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Memphis lies 24 km southwest of Cairo in Mit Rahina. The city’s foundation is attributed to Menes (known also as Narmer), the King who united Upper and Lower Egypt and launched the I Dynasty around 3100 BC. At that time Memphis was sited at the Apex of the Delta and thus controlled overland and river communications. If not the earliest city on earth, it was certainly the imperial one.

Memphis is the oldest capital of Egypt, it was Egypt’s capital throughout the Old Kingdom, regained its role after the anarchic Intermediate Period and was never overshadowed by the parvenu seat of the XII Dynasty. Even after Thebes became capital of the New Kingdom, Memphis still held sway over Lower Egypt and remained the nation’s city until the Ptolemaic era.

There is little left of the city today. Originally, the city had many fine temples, palaces and gardens. It must have been huge, judging from the size of its necropolises which extend for some 19 miles along the west bank of the Nile that included Dahshur, Sakkara, Abusir, Zawyet el-Aryan, Giza and Abu Rawash.

But today, other than the scattered ruins, most of the city is gone, or lies beneath cultivated fields, Nile silt and local villages. What we do know of Memphis comes to us from its necropolises, mentioned above, text and papyrus from other parts of Egypt and Herodotus, who visited the city. The fraction we can see of Memphis today is located principally around the small village of Mit Rahina. Ptah was the principle pagan god worshipped here.

Nowadays, the leftover statues and steles are:
• A 13 meters long and 120 tons weighing limestone colossal statue of Ramses II, which is now exhibited in The Egyptian Museum and which is the most beautiful representation of Ramsis II.
• An 80 tons weighing mightily impressive giant alabaster sphinx of King Thutmosis III.
• Several alabaster embalming slabs, where the holy Apis bulls were mummified before burial in the Serapeum at Saqqara


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