Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “Z” is for Zoser

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of the A to Z Challenge and the end of your virtual tour of Egypt. I hope you enjoyed this series and that you learned something new about Egypt and Ancient Egyptian culture, and most importantly, I hope that my summaries of our adventures helped you to feel like you were actually there.

While this may be the end of the challenge, it definitely is not the end of my Egyptian travel diaries. There are so many more stories I could share about our travels, and maybe I’ll post short fictional vignettes inspired by those stories on this blog sometime in the future. For now, I’m zonked, and I hope to get some rest before diving into the next challenge (StoryADay May).

So, to close things out, I want to go back to the beginning…

Not the beginning of this series, but the beginning of pyramid building in Egypt.

King Zoser (an alternate spelling for Djoser), a king from the Third Dynasty (Old Kingdom), is credited with building the first known pyramid in Egypt, also known as the Step Pyramid, located in Sakkara (also spelled Saqqara) necropolis.

[Fun fact: The rulers of Egypt were usually referred to as “kings.” The title “pharaoh” was not used until around the time of the 18th Dynasty, during the New Kingdom, over 1,000 years after Zoser.]

At the base of the pyramid on the northern side is a small enclosure or chamber known as a serdab. Two peepholes are cut into the northern wall of the serdab, and inside the serdab is a seated statue of King Zoser. It is said that the king’s soul (or ka) resided in this statue and would watch, through the peepholes, the people who came to visit his funerary complex to perform rituals and give offerings to him.

Click images for captions

This was also the ideal location to gaze out toward the stars of the northern sky. I admit it’s an incredible view overlooking the city. And being one of the earliest kings of Egypt, Zoser had front-row seats to see its evolution over the millennia.

The statue currently housed inside the serdab is a replica. The real one is now housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. But I’m curious to know which one King Zoser’s ka inhabits. Maybe he alternates between the two, wanting to both oversee the land he once ruled and study the thousands of tourists who come to the museum daily and marvel at the legacy he left behind.


“A” is for Arrival
“B” is for Buyer’s Remorse
“C” is for Cruisin’ the River Nile
“D” is for Delays, Delays, Delays
“E” is for Empty Tombs
“F” is for Fragrance
“G” is for Great Pyramid of Giza
“H” is for Hatshepsut
“I” is for Island Temple of Philae
“J” is for Just Engaged!
“K” is for Kom Ombo
“L” is for Luxor
“M” is for Museums and Mummies
“N” is for Nefertari
“O” is for Osiris, Set, and Horus: Gods of Egypt
“P” is for Pizza Hut Fail
“Q” is for Queen Cleopadrat
“R” is for Ramesses
“S” is for Seti I
“T” is for Traffic
“U” is for Unfinished Tombs
“V” is for Valley of the Kings/Queens
“W” is for Wigs
“X” is for SphinX
“Y” is for Yallah!

This April for the A to Z Challenge, I’m sharing my experience of traveling to Egypt last month. These posts likely won’t be in chronological order, depending on what memory each letter strikes up, but if you’d like to follow me on this journey, subscribe below.

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