The Pyramid Complex of Giza is a fascination for everyone visiting to Egypt. The Great Pyramid is sheer in size, grand in style, astonishing in its beauty..but then there are huge rush of tourists, aggressiveness of pushy vendors and a greedy needs of local people, who keep you struggling at each step to shoot a better picture, to spend some time in peace , to walk around solely or to gaze those beautiful wonders of the world with a endless joy.
You may become frustrated because of this rush, but this is not the end of the world of the pyramids. Just 25 kms away from the Pyramid Complex of Giza is the sites of The Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara and further 10 kms away is the site of The Bend Pyramid and Red Pyramid at Dahshur. If you are fed up with the crowd or with the aggressive behaviour of many vendors at Giza, you can consider a visit to Saqqara and Dahshur along-with a visit to the Open Air Museum at Memphis. These sites are not so far from the Pyramid Complex of Giza, yet very far in the behaviour of vendors and more peaceful in the nature. You will find very less tourist at these sites, so you do not need to wait for minutes to get a good picture of you with the pyramid in the background. But this is not the only reason to visit these pyramids. These pyramids are also considered as the masterpieces in Egyptian History. In fact, these are the first pyramids of Egypt, which led to the construction of The Great Pyramid at Giza.
After visiting The Pyramid Complex of Giza, I came out from the complex via a gate near to the Sphinx. There were many tourist taxis waiting outside for the customers. I negotiated with a driver of white taxi, who agreed me to take along on the tour to Memphis, Dahshur and Saqqara in 90 EGP. I was happy to get a good deal, so stepped inside the taxi and we started our journey to Dahshur. As we are going further south of Giza, landscapes and surrounding changed surprisingly.
We passed through many fields of fruit and vegetables, beautiful group of Palm Date Tress, small hamlets with brick houses, many dumping sites and dirty roads. The area looks far away from the drizzling lifestyle of Cairo. We first went to Dahshur (farthest from Giza), then Memphis (Between Dahshur and Saqqara) and at the last to Saqqara. But the construction of the earliest Pyramid first started from Saqqara and then they built in Dahshur and at last in Giza. So, I will write about these places in order to their places in history, not in the order of my visit. This post is about the visit to the open Air Museum of Memphis, that was, once, among the most important cities of the world. In later posts, I will take you to the journey of Saqqara and Dahshur.
Very Important Tip: This is what I faced in the mid-way of that journey. I hired taxi in 90 EGP, but while on the way to Dahshur, the taxi driver told me that I have only 10 minutes at each sites ! Shocking! I was surprised with his intention. I argued, but he was not ready for more time. Finally, I had to spent out extra 35 EGP to visit those places at my own pace. So the important lesson learnt was that before hiring a taxi, always negotiate with the driver regarding the time you wish to spend at each places.
Memphis: Now a small town, Memphis was the capital for the most of Pharaohic period in Ancient Egypt. During those days, it was full of gardens, palaces and temples. But nearly 3000 years later, very little left of Memphis and that include an open air museum and some statues. It is not a very large museum and can be visited in one hour at very comfort pace. The main attraction of this museum is a Sculpture of Ramses II, An alabaster Statue of Sphinx and a lying statue of Ramses II.
Entry Fee: 35 LE . Camera is allowed, but for tripod extra 20 LE tickets required ! I don’t find any need of tripod there, so better to keep that in your taxi.
The alabastar sphinx at Memphis is neither large in size nor in grandeur as at Giza, but still in the middle of that open air museum, its beauty is a must watch and admirable.
Another legendary statue there is the statue of Ramses II standing tall at the end of the open air museum. This is a large monolithic statue from the middle kingdom.
There are lot of other statues, artifacts, sculpture and many other items discovered during the excavation are displayed at the museum.
While coming out from the museum, I saw a security guard calling me inside a room. I ignored him thinking he might want my attention for the bakhshish (tip). He called me again and insisted me to visit that room. Hesitatingly, I went inside and then I realized, what I was going to miss ! A giant statue lying on the floor is the biggest attraction of Memphis. This limestone statue of Pharaoh Ramses II belong to the New Kingdom and because its lower base has been broken off, it is currently displayed lying on its back. Even without its legs, this statue is 10 mtrs long.
Memphis was once among the most important cities in world, but all that glory is now hardly restricted to a size of a football stadium. Nothing much to see there,so I finished it in 30 minutes and moved ahead to the next destination Saqqara.
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