The Open Air Museum of Memphis is one of Egypt’s popular visitor destinations and centres around the local village of Mit Rahina which lies approximately 24 kilometres south of modern day Cairo. The city of Memphis, which was founded around 3,100 B.C., once stood on the western banks of the River Nile and was the capital of the Old Kingdom of Egypt and as such was an important centre. Little remains to remind us of this fact and today most of ancient Memphis still lies covered in thousands of years of river silt, farmland and villages. The Open Air Museum of Memphis however exhibits several important items which include the 10 metre tall, limestone statue of Rameses II that used to guard the Great Temple of Ptah, the giant 80 tonne alabaster Sphinx, several miscellaneous stone statues and sarcophagi. To the west of the museum are located several huge animal embalming tables and nearby can be found the sacred enclosure and the scattered ruins of the Great Temple of Ptah. Also within the area are the remains of the Palace of Apries, the small Temple of Merenptah and more importantly the necropolis of Sakkara (Saqqara) which lies approximately 3 kilometres away. The necropolis is famous for containing the Great Step Pyramid of Djoser, the world’s first large-scale stone-built monument.
Memphis and the necropolis of Sakkara are recognised by their listing as a U.N.E.S.C.O. World Heritage Site.