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Memphis (Egypt)

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Memphis (Egypt)

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This article is about Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt. There are several other cities named Memphis, including Memphis (Tennessee.

Memphis is the site of one of the great ancient capital cities of Egypt, located some 24 km (x miles) south of the modern Egyptian capital of Cairo.


Memphis was founded towards the end of the 4th millennium BCE by the Pharaoh Narmer at the time of the Unification of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, the boundary between which is thought to have been located close to the ancient city. It remained the capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom period, at the time when the great Pyramids were being built. Power returned to the city when the New Kingdom pharaohs made it once again Egypt's northern capital, alongside the religious and ceremonial capital at Luxor in the south.

Get in

By taxi / cab

By far the easiest way of visiting Memphis is to hire a taxi for the day - a visit to the city can be combined with visits to Saqqara and other nearby sites.


  • the Memphis Museum, located in the village of al-Badrashein, admission £14, open daily 8 am - 5 pm - the highlight of the museum is a magnificent limestone colossus (large statue) of Ramesses II the Great, viewable from an upstairs gallery. Much of the largely sculptural exhibits are in the open air, including additional statues of Ramesses II, an alabaster sphinx of the New Kingdom period and the massive travertine platforms that were used in the mummification process of the Apis bulls, later interred in the Serapeum at Saqqara.


A small rest-house is located across the road from the museum - beware the notoriously inflated prices (best to bring drinks and snacks with you from your base).

Get out

Visitors to Memphis should make it a priority to also visit the main ancient necropolis of the city, located nearby (3 km distance) on the desert plateau at Saqqara. The adjoining cemeteries at Abusir and Dashur are also well worth a visit.

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