In North Saqqara (Saqqara) the oldest and historically most important part of the Memphis necropolis is located. The deceased were buried there continuously from archaic to Greek times.
During the New Kingdom, when the rulers were buried in the Valley of the Kings in Western Thebes, there was a necropolis for sacred animals at Saqqara. It grew especially in the Ptolemaic period, when the cult of animals was experiencing a renaissance. The cemetery has grown to enormous dimensions – length approx. 8 km (without the nearby cemeteries in Dahshur (Dahshur) or Abu Sir and Giza). It was under the special care of Sokar, god of the dead from Memphis, a green-skinned falcon man. The modern name derives from him, though the Egyptians would have preferred, to come from the word saq, meaning "falcon", the sacred bird of Horus.
In North Saqqara, they deserve attention: mastabas of the kings of I and II dynasties (Horusa-aha, Djer, Wadżi, Everything, Queen Merneit); Neczerichet's funerary complex, known today as Doser (III dynastia) with a step pyramid; tombs (mastaby) dignitaries: Shepseskaf (IV dynasty), Hesire, Mereruki Kagemniego, Nebetki, princesses Idut (VI dynasty); pyramids of Dynasty V rulers: Userkafa, Dżedkare-Isesi, Unisa; mastabas of dignitaries of the V Dynasty (You, Ptahhotepa I i II, Nefer and his wife, Achuthotepa, Heaven); pyramids of the rulers of the VI dynasty (Teti I, Pepi I, Merenre, Pepi II), three little pyramids of queens (Iput, New); pyramid of heads; pyramids of the XIII Dynasty (m.in. Chendżera); private tombs (m.in. Horemheba – New State); Serapeum from the time of Amenhotep II, rebuilt under Ptolemy; Coptic monastery of St.. Jeremiah.
Not all buildings scattered over the huge area are open to the public. Excavations are constantly being carried out here (m.in. by Polish archaeologists). Searching for the tomb of the famous architect Imhotep in 1986 r., Maja's tomb was discovered, treasurer of King Tutankhamun.
W 1996 r. team of prof. Karol Myśliwiec came across the royal mastaba, w 1997 r. on the tomb of Fe fi, a dignitary from the VI Dynasty, a w 2002 r. – to the burial place of the admiral of the Pharaoh's fleet.
It is best to choose a few of the many monuments, like the funerary complex with the Djoser Step Pyramid, pyramid of Unisa (Unasa; when available), pyramid of Tetiego I, mastabas of dignitaries: Kagemni, Ptahhotepa (when available), Mcrcruki, You, princesses Idut and Serapeum (when it opens). The Sekhemchet pyramid is also worth seeing, discovered in years 1951-1954.
Getting to Saqqara by public transport, away from 21 km from the pyramids of Giza and 32 km south of Cairo, it is time consuming. It's best to take part in an organized trip. When entering the archaeological site in Saqqara, the police check point works well, whether the vehicle can enter the guarded area. You can also hire a taxi for the day (80-100 EGP with a stop at Abu Sir and Dahshura). The price must be determined in advance, as well as give the names of individual places, which you want to visit. Kolejna możliwość to przejażdżka konna spod piramid w Gizie (3; drogo).
Nekropola powinna być czynna między 8.00 a 17.00 (zimą do 16.00), ale niekiedy już godzinę przed zamknięciem nikogo nie ma przy bramce wejściowej. Nie wolno fotografować wnętrz mastab i piramid.
Bilet wstępu kupuje się na samym końcu wielkiego parkingu (50 EGP: kompleks Dżosera, muzeum Imhotepa, wnętrze piramidy Teti I, mastaba Kagemniego, Mereruki; 30 EGP mastaba Ti, Nefera, Irukaptaha, Niannch-chnuma, Chnumhotepa). Serapeum wciąż jest zamknięte.