This was the first site I went to during my 10-day tour of Egypt c/o Habibi Tours. I thought it befitting that it was the first structure I saw, since it's known as the original pyramid, the first ever in history and the 'prototype' which all later pyramids in Egypt--including the ones in Giza--were to follow.
The temple-like entrance to the Step Pyramid complex alone was breathtaking. I was led by my guide through a long narrow hall of columns which led out into the courtyard of the pyramid complex. It really helps to have a guide explain the history of the place; my knowledge of the Step Pyramid was further enhanced by additional reading from my Egypt Lonely Planet guide.
The complex is vast; I could not see everything in the span of 2 hours. The pyramid was being renovated while I was there, so the scaffoldings could be seen in the pictures I took. No biggie though--at least efforts are being made to renovate it, since tourism and the natural elements can affect its condition over time. There is still a large number of tombs, temples and halls being excavated in this complex and in Saqqara in general; my guide pointed out to me some very deep areas (partly excavated) where people in ancient times must have gathered or gone about their daily duties while serving the pharaoh Djoser. Mindblowing stuff. Imhotep, the pharaoh's head architect and the creator of the first pyramid, is widely honoured throughout Egyptian history--and rightly so!
Go early in the morning (around 8:30 or 9 am) because you won't have to encounter any large tourist crowds at that time. I had the entire place practically to myself at that hour, and it felt great to have some peace and quiet while going around the complex.
When I return to Egypt, I plan to do another trip to Saqqara to this pyramid complex, because there's a lot more to see here. If you have some flexibility in your trip, and if you're into ancient history and exploring ruins, a day tour to the Step Pyramid is recommended.
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