The pyramid of Djoser (or Djeser and Zoser) and sometimes called the Step Pyramid of Djoser, is an archaeological site in the Saqqara necropolis, Egypt, northwest of the ruins of Memphis. Fortunately, the 6-tier, 4-sided structure is the earliest colossal stone building in Egypt .Magnificently, Pharaoh Djoser built it in the 27th century BC (during the third dynasty . Fortunately, Djoser pyramid is the central feature of a vast mortuary complex in an enormous courtyard surrounded by ceremonial structures and decoration. Its architect was Imhotep, basically the chancellor of the pharaoh and high priest of the god Ra.

Finally, the step pyramid is certainly one of the oldest pyramids from Ancient Egypt. Fortunately, in March 2020, finally  the pyramid was reopened for visitors after a 14-year restoration.


the step pyramid
The step pyramids of Sakkara


Djoser owner of the Step Pyramid was the first or second king of the 3rd Dynasty (c. 2670–2650 BC) of the Egyptian old kingdom (c. 2686 – c. 2125 BC)and is believed to have ruled for 19 years That is if the 19 years were biennial taxation years, 38 years. Interestingly, as he reigned long enough to allow the grandiose plan for Djoser pyramid to be realized in his lifetime.

Historically, Djoser is best known for his innovative tomb, which dominates the Saqqara landscape. In addition, in this tomb he is referred to by his Horus name Netjerikhet, but Djoser is a name given by new kingdom visitors thousands of years later. To sum up, Djoser’s step pyramid is astounding in its departure from previous architecture. It sets several important precedents, perhaps the most important of which is its status as the first monumental structure made of stone.

Firstly, the social implications of such a large and carefully sculpted stone structure (Djoser Pyramid) are staggering ,so he process of building such a structure would be far more labor-intensive than previous monuments of mud-brick. Secondly, this suggests that the state, and therefore the royal government, had a new level of control of resources, both material and human. Thirdly, from this point on, kings of the Old Kingdom are buried in the North, rather than at Abydos.

Although the plan of Djoser pyramid complex is different from later complexes, many elements persist and the step pyramid sets the stage for later pyramids of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Dynasties, including the great pyramids of Giza. Though the Dynastic Egyptians themselves did not credit him as such, so most Egyptologists credit Djoser’s vizier Imhotep with the design and construction of the complex.

Architecture of the step pyramid

Mastaba M1 Mastaba M2 Mastaba M3 Pyramid P1 Pyramid P1′ Pyramid P2
Base dimensions  (207 ft; 120 cu)  (235 ft; 136 cu) 71.5 m (235 ft; 136 cu)
79.5 m (261 ft; 152 cu)
 (253 ft; 147 cu)
85.5 m (281 ft; 163 cu)
108 m (354 ft; 206 cu)
120 m (394 ft; 229 cu)
 (358 ft; 208 cu)
(397 ft; 231 cu)
Height  (28 ft; 16 cu) 8.4 m (28 ft; 16 cu)
~7.75 m (25 ft; 15 cu)
 (28 ft; 16 cu)
~7.75 m (25 ft; 15 cu)
~6.25 m (21 ft; 12 cu)
 (138 ft; 80 cu)  (197 ft; 115 cu)
(205 ft; 119 cu)
 (197 ft; 115 cu)
6 (205 ft; 119 cu)
Masonry blocks   (0.98 ft)  (0.98 ft)  (0.98 ft)  (1.2 ft)  (1.2 ft)  (1.6 ft)
(1.7 ft)
Volume  (11,670,000 cu ft)
Method of construction Horizontal beds Horizontal beds Horizontal beds Inclined layers Inclined layers Inclined layers
Number of steps 4 6 6

Surprisingly, under Djoser pyramid is a labyrinth of tunnelled chambers and galleries that total nearly 6 km in length and connect to a central shaft 7 m square and 28 m deep, so that these spaces provide room for the king’s burial, and the storage of goods and offerings. Literally, engineers built the entrance to the 28 m shaft on the north side of the pyramid, also a trend that would remain throughout the Old Kingdom.