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Memphis Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 86 photos

Memphis was the first capital of Ancient Egypt. It is believed that the town was found by the first pharaoh Menes when he united Upper and Lower Egypt in 3100 BC (according to Herodotus Menes founded the town predecessor of Memphis) and with this unification the Old Kingdom was founded. Memphis is the Greek name of the city, which come from the Egyptian name of the pyramid of the pharaoh Pepi I, Mn-nfr. The original name of Memphis was Ineb Hedj, meaning 'The White Walls' or 'The Beautiful Walls', maybe because these walls reflected the sun.
Ancient Egyptians built their cities on the East Bank of Nile and the cities of the dead people, the necropolises, on the West Bank of the Nile. This became more noticeable since the Middle Kingdom. Memphis is the only exception, it is located on the West bank of the Nile.
Event tough the capital of Egypt was moved to Thebes, Memphis remained an important administrative and commercial centre till the Ptolemaic era. Herodotus described Memphis as a 'prosperous city and cosmopolitan centre'. The city started to decline from Roman times onwards. Today there is not much to be seen in an open-air museum of the village of Mit Rahina.

Memphis had four sanctuaries - these of the Gods Ptah, Hathor, Thoth and of Ramses II.
According to Herodotus, Menes was founded the sanctuary of the God Ptah in Memphis. The name of this temple was Hi-Ku-Ptah 'Place of the Ka of Ptah'), where the name of Egypt comes from. As a centre of the cult of Ptah Memphis reaches its peak at the time of the 6th dynasty.
According to the Egyptian Mythology Ptah called the world into being (hm, what is the first sentence of the Bible?). His wife is Sekhmet (the Goddess of war, depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness) and their son is Nefertum.
Hathor - Goddess of motherhood, of beauty, and fertility. Depicted as a cow, or as a woman with the head of a cow, later with the sun disc and quills.
Thoth was considered the heart and tongue of Ra. He is depicted as a man with ibis hear. In the myth about Isis and Osiris, being cut into 42 peaces, he was the one who helped Isis to resurrect him.
Ramesses II was a pharaoh of 19th dynasty who ruled Egypt for 66 years. He was the second son of Seti I and his Queen Tuya. He had more than 120 children and about 80 wifes. His beloved wife was Nefertari.

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  • Last visit to Memphis: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated Jan 21, 2007
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