After 14-year of restoration, Egypt on March 5 reopened its oldest pyramid, the Pyramid of Djoser, to the public. The pyramid is a World Heritage Site recognised by UNESCO and it was constructed around 4,700 years ago during the era of Pharaoh Djoser, who was one of ancient Egypt's third Dynasty Kings. According to reports, the Egyptian government spent approximately $6.6 million on the restoration project.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in a tweet wrote, “A very important tourist engineering and archaeological event, the opening of the first pyramid that was built in ancient Egypt, and the oldest large stone building in the world, the Pyramid of Djoser, which is included in the Saqqara Archeology Region, which was built by the genius engineer Imhotep. And that after the completion of the pyramid restoration project, which lasted 14 years, at a cost that exceeded 100 million pounds”.
The pyramid is made solely of stone and is built of six stacked terraces. According to reports, the structure is 207-feet tall and is the world's oldest monumental stone building. It was built in the Saqqara funeral complex, outside the royal capital of Memphis. A complex of halls and courts surrounds the pyramid and King Djoser's chief minister, Imhotep, is widely considered to have been the architect of the structure.
After the pyramid faced decades of neglect and the risk of collapse, the Egyptian government started the project to restore the structure. The renovation reportedly began in 2006, however, it was interrupted in 2011 and 2012 after Egypt's popular uprising and the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak, before resuming in 2013. The project saw external and internal restoration work, including the paths leading to the pyramid and the internal corridors leading to the burial chambers.
As part of the restoration, collapsed ceiling blocks were also restored. Rubble was removed from the building which also revealed a 176-ton granite sarcophagus measuring 16 feet in height of King Djoser. New lightening system and disabled access were also installed as part of the restoration. The reopening of the pyramid was also attended by Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli as well as foreign ambassadors.