The Open Air Museum at Memphis is one of the truly “must see” sites in Egypt! The trip from Cairo is only 45 minutes, the museum is only 20 Km to the south, and the entrance fee is an affordable 80 LE.
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 the capital city of Ancient Egypt throughout the Old Kingdom. Due to a large number of necropolises (these are ancient cemeteries) associated with Memphis, many Egyptologists believe that it was once an extremely large city, although there is no archaeological evidence, even today, that proves this point.
The name of Memphis is derived from the Ancient Egyptian name, Men-Nefer, which the Greeks later renamed Memphis. Today it is found in an interesting local village called Mit Rahina. Archaeological excavation, at the site, has continued for the last 200 years.
The local god of Memphis was called Ptah, he was the god of creation and workmen, and was worshiped with his wife, the Goddess Sekhmet and their son, the God Nefer-Tom.
Little remains from the ruins of ancient Memphis, except a few monuments from the New Kingdom and later periods. Nearby Sakkara (as well as Dashur and others) was associated with Memphis and was the site of one its many necropolises.
Today, in Memphis, you can visit this historical Open Air Museum, which amongst other artifacts exhibits a limestone colossus of King Ramses II.
This enormous statue, carved in limestone, (and missing the King’s feet) is about 10m (33.8ft) long. You can also see a stunning, giant alabaster Sphinx, weighing more than 80 tons, which once stood outside the massive temple of the god Ptah. You can also experience the sight of the remains of granite statues, showcasing Ramses II, as well as granite coffins and commemorative tablets from later periods.