The Step Pyramid of Djoser (Zoser) is the earliest stone pyramid in Egypt, thus became an important milestone in Ancient Egyptian Architecture that laid the basis for future and more advanced pyramids in Egypt. The Step Pyramid was already an attraction for many centuries. Evidence has shown that travelers and pilgrims have come to see the pyramid from as early as the Middle Kingdom Period (2040 to 1640 BC).
The Step Pyramid of Zoser was built approximately 2649 to 2575 BC, during the 3rd Dynasty and under the rule of the pharaoh Zoser (or Djoser). The building was under the leadership of the pharaoh’s architect Imhotep. Because of Imhotep’s immense influence and contribution over Ancient Egyptian architecture, he was later deified and became god of the architects and doctors. Special permission from the Antiquities Inspectorate is needed to access the pyramid’s interiors. The original entrance in the north side was blocked; instead visitors access the interiors through a newer tunnel in the south side. Travelers must walk a 28-meter passageway to access the pharaoh’s burial chamber, which was heavily plundered by thieves during antiquity. On the northern face, there is a small room called the ‘Serdab’. You cannot go inside the room, although the sloping wall is drilled into two large holes so you can take a good peak of the statue of Zoser inside. The Ancient Egyptians worshipped and made offerings to their deified pharaoh through these two holes.
Imhotep certainly created revolutionary architectural designs for the pharaoh Zoser. Previous pharaohs were buried in rectangular mastabas, whereas Imhotep was able to design a pyramid by stacking six mastabas on top of the other, one mastaba smaller than the previous one. This innovative design would later evolve into the smooth-sided triangular pyramids in Giza and other pyramids in Egypt.