The Museum of Imhotep in Saqqara
Imhotep was a genius in the architecture, sculpturing, and several fields of medicine. Imhotep was the first real doctor known in human history as he invented many medications and drugs that were used to cure a large number of diseases.
Moreover, Imhotep was the first real architect in the history of the world and the first to use stone columns in constructing many structures in ancient Egypt.
The Imhotep Museum was constructed in Saqqara to perpetuate the memory of Imhotep, one of the most skilful architects of Ancient Egypt and the first one who thought of erecting the tombs of the kings and queens in the Pyramid shape that we see today.
Imhotep has constructed the step pyramid of Djoser, the oldest surviving stone building in the world. This was the first time in ancient Egypt to construct a pyramid, mortuary temples, and all other components of a royal necropolis using stones.
Before the invention of Imhotep, the deceased used to be buried deep inside the ground in tombs that were made out of mud bricks. All these concepts changed with the inventions and the creations of Imhotep.
Imhotep was able to construct the first pyramid in Egypt, the Step Pyramid of Djoser and a whole complete complex around the pyramid that included the Temple of the Valley where all the nobles and princes gather to burry the king.
The Temple Valley was where all the people who wanted to farewell the king gathered and then the king, his closest companions, and the priests would march to the funerary Temple where the mummification and rituals were carried out.
Imhotep with his great new discoveries and ideas was considered to be the first and maybe most famous architect in ancient Egypt and all over the ancient world.
Imhotep was the first to construct temples in ancient Egypt using stones, he was the first who used columns in constructing different structures, he was the first to construct pyramids, the first to have the ceilings of the temples constructed with stone blocks, and the first to build and create a statue above the ground level.
Imhotep was the real architect in the history of humankind who had a clear architectural vision and the first architect who had a plan and he implemented this plan in reality.
Moreover, Imhotep was the first astrologer in history and some historians and scientists assert that he was the one who invented the ancient Egyptian style of writing and he also created the Ephemeris System.
Imhotep had many talents and skills in several fields of arts and he had composed and written a number of poems that were famous in ancient Egypt among the royal family and the common people as well.
Imhotep has also invented the black Ink that was never known before him in ancient Egypt and it was largely used in the ancient Egyptian writings.
Due to his exceptional skills and talents, Imhotep had worked in many important positions in the reign of the King Djoser who belonged to the 3rd dynasty. Imhotep was the general director supervising the affairs of the royal palace of the king.
Imhotep became a vizier in the reign of Djoser as well and he had many privileges that were specified only for the Pharaohs and the members of the royal family.
The most mysterious character of the life of Imhotep was that he just suddenly disappeared and there was no mentioning about his death in any of the ancient Egyptian historical records. Moreover, his tomb was never discovered until today.
The Museum of Imhotep in Saqqara
The most astonishing achievement of Imhotep was his design and construction of the Djoser Step Pyramid in Saqqara that was built in the period from 2630 to 2611 BC.
The Museum of Imhotep is one of the newest museums to be opened in Egypt as it was only created in 2009. The museum which is located near the Saqqara Pharaonic historical site and ancient royal necropolis hosts around 250 of the most valuable displays.
The Museum of Imhotep in Saqqara consists mainly of 6 large halls situated over a large corridor with two halls and then four other halls on the two sides of the corridor.
The first hall of the Imhotep Museum, located in front of main entrance of the museum, hosts the ancient base of one of the statues of the King Djoser; four portrays illustrating the architectural art in ancient Egypt before and after Imhotep and how it evolved greatly because of him.
The first hall of the museum also hosts many other displays and portrays dating back to the Old Kingdom of the ancient Egyptian history.
The second hall of the Imhotep Museum in Saqqara is called the Missions Hall and it displays the results of excavations that were carried out in Saqqara over a very long period of time as Saqqara is considered to be among the most important archeological sites in Egypt.
The Missions hall displays about 62 items that consist of a statue of the god Amun that was transferred from the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities and a coffin in the shape of a mummy which is coated with gold.
There is also the Physician collection that are divvied into two rows; the first has 21 bronze statues and the second has 20 offerings tables and vessels, which are all made out of pottery except three that were made out of alabaster.
There are also five items made out of limestone that include a statue of the King Pesmatic from the Late Period, two funerary portrays, and two limestone blocks with colored carvings.
The third hall of the Imhotep Museum is the Saqqara Hall that hosts 76 historical items with 60 containers that were made out of alabaster.
In the Saqqara hall, there is also a wonderful portray craved in a limestone block where the production of alabaster in ancient Egypt is portrayed. There are 16 statues as well that date back to the Old Kingdom and one statue that date back to the Middle Kingdom.
The most famous and important display in this hall is the statue of Ptah Sheps designed in the shape of the reader and another statue of a man and his wife situated inside a sarcophagus.
The forth hall of the Imhotep Museum hosts 8 examples of mosaic walls and they were gathered from many places. These items give wonderful examples of the architectural features of different structure in ancient Egypt like columns, ceilings, and grounds.
The forth hall of the museum has a small bronze statue of Imhotep where he holds a papyrus in his hands and another statue of Kind Djoser made out of limestone.
The Hall of the Tombs of Saqqara hosts nine collections. One of them hosts a wooden coffin, a statue, a model of a boat, and a model of a burial chamber.
The other collection of the Hall of the Tombs of Saqqara includes some funerary furniture a colored mummy mask that was excavated by the Japanese mission.
This hall also hosts the Portray of Famine in front of the entrance of the hall. This is besides a small statue of the King Pepi I, some papyrus, and a small obelisk.
Afterwards, there is the Hal of the Library that has around 300 books and manuscripts that include periodicals and the publications of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
In the same hall, there is also the personal belonging of the famous archeologist, Jan Philip which includes a compass, a camera, and some photographs.
The next section of the Imhotep Museum in Saqqara is the Tomb Hall that consists of a real size model of an ancient Pharaonic tomb.
This artificial tomb contains a wooden coffin, some excavations that include pottery, alabaster, and wooden items.
The mummy that was put in this artificial tomb belongs to Mounib Ra, the son of the King Djoser and it was put in a special display and was treated in a special way to be preserved.
There is also another hall, situated outside the museum, that is specified for visual creation and it includes a model of the Saqqara Complex, a cinema hall that displays the whole historical site of Saqqara, some bazaars.
Behind the museum, there are two large storage rooms that were equipped in the best way possible to preserve the displays to enable the researchers and students to study the displays in the best way.
HOURS OF OPERATION:
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (May 1 – September 1)
7:00 AM – 7:00 PM (September 1 – May 1)
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Ramadan)
Included in admission to the site of Saqqara
BY TAXI: ask for "sa-AH-ra"
Theater, model of Saqqara, Lauer Library, café, gift shop (coming soon)
The museum is wheelchair-accessible.
CONTACT INFO: PHONE: (02) 815-1560
NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED