A General Overview of Memphis City
The city of Memphis was the ancient capital of Egypt and was also a very important center all through the history of Egypt. The ruins of ancient Memphis are located south of the Nile River, on the River’s west bank about 20 km south of Cairo. It was closely associated with the cemeteries or necropolises of Egypt where you can find the famous Pyramids of Egypt and great monuments related to the marvelous Egyptian Civilization. It had about 30,000 inhabitants and was the largest settlement until 2250 B.C.
The main cities, towns, pyramid fields from north to south are Giza, Abu- Ruwaysh, Zawiyat Al-Aryan, Saqqara, and Dahshur. This Ancient City of Memphis dates back to the last couple of centuries BC during the Greco-Roman period. It was the seat of power of the Old Kingdom of Egypt (2686—2181 BC) of, the special home to the Egyptian pharaohs, who raised the pyramids. Most of the great pyramids were built in the time when the city of Memphis was the capital and the most powerful city in Egypt, which you can explore all of this during your Egypt tours packages or Cairo tours. The most impressive thing about this city is the statue of Ramesses II that measures over 30 feet tall. It shows that the city remained important even 1500 years after the Giza Pyramids were completed.
The Interesting History of Memphis City
The great Memphis was the capital of ancient Egypt for eight consecutive dynasties and it reached a peak of flourishment during the rule of the 6th dynasty as the center worship of Ptah, “The God of Creation and Artworks“. The main focus of worship in the city was the creator god Ptah, his consort Sekhmet, and their son Nefertem.
Tutankhamun “1332-1323 B.C.” relocated the royal court from Akhenaten to Memphis at the end of the second year of his reign. He established temples and traditions following the monotheistic era of Atenism. There were also tombs of important officials from Tutankhamun’s reign such as Horemheb and Maya, which are located in Saqqara. The city was further developed under the reign of Ramses II, who devoted many monuments in Memphis and adorned them with colossal symbols of glory. His successor Merneptah established a palace and renewed the wall of Ptah Temple. Ramses II established many religious constructions within the 21st and 22nd dynasties.
It was at the main heart of the turmoil produced by the huge Assyrian threat. However, in 332 B.C, Alexander the great was crowned pharaoh in the temple of Ptah. He had many contributions especially the religious ones. When he died, he was buried in the temple of Ptah. After the rise of Thebes, the New Kingdom, Memphis started to decline after the 18th dynasty during the Ptolemaic dynasty and it falls in the second place after the foundation of Alexandria city. Alexandria remained the most important Egyptian city. Memphis remained the second city until the establishment of Fustat city in 641 C.E.
The Great Temple of Ptah
This wonderful temple was dedicated to god Ptah, the god of creation and artworks. It was considered to be the largest and most important temples in Ancient Egypt. It was one of the three most important places of worship in Ancient Egypt, the others are of Ra in Heliopolis, and of Amun in Thebes. Its remains stand as an open-air museum near the great colossus of Ramses II. It houses a lot of other statues, Colossi, Sphinxes, and architectural elements. Its appearance is unclear now.
Temple of Ptah of Ramses II
This magnificent temple was dedicated to Ramses II, along with the three state gods: Amun, Ptah, and Horus. Its ruins were discovered in 1942. It reveals that the southern part of the city contained a large number of religious buildings with great devotion to god Ptah, the main god in Memphis.
Temple of Hathor
This small temple was dedicated to goddess Hathor. It represents a cultural similarity to the Karnak Temple. This shrine was primarily used for professional purposes during major religious festivals.
Temple of Ptah of the Pharaoh Merneptah
The pharaoh Merneptah was the one who dedicated this temple to the god Ptah. It was discovered in the 20th century by Flinders Petrie. It was buried by the activities of the city and was already in ruins.
Temple of Ptah and Sekhmet of Rameses II
It is attributed to the 19th dynasty and has been dedicated to Ptah and his consort Sekhmet. In it, there are two giant statues, dating from the middle kingdom. These two statues were moved to the museum in Memphis.
Saqqara, the Necropolis
It is located in the northwest of the city of Memphis. It has many tomb and cemeteries including Saqqara Step Pyramid, which was built during the third dynasty for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by Imhotep. It is the first Egyptian Pyramid that consists of six mastabas. It is considered to be the most important archeological site in ancient Egypt.