Meaning of SAQQARAH in English

also spelled Sakkara, part of the necropolis of the ancient city of Memphis, Egypt, 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Cairo and west of the modern Arab village of Saqqarah. The site extends along the edge of the desert plateau for about 5 miles (8 km), from Abu Sir in the north to Dahshur in the south. In 1979 the ancient ruins of the Memphis area, including Saqqarah, Abu Sir, Dahshur, Abu Ruwaysh, and the Pyramids of Giza, were collectively designated a World Heritage site. The earliest remains at Saqqarah are those in the Archaic cemetery at the northernmost end of the site, where large mud-brick tombs, or mastabas, have been found that date to the very beginning of Egyptian history. Although storage jars found in the mastabas bore the names of the kings of the 1st dynasty, it seems that these tombs were those of high officials of the period, because the Archaic kings were buried at Abydos in Upper Egypt. South of the Archaic cemetery lies the Step Pyramid complex of Djoser, second king of the 3rd dynasty (c. 2650c. 2575 BC). Djoser's architect Imhotep designed a new form of burial structure for the king in the shape of a pyramid in six stages. At the foot he constructed a huge complex of halls and courts in which the prototype structures of mud brick, wood, and reed were for the first time translated into fine limestone. Shepseskaf of the 4th dynasty built Mastabat Fir'awn, a coffin-shaped tomb, and several kings of the 5th dynasty also constructed their pyramids at Saqqarah. Unas, the last king of the 5th dynasty, was the first to inscribe on the walls of his pyramid chambers the Pyramid Texts, which were designed to protect the dead king and to ensure him life and sustenance in the hereafter. Succeeding kings of the 6th dynasty continued the practice of inscribing Pyramid Texts in the underground chambers. With the exception of Teti, the 6th-dynasty kings built their pyramids to the south of Unas' pyramid, and the most southerly is that of a 13th-dynasty (c. 1756c. 1630 BC) king. Around the pyramids of their sovereigns, the Old Kingdom (c. 2575c. 2130 BC) nobles were buried in mastabas. The wall carvings within their tombs depict scenes of daily life. During the Middle Kingdom (1938c. 1600? BC) relatively few tombs were built in the Saqqarah necropolis, for provincial cemeteries were then popular. In the New Kingdom (15391075 BC), however, Memphis became a principal administrative and military centre, and a number of tombs from that period have been found, including the finely decorated tomb of the general, later king, Horemheb, discovered in 1975. Also, in that era and later the sacred Apis bulls were buried at Saqqarah in large subterranean galleries, the most famous of which is the Sarapeum. The last imposing tombs to be built in Saqqarah were those of several rulers during the Saite and Persian periods. In the northwestern part of the necropolis, beneath a field of mastabas of the 3rd and 4th dynasties, another complex of underground passages contains thousands of ibis mummies of the Ptolemaic period.

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