The Open Air Museum at Memphis is one of the “must see” sites in Egypt! The trip from Cairo only takes 45 minutes, it is only 20Km to the south, and the entrance fee is 21LE.
Founded in the 1st Dynasty (3100 B.C) by King Narmar, Memphis was the capital of Ancient Egypt, and the first capital city founded after the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. It remained as the capital of Ancient Egypt throughout the Old Kingdom. Because of the many necropolises associated with Memphis, many Egyptologists believe that it was once an extremely large city, though no archaeological evidence proves this, at present!
The name of Memphis is derived from the Ancient Egyptian name called Min-Nefer, which the Greeks later called Memphis. Today it is the location of a local village called Mit Rahina. Excavation, of the site of Memphis, has continued for the last 200 years.
The local God of Memphis was called Ptah, who was the God of creation and workmen, and he was worshiped with his wife, the Goddess Sekhmet and their son, the God Nefer-Tom.
Nothing much remains from ancient Memphis, except some monuments from the New Kingdom and later periods. Nearby Sakkara (as well as Dashur and others) was associated with Memphis, as it was the site of one its many necropolises.
Today, in Memphis, you will see an open air Museum, which amongst other artefacts exhibits a limestone colossus of King Ramses II (an enormous statue carved in limestone, which is about 10m (33.8 ft) long, even though it has no feet!) and a giant alabaster Sphinx, weighting more than 80 tons, which once stood outside the massive temple of the God Ptah. There are also remains of granite statues, of Ramses II, and granite coffins and commemorative tablets from later periods!