Egypt reopens ancient tomb of King Djoser after 15 year closure

The tomb of an ancient Egyptian King, who lived over 4,500 years ago, was reopened on Tuesday to members of the public.

After 15 years of restorations – and $8.2 million later – the ancient relic that is King Djoser’s tomb, is now open for public viewing in Egypt.

Also known as the ‘Southern Tomb’, the structure is predominantly underground and is filled with corridors that are embellished with hieroglyphic carvings and tiles.

Image: Arab News

The restoration work, which had begun in 2006, involved reinforcing the corridors, refurbishing the carvings and tiled walls, and installing lighting.

Ashraf Owais, director of Saqqara Monument Restoration, said: “Fifteen years ago nobody could go down to the tomb because of collapses”.

When describing the newly renovated site Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, mentioned that:

“After descending the deep stairs and reaching the burial pit, one finds a coffin that is considered one of the largest made with pink granite stone, composed of 16 pink granite blocks with a total weight of 120 tons,”

It sure as hell sounds opulent – where can I get one?

Despite the Southern Tomb being Djoser’s, his body actually resides in Egypt’s Step Pyramid, nearby – the world’s oldest known pyramid. This pyramid was also recently renovated in an effort to prevent it from collapsing after decades of neglect.

According to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Step Pyramid is one of the first examples of gigantic architecture from the ancient world, sitting pretty at 60 metres high.

It is also said to have been the inspiration behind the Pyramids of Giza.

Image: Informational King

Both structures are part of the Saqqara village – one of the country’s richest archeological sites, which is also home to the world’s oldest brewery.

The plethora of publicised renovations in Egypt have been a key incentive to reviving tourism in the country, particularly after the 2011 uprising where protests against poverty and corruption resulted in police and civilian fatalities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt another blow to Egypt’s tourism sector.