Tracing the Origins of the First Pyramid (Video)
The Great Pyramids of Giza are undoubtedly some of the most recognizable structures in the world. But just 10 miles south lies the Necropolis of Saqqara, an ancient cemetery that is home to 11 pyramids and hundreds of tombs. One structure dominates all others - the first pyramid ever built. Constructed more than 4,500 years ago, this is the step pyramid tomb of Pharaoh Djoser, a King of Egypt's third dynasty. It's a revolutionary masterpiece designed by Egypt's pioneer architect, Imhotep.
Born as a commoner, Imhotep rose to become Pharaoh Djoser's trusted advisor and eventually his chief architect. He invented the stepped pyramid using stone blocks instead of mud bricks, allowing him to build it ever bigger. More than 2,000 years after Imhotep's death, he was worshipped as a god all the way up to Greek and Roman times. Today, Imhotep's masterpiece still dominates the Egyptian desert. But while his structures survive, no trace of the man himself has ever been found.
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Top image: Step pyramid of Djoser. Source: Pavle / Adobe Stock.