Egypt reopens its oldest pyramid after £5m restoration

The pyramid dates back almost 5,000 years

Qin Xie
Friday 06 March 2020 15:34 GMT

An Egyptian pyramid that’s believed to be the first one ever built reopened to the public on 5 March after a 14-year restoration project costing almost $6.6m (£5m).

Djoser’s Step Pyramid, located west of Cairo near Saqqara archaeological site, was built some 4,700 years ago.

It’s the burial site of Pharaoh Djoser, one of the kings of Ancient Egypt’s Third Dynasty, and is said to have been designed by his chancellor Imhotep.

The pyramid is the first large-scale stone construction in history, as well as the largest pyramidal funerary complex.

Measuring 60 metres, the pyramid is made up of six stacked steps over the burial chamber.

The chamber itself is 28 metres deep, and measures seven metres wide.

The Unesco world heritage site had been neglected for decades and was at risk of collapsing when the Egyptian government announced the restoration project in 2006.

But the project had to be put on hold in 2011 due to the uprising in Egypt that saw President Hosni Mubark toppled from his position.

The work eventually continued in 2013, with the results unveiled to the public on Thursday.

Speaking at the opening, Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister Khaled al-Anani said: “Today we celebrate the completion of the project of warding off the danger and maintaining and restoring the first and oldest remaining pyramid in Egypt.”

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly added: ”Although of course we are very proud that this is an Egyptian legacy, we also know very well it is world and global heritage that we are very keen to maintain.”

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