The camel had a “42” painted on his butt. As we got closer, someone whistled at us, and Hassan turned around. A policeman yelled at us, “no photos, police camel.” We thought it was a joke until we spoke to the guy and it was his police camel. I watched as he put his Russian rifle into a burlap bag hanging off his camel, mounted the beast, and rode off into the desert. He seriously rode a police camel.

Police camel #42 4/2021
A policeman and his camel riding off into the desert 4/2021

Up next….Teti Pyramid and fancy people’s tombs of Sakkara.

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