Saqqara is the name given both to a village 32 km to the south of the Egyptian capital of Cairo and (more particularly) to the extensive ancient necropolis on the plateau above the Nile Valley, the location of tombs and pyramids dating to the Predynastic, Old Kingdom, New Kingdom and Late Periods of ancient Egyptian history.
The desert plateau above the modern village of Saqqara formed one of the main cemeteries of the ancient Egyptian capital city of Memphis for thousands of years. As such, it attracted a large number of royal and high prestige burials, the remains of which can be seen in pyramids and decorated tombs scattered across the area. The site of Saqqara is quite extensive, stretching 6 km north-south and 1.5 km across at its widest point.
Taxis can be hired from central Cairo to visit Saqqara. Negotiate with your driver for a daily rate.
Travelers may be told there is no bus to Saqqara. This is not true. Bus services do exist to Saqqara from central Cairo, but may entail a more lengthy journey and a potentially a long walk from the village up to the plateau.
Either way, it is possible to reach the plateau by taking a microbus from the Giza metro station. It should be expected to transfer to multiple microbuses as there is no direct microbus. Tell the driver you want to go to "Marishay and then Saqqara" and he should indicate where to transfer. Prices vary based on where the transfer points are LE0.25-3.00. Once in Saqqara village, take a tuk-tuk for a few pounds to the site.
Another possibility to get to Saqqara by public transport: From El Monib metro station (Line 2, the last station) take a microbus to El Badrasheen and there catch a tuk-tuk to Saqqara Archeological site & Imhoteb museum. The ride takes 25-30 min in microbus and 20 min in tuk-tuk, depending on the traffic. The microbus costs LE4-5, and tuk-tuk regular prices around LE15-30.
Saqqara complex. Opening hours: 9AM-5PM, and till 4PM in winter. Entrance fees (as of Dec 2018), students are entitled to 50% discount:
- General admission to the complex and Imhotep Museum: LE180 (Dec 2020)
- Tomb of Mereruka: LE80
- Tombs at the Unas Causeway ("Saqqara New Tombs"): LE60
- Temple Tombs of the New Kingdom (Tomb of Horemheb): LE50
- Serapeum: LE150
Tickets are sold at 1 the ticket booth near the entrance.
- 1 Step Pyramid of Djoser. This structure marks the transition between the bench-like mastaba style of burial and the true pyramid shape (first seen at Dahshur).
- 2 Pyramid of Teti I and Teti Period Cemetery. The pyramid tomb of the first ruler of the 6th Dynasty, the Pyramid of Teti was quickly surrounded by the tombs of his nobles and officials upon its completion.
- 3 Tomb of Mereruka.
- Tomb of Kagemni.
- Tomb of Ankhmahor.
- 4 Serapeum.
- 5 Mastaba of Ti. A 'classic' Old Kingdom tomb of a high noble and one of the richest sources of information about life during that period, the mastaba tomb of Ti is one of the grandest and best-decorated examples of funerary architecture in Egypt.
- Unas Causeway. Leading to the Pyramid of Unas
- 6 Imhotep Museum, ☏ .
- 7 Tomb of Akhethetep.