Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anani has opened the southern tomb of King Djoser in Saqqara necropolis southwest Cairo, the Ministry said in a statement.
Upon arrival at the site, Dr Anani met tourists who had come from Brazil, Caribbean Islands, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the US, who expressed their admiration of Egypt’s historical landmarks and civilisation. Dr Anani invited them to accompany him at the opening, and they responded with excitement at being the first to visit the tomb in 15 years.
According to Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, who accompanied Dr Anani to the opening of the tomb, the tomb is located at the southwestern corner of the King Djoser funeral complex that dates to the Old Kingdom’s Third Dynasty (2650 – 2575BC).
“This magnificent complex is the oldest stone building of the ancient world,” Mr Waziri said. “The tomb was was named the ‘Southern Tomb’ following its discovery by the English archaeologist Cecil Mallaby Firth in 1928.
“The tomb is composed of an upper level in the form of a rectangular stone building. Its walls are decorated with a series of stone sockets in the form of entrances and exits, crowned by a frieze of cobra heads that symbolise protection and power,” he added.
The lower level of the tomb includes long corridors and spaces decorated with blue faience, and is reached through a ramp entrance leading to the burial chamber which is located at the bottom of a great shaft some 31 metres deep. It contains a huge sarcophagus made of pink granite, and also a well. Mr Waziri said the well and the sarcophagus are similar to those inside the Step Pyramid.
Restoration of the tomb started in 2006 and involved conserving and restoring the lower corridors, strengthening the walls and ceilings, fixing the faience elements, as well as reassembling the granite sarcophagus, Mr Waziri explained.
The tomb will be opened to the public.
15 September 2021