Pyramid Complex at Saqqara



The pyramid complex of Userkaf, named wab-s.wt, ‘the purest of places’, is located almost exactly at the north-eastern corner of the 3rd Dynasty complex of Netjerikhet at Saqqara.

The return to Saqqara-North, and more precisely to the site chosen for Netjerikhet's complex, is interesting and may have been symbolic. Userkaf’s predecessor, Shepseskaf, the last king of the 4th Dynasty, had already chosen to return to Saqqara, but he had his funerary monument built at Saqqara South, several kilometers to the south of Netjerikhet’s complex, after his ancestors had preferred the northern sites of Giza and Abu Rawash.

Userkaf’s immediate successors continued their predecessor’s move north and had their funerary monuments built at Abusir, a couple of kilometers to the north of Saqqara, a site that had already been opened up by Userkaf himself, when had his Solar Temple built there.


The structure of Userkaf's funerary complex deviates from the tradition. It consists of all the traditional parts, but these are arranged in a fairly unusual way, with the mortuary temple oriented towards the south instead of the east. This has been explained by some as the result of the choice of place where Userkaf wanted his monument to be built, or by others as a short-lived theological experiment.

The complex consists of a main pyramid, to the east of which is located a small offering chapel. The main pyramid and offering chapel are surrounded by an enclosure wall. The satellite pyramid is located to the south-west and the temple to the south of the main pyramid. The smaller pyramid to the south of the temple has been interpreted as the Queen’s pyramid.

Click on the thumbnails below to learn more about Userkaf’s pyramid complex.

© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017