Memphis and its Necropolis - Egypt’s World Heritage site

Baku, March 19, AZERTAC

Memphis, near the modern village of Mit Rahina not far from Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and its necropolis were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979.

The capital of the Old Kingdom of Egypt has some extraordinary funerary monuments, including rock tombs, ornate mastabas, temples and pyramids.

In ancient times, the site was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Said to have been founded by the legendary first king of Egypt Menes in 3100 BC, the ancient city of Memphis was the capital during the Early Dynastic Period (c.3100–2686 BC) and Old Kingdom (c.2686–2181 BC), and continued to be one of the most important cities throughout more than three-thousand years of ancient Egyptian history.

It was a center for the worship of the god Ptah, whose temple was one of the most important places in all of ancient Egypt. It was so important, that the origin of the word “Egypt”, from Greek Aigyptos, comes from the temple’s ancient name, Hikuptah “The Temple of the ka (‘soul’) of Ptah.

The city’s longevity is reflected in the sheer size and number of the many ancient cemeteries in its area. These include, from north to south, Abu Rawash; the Giza Plateau, the site of the three world-famous Pyramids of Giza; Zawyet al-‘Aryan; Abu Ghurab; Abusir; Saqqara; Mit Rahina; and Dahshur.

Being the seat of royal power for over eight dynasties, the city also contained palaces and ruins survive of the palace of Apries overlooking the city. The palaces and temples were surrounded by craftsmen’s workshops, dockyards and arsenals, as well as residential neighbourhoods, traces of which survive.

The Necropolis of Memphis, to the north and south of the capital, extends southwards from the Giza plateau, through Zawyet Elarian, Abu Ghurab, Abusir, Mit Rahina and Saqqara, and northwards as far as Dahshur.

It contains the first complex monumental stone buildings in Egyptian history, as well as evidence of the development of the royal tombs from the early shape called "mastaba" until it reaches the pyramid shape.

More than thirty-eight pyramids include the three pyramids of Giza, of which the Great Pyramid of Khufu is the only surviving wonder of the ancient world and one of the most important monuments in the history of humankind, the pyramids of Abusir, Saqqara and Dahshur and the Great Sphinx.

Besides these monumental creations, there are more than nine thousand rock-cut tombs, from different historic periods, ranging from the First to the Thirtieth Dynasty, and extending to the Graeco-Roman Period.

The property also includes the remains of many smaller temples and settlements, which are invaluable for understanding ancient Egyptian life in this area.



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