Pyramid of Djoser

To the beginning of the reign of Djoser, the first pharaoh of the third dynasty, the invention of masonry concerns. According to tradition, the honor of this great discovery belongs to Imhotep, the chief architect of Pharaoh Djoser. Be that as it may, it is the pyramid of Djoser that is today considered to be the oldest stone structure on Earth.

The prototype of the pyramid of Djoser became the huge mastabas of the pharaohs of the first dynasty, built from raw bricks

The prototype of the pyramid of Djoser became the huge mastabas of the pharaohs of the first dynasty, built from raw bricks. The Arabic word "mastaba" literally means "bench". They are called so because they are very reminiscent of adobe benches, which can often be seen in front of the houses of Egyptian peasants. Later, this type of tomb gave way to another, in which the burial vault and adjoining chambers were cut down already in the rock below the ground and communicated with the surface through a deep mine. The terrestrial part of the tomb was a rectangular structure made of raw bricks, and later of stone.

At first, the step pyramid of Djoser was also an ordinary stone mastaba. In its development, it went through five stages.

First, the architect of the pharaoh built a large mastaba, similar to a similar tomb, erected for Djoser in Bet Hullaf, in Upper Egypt. But if that mastaba was built from unbaked bricks, then mastaba in Sakkara made from stone blocks. During the reign of Djoser, it was expanded in all four directions. Then the architect once again changed his plans and made the tomb oblong. But apparently this did not satisfy his master or himself, that's why he expanded the construction for the fourth time, and then did something that no tomb maker has done yet: on the upper platform Imhotep built three more mastabs, each of which was less than the previous one. Thus the first stepped pyramid, the mother of all the Egyptian pyramids, was born.

The admiring Pharaoh Djoser decided to make his pyramid even more. He ordered to expand its base to a size of 124x117 m. At the top of the pyramid of Djoser, six step-dimpled terraces were built and lined with limestone from the Tura hills on the opposite bank of the Nile.

The peculiarity of the stepped pyramid of Djoser is its internal construction. The pyramid consists of independent layers of masonry, resting on the central gravel base. In the same way, in essence, all the "real" pyramids-Khufu, Khafre and other pharaohs that reigned later, were built. However, there is one significant difference between the arrangement of the rows or layers of the stacked pyramid and the later pyramids. In the stepped pyramid, the stone blocks are tilted inward at an angle of 74 degrees - this is done for greater strength. In more late, "real" pyramids with straight, rather than stepped faces, the layers of the masonry are arranged horizontally.

As the excavation showed, originally the pyramid of Djoser was the center of a huge ensemble of stone buildings. Imhotep has surrounded the pyramid of Djoser with a giant wall measuring 277x545 m. Inside this fence Imhotep erected a whole complex of stone structures lined with limestone slabs carved with reliefs. Similar carved plates in Egypt are not found anywhere else.

The tomb of Pharaoh Joser was not located in the pyramid itself, but was carved under its foundation in the rocky ground. To her led a square mine depth of 27,5 m. At the bottom of it was built a tomb of granite slabs, delivered from Aswan. In the ceiling of the tomb, the builders left a hole so that a mummy could be inserted through it. Later this hole was closed with a massive granite slab weighing three and a half tons.

The entrance to the mine began far beyond the pyramid of Djoser, from a narrow trench located to the north of it. He led deep down under the pyramid of Djoser and broke off in the well. Subsequently, this course, as well as the well itself, was covered with rubble.

As established by archaeologists, the central well of the pyramid of Djoser was the main axis of a whole labyrinth of underground galleries branching from it to the west, south and east. The walls of some galleries were covered with blue tiles, imitating reed mats. All these galleries with their unexpected turns and dead ends resemble a huge rabbit hole carved into the rock.

Two thousand years after the pyramid of Djoser was built, the capital of the pharaohs was the city of Sais in the Nile Delta. It was a period of a kind of Renaissance: long-looted and abandoned monuments of the Old Kingdom again aroused a keen interest in themselves. Some of them were excavated and restored. It was at that time that the stepped pyramid of Djoser attracted the attention of the Sais rulers. If they could not or did not want to use the ancient northern entrance, they built a new gallery that led to the pyramid of Djoser from the south. During the works they managed to find the central well, which was cleared from the rubble to the roof of the tomb. However, by that time the tomb had already been robbed. British archaeologist Fears found here only the bone of the human foot - this is all that remains of Pharaoh Djoser.

Outside, on the north side of the Djoser pyramid, is a serdab - a small room surrounded by a wall. In it, Fearce found the famous sitting statue of Pharaoh Djoser, now exhibited in the Cairo Museum.

The stepped pyramid of Djoser had a significant influence on the further development of Egyptian architecture. First of all, this influence affected the pyramids, erected by immediate successors of Djoser, the subsequent pharaohs of the third dynasty.