The Step Pyramid of King Djoser.
The Step Pyramid was designed for King Djoser (Dynasty 3) by his vizier Imhotep. The
pyramid is located at Saqqara, the main necropolis of ancient Memphis. The multiple
uraei (plural of uraeus, a rearing cobra with a spread hood), on the left in the foreground, are divine protectors
of the king. The view is across the South Court.
The Step Pyramid is the first known monumental structure made of stone anywhere in
the world. As its name suggests, it is a series of six levels of stone decreasing
in size as they ascend to about 200 feet/60 meters in height. Until this time, mastabas had been the principal form of tomb architecture. A mastaba (Arabic for "bench") is a low rectangular structure which was built over a shaft
which descended to the burial location. The Step Pyramid originally began as a mastaba, and it may have been visualized as a series of mastaba shapes, decreasing in size, stacked one on top of another. Whatever the origin, it
creates an impressive geometrical form rising from the floor of the desert.
The Step Pyramid and Heb Sed (Jubilee) Court.
The buildings in the Heb Sed court are dummy structures built of limestone. It was meant to serve the spirit of
the king in the afterlife.
The Jubilee Court is located to the southeast of the Step Pyramid. On the west side
of the court (pictured here) are "dummy" buildings which replicate the shape of canonical
shrines of Upper Egypt. On the east side of the court are buildings which replicate
the shrines of Lower Egypt. Note the base of a double throne kiosk for the king (as
ruler of the two parts of Egypt) in the left center (south end of court).