An ancient Egyptian pyramid that was about to breakdown is finally open to the public again after 14 years of restoration.
The Djoser step pyramid, built around 4,700 years ago, is Egypt’s oldest stone monument – according to news, it is even older than the Great Pyramid of Giza (built around 2560 BC). The pyramid is said to have been designed by the ancient Egyptian architect Imhotep, according to the Daily Mail. It has six stacked stone terraces up to 20 meters high and is part of the Saqqara funeral complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site outside Memphis.
This magnificent structure was built in honor of King Djoser during the third dynasty as his final resting place. According to Business Insider, Djoser’s burial chamber and sarcophagus are about 90 feet underground, and the tall, stacked stones were considered “stairs to heaven” for the king.
The original memorial was damaged in 1992 by an earthquake that almost contributed to the collapse, according to the Daily Mail. On Thursday, March 5th, the pyramid was reopened after a lengthy restoration process.
The Egyptian government announced plans to close the pyramid to renovate it and hired Cintec, a British engineering firm headed by Peter James, in 2006, Daily Mail reported. The restoration was briefly interrupted during the revolution in 2011 to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak at the time, CNN reported. The project cost a total of $ 6.6 million.
Although the pyramid was only opened 14 years ago, King Djoser’s burial chamber has been closed since the 1930s, according to the Daily Mail. The restoration included the burial chamber, collapsed walls, ceilings and corridors. News reported that new lighting was also added to the interior. According to the news, Cintec also used an innovative “airbag-like” system to support the walls during the restoration.
“‘We are working hard to build a new Egypt, and restoring our heritage is high on our priority list,” Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli said in a statement.