Attraction Details

Memphis, Egypt

Memphis
Mit Rahina
Memphis200401.JPG
Ruins of the pillared hall of Rameses II at Mit Rahina
Memphis, Egypt is located in Egypt
Memphis, Egypt
Shown within Egypt
Location Mit Rahina, Giza Governorate, Egypt
Region Lower Egypt
Coordinates view on map
Type Settlement
History
Builder Unknown, was already in existence during Iry-Hor's reign
Founded Earlier than 31st century BC
Abandoned 7th century AD
Periods Early Dynastic Period to Early Middle Ages
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Official name Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur
Type Cultural
Criteria i, iii, vi
Designated 1979 (3rd session)
Reference no. 86
Region Arab States

Memphis (Arabic: ? Manf  pronounced [mænf]; Greek: µf) was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Mit Rahina, 20 km (12 mi) south of Giza.

According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an important city throughout ancient Mediterranean history. It occupied a strategic position at the mouth of the Nile delta, and was home to feverish activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer, harboured a high density of workshops, factories, and warehouses that distributed food and merchandise throughout the ancient kingdom. During its golden age, Memphis thrived as a regional centre for commerce, trade, and religion.

Memphis was believed to be under the protection of the god Ptah, the patron of craftsmen. Its great temple, Hut-ka-Ptah (meaning "Enclosure of the ka of Ptah"), was one of the most prominent structures in the city. The name of this temple, rendered in Greek as A? pto? (Ai-gy-ptos) by the historian Manetho, is believed to be the etymological origin of the modern English name Egypt.

The history of Memphis is closely linked to that of the country itself. Its eventual downfall is believed to be due to the loss of its economic significance in late antiquity, following the rise of coastal Alexandria. Its religious significance also diminished after the abandonment of the ancient religion following the Edict of Thessalonica.

The ruins of the former capital today offer fragmented evidence of its past. They have been preserved, along with the pyramid complex at Giza, as a World Heritage Site since 1979. The site is open to the public as an open-air museum.

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