The Step Pyramid at Sakkara, built in the 27th century BC as the final resting place for the Third Dynasty Pharaoh Djoser, has had its interior reopened to the public after a 14-year, USD 6-million restoration project.
The restorations, which began in 2006, were carried out to shore up the monument’s structural integrity after damage from a 1992 earthquake centered south of Sakkara at Dashur forced the closure of the pyramid’s interior.
The Ministry of Antiquities held a ceremony in front of the Step Pyramid at the Sakkara necropolis to mark the monument’s reopening. Numerous ambassadors, antiquities, and tourism officials attended alongside Egypt’s Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouli.
“We are working hard to build a new Egypt… and the restoration of our heritage is at the top of our priorities,” Madbouli commented at the event.
The number of tourists visiting Egypt more than doubled over the past several years, going from nearly 5.4 million in 2016 to more than 11.3 million in 2018, the last year for which annual data is currently available.
According to EgyptTravelBlog.com:
The Step Pyramid is unique not only because it looks different than Egypt’s other pyramids, but because it represents an important transition in technique and style for Old Kingdom pharaonic burials. Previously, royal and noble burial monuments took the form of a rectangular mound called a mastaba. The two layers typical of these structures caused them to resemble a bench, hence their Arabic name of mastaba – or bench – in Arabic.
The monument dates to the 27th century BC during the Third Dynasty, which corresponds to the first dynasty of the Old Kingdom period, and was the central structure of a larger necropolis complex consisting of mortuary temples and additional tombs. The pyramid originally stood 62.5 meters (205 feet) tall, but interestingly it was not a perfect square, with its base measuring 109 meters by 121 meters (358 feet by 397 feet).