Aside from being home to Egypt's oldest pyramid, Saqqara is the largest archaeological site in the country. Nobles were laid to rest here over a period of around 3500 years, particularly when nearby Memphis was the capital city, and the enormous ancient burial ground is littered with other smaller pyramids, tombs and funerary complexes.
Step Pyramid of Djoser
Built by Imhotep - one of the first recognised architects in history - during the rein of Pharaoh Djoser around 2630 BCE, the Step Pyramid was the central feature of the Third Dynasty ruler's funerary complex, which also includes an impressive hypostyle entry hall.
Over 200 feet (60 m) tall, with a base of 358 feet by 397 feet (109 m by 121 m), the step pyramid was the Egyptian's first successful attempt to build a pyramid, and is one of the world's oldest monumental cut stone structures.
Djoser's Pyramid is essential both as a feat of engineering in itself, and as for paving the way to the construction of the "true pyramids" of Giza and the rest of Egypt.
The oldest pyramid in Egypt is definitely worth a visit, right? The vast necropolis is home to eleven pyramids in total - the burial places of the Old Kingdom pharaohs - amongst which several are magnificent examples of ancient art and architecture. The Mastaba of Ti is decorated with highly detailed scenes of daily life in the Old Kingdom, as well as a life-size statue of the Pharaoh Ti; while the Serapeum, the burial place of sacred bulls, is also a fascinating highlight.
For big fans of Egyptian history and architecture, be sure to visit the Imhotep Museum too, a small but interesting collection of beautiful ancient objects found around Saqqara.
If you're short on time, or don't want to have to worry about organising your own transport, an easy option is to reserve a guided tour that includes transfers and entrance fees to the main monuments of Saqqara, Memphis and Giza:
Daily from 8 am to 4 pm (closes at 3 pm during Ramadan).
For admission to Saqqara and the Imhoteb Museum:
Adults: 150 LE (US$ 5)
Students (with valid ID): 75 LE (US$ 2.50)
Pyramids of Giza, Memphis and Saqqara € 71 (US$ 77.30)
Hire a taxi, or book an inclusive guided tour.