If you saw the Step Pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt, you would immediately know how it got it’s name. This is a very unique pyramid in Egypt that was designed in a set of six steps. It was designed this way by the pharaoh Djoser’s vizier Imhotep. It was designed in a way that resembled tombs of king’s past stacked on top of one another in a sort of staircase to the heavens. The steps of the pyramid form “benches” or mastaba towards the top. Each level of the pyramid gets gradually less steep as it gets closer to the top. The two bottom levels of the pyramid are square mastaba, a method that had never been used previously. After the first two levels, the design returns back to rectangular, which was the norm at the time.
On the outside there lies a massive wall that extends for about a mile in perimeter around the pyramid. This wall forms a giant courtyard with the main entrance of the southeastern side. There is a giant entrance hall facing the south side of the main pyramid where the king’s remains were buried. Several “false entrances” were also made along the outside of the wall. These were intended for use by the king is his afterlife. Outside of that wall, lies a giant forty meter wide trench, which was believed to be another form of defense for the pyramid. The only remaining actual part of the king himself was a mummified foot.
Like many tombs of that era, the infrastructure of this pyramid is a series of mazes and paths throughout. The entrance to the inside was located on the north side of the pyramid, a tradition that was carried out for many years in ancient Egypt. These paths through the inside lead to many remains of people of the royal family as well as many possessions and offerings . Several of the passages were sealed off as the pyramid grew. This, along with creating intricate mazes, were intended to differ grave-robbers from invading the tomb. Their efforts were futile, and many new paths were created in order to plunder the tomb. There have been many stone vases and other items found within the tomb. The extensive use of stone in the pyramid made it much more durable than the previous buildings made of mud-brick, causing many entities of the pyramid to be preserved much better than things of the past.
The Step Pyramid of Saqqara is a very distinctive landmark, and surely a must-see for anyone interested in pyramids. It was a significant part of the Egyptian culture and redefined the way people think of pyramids with it’s unprecedented design.