Dashur, Saggara and Memphis

 Posted by Elizabeth at 9:31 pm
Aug 092011

The False Pyramid, DashurOur last day in Egypt we visited the sites as Dashur, Saggara and Memphis. Our first stop was Dashur to see the false andThe Red Pyramid, Dasour red pyramids. The false pyramid was the first pyramid and was built around 2500BC. It changes angles about halfway up the sides as they realised that the top would not meet in a point. The same pharaoh then built the red pyramid which is believed to be the first real smooth sided pyramid and his actual tomb. Again it is amazing to think these pyramids have survived thousands of years in such a harsh environment.

From there we stopped at Memphis, the ancient capital of Lower Egypt. There is not a lot there, just a few statues and relics from around the area. There is though a very impressive statue of Ramses II. Its feet are broken and therefore it is lying down, but it shows you how huge and detailed it is. The carving is magnificent with fantastic lines, showing how skilled the craftsmen were at the time.


Saggara was the first royal burial area, followed later by Giza and then the Valley of the Kings. There are a number of pyramids here, the most impressive being the step pyramid. Unfortunately they are “restoring” the pyramid and are completely redoing the surface of it and it looks like they have smoothed over the bottom step. Someone needs to tell them about conservation rather than recreating it! In the complex we went inside one of the smaller pyramids. There is a small steep tunnel that leads you into the burial chamber where there is a stone sarcophagus and hieroglyphics decorating the walls.

Step Pyramid, SaggaraSaggara

Before we left for Egypt people told us what a terrible place it was, how much they were hassled and ripped off. As we were with a guide and driver most of the time we were probably sheltered from it somewhat, although when we were on our own we were not really hassled that much, certainly no more than other places we have visited. The only thing where we felt slightly ripped off was our meals. None of our guides wanted to take us to a cheap local place as they did not want us to get sick, and that is fair enough, but it is frustrating when we are used to shopping in the local markets and cooking for ourselves and as it turned out we both got sick anyway.

The most annoying thing about Egypt is that everyone wants to be tipped for every minor thing they do. A guy at the airport wanted a tip because he lifted our bag, turned without moving his feet and put it on the xray machine (and we had tried to do this ourselves). You have got to be kidding!

Whilst we were there we saw no signs of unrest and did not feel unsafe. There are police everywhere, although most of the time they are sitting talking or sleeping, so I’m not sure how much use they are. The traffic is pretty crazy, but again no worse, and perhaps even slightly better, than other places we have been and we would have had no issues driving ourselves.

By the end though we were both more than ready to back in our own car, cooking our own meals and being able to go where we want when we want. Independent travelling is definitely better! We are both glad we visited Egypt and saw the things we did, but neither of us are in a great hurry to return.

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