Jun 122013

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.

Date Trees on the road to Dahshur

Beautiful Trees of Dates while traveling to Dahshur

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.

Memphis Open Air Museum

Open Air Museum @ Memphis

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.

Sphinx Statue Memphis

Statue of Sphinx @ Memphis Museum

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.

Memphis open air museum

Open Air Museum of Memphis

There are lot of other statues, artifacts, sculpture and many other items discovered during the excavation are displayed at the museum.

Open Air Museum At Memphis

Open Air Museum @ Memphis

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.

Ramses II Statue Memphis

Ramses II Statue inside the museum @ Memphis

Ramses II Statue at Memphis

Giant Sculpture of Ramses II @ Memphis

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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  8 Responses to “Memphis: A Mighty Capital Turned in to a Small Town of Egypt”

  1. Thanks for the info, it was helpful in planning. Just visited today. Dahshur is up to 40 EGP and Saqqara is 80 EGP, both printed on tickets. Our white taxi tried to take us up to the Bend Pyramid but the officer with the machine gun let us know we could not. We put up a bit of a polite fuss but in the end the guy with the gun won. Driver explained sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t. You could walk from Red Pyramid, but it would probably add an hour.

    Our driver took us to some other tombs at Saqqara, he said if you tell them at the counter they will make you buy tickets to tombs,(even listed on sign) but if you buy just the Saqqara ticket, you can go in no problem.

    Most guides were starting around 300 EGP from Giza Pyramids. Taxis could probably be had for closer to 150-200, but as mentioned be specific about where you want to go, how long they will wait, and we were clear we didn’t want to stop at any shops or restaurants. Some may ask for tip on top of that, but just be clear up front about all the details.

    We decided to skip Memphis to not rush.

    • Thanks William. This update is really useful Hope you are enjoying your days in Egypt. 🙂

      • Hello,

        I will take a private 3-hour tour to the Giza Pyramids on this May 21 and plan to take the taxi to see Saqqara, Memphis, and Dashur. Is it recommended? My tour company kept insisting that it would not be safe for tourist but they want to charge outrageous rate like $200 for the whole day tour there. I feel like I can get a better rate on my own. What do you recommend me to do? How can I negotiate the time spending on each site and having the taxi driver waiting for me?

        • Hi, 200 USD is really a huge amount for this trip. Better to plan on yourself and don’t worry about the safety issues. It’s really safe to travel around in a cab. On your own, you will definitely get a good price for your tour. And, Giza also don’t required any private tour, however, if you wish, you can go ahead with that.

  2. “…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…”

    “…I hired taxi in 90 USD, but while on the way to Dahshur,… ” ???

    Was it 90EGP or 90USD for the taxi?

  3. Do you suggest going to all these places using a tour operator or on your own using taxis? Do people like taxi drivers understand english over there?

    • Taxi Drivers do understand English..not a big hassle..if they do not understand English, then they call somebody to interpret for them (I experienced it twice). Try to bargain good for a taxi. It is cheaper and more enjoying than a group tour of a tour operator. But just fix everything like fare, waiting time at an attraction, dropping place etc. before boarding a taxi.

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