People > Djoser


Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


Djoser was an Egyptian king of the 3rd Dynasty during the Old Kingdom. He is most well known for ordering the construction of his funeral complex known as the Pyramid of Djoser.

Djoser, also known as Netjerikhet, was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt's 3rd Dynasty, ruling from approximately 2670 to 2640 BCE. He is best known for commissioning the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, which is considered the earliest colossal stone building in Egypt and a precursor to the later pyramids. His reign marked significant advancements in architecture, administration, and culture, laying the foundations for the achievements of the Old Kingdom. Here is an overview of Djoser and his reign:


  1. 3rd Dynasty:

    • The 3rd Dynasty is part of the Old Kingdom period, often referred to as the "Age of the Pyramids." This era is characterized by the development of a centralized state and the construction of monumental architecture.
    • Djoser was the second ruler of the 3rd Dynasty, succeeding his predecessor, Sanakht.
  2. Family and Lineage:

    • Djoser was the son of Pharaoh Khasekhemwy and Queen Nimaathap. He had several wives, including Queen Hetephernebti, and a possible daughter, Inetkaes.
    • His lineage and succession were crucial in maintaining the stability and continuity of the early Old Kingdom.

Reign of Djoser

  1. Accession to the Throne:

    • Djoser ascended to the throne around 2670 BCE. His Horus name, Netjerikhet, means "Divine of Body," reflecting his divine status as pharaoh.
    • His reign is marked by significant administrative and cultural advancements that set the stage for the prosperity of the Old Kingdom.
  2. Administration and Governance:

    • Djoser implemented administrative reforms that strengthened the centralized government. He appointed capable officials, such as his vizier Imhotep, who played a crucial role in his reign.
    • His administration focused on efficient governance, the organization of labor for monumental projects, and the management of resources.

Achievements and Contributions

  1. Step Pyramid at Saqqara:

    • Djoser is best known for commissioning the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, designed by his architect Imhotep. The pyramid was initially conceived as a traditional mastaba but evolved into a six-step pyramid.
    • The Step Pyramid is the earliest known large-scale stone structure in Egypt and represents a significant technological and architectural advancement. It served as Djoser’s tomb and a symbol of his divine power.
  2. Architectural Innovations:

    • The construction of the Step Pyramid involved innovative building techniques, including the use of large limestone blocks and the development of a complex of surrounding structures.
    • The pyramid complex included courtyards, temples, and ceremonial buildings, reflecting the importance of religious and ritual practices in Djoser’s reign.
  3. Religious and Cultural Contributions:

    • Djoser’s reign saw the promotion of religious institutions and the construction of temples dedicated to various deities. He supported the priesthood and ensured the continuation of traditional religious practices.
    • Artifacts from his reign, including statues and reliefs, reflect the artistic and cultural advancements of the time. The representations of Djoser emphasize his divine status and the central role of the pharaoh in Egyptian society.


  1. Historical Significance:

    • Djoser’s reign is significant for its contributions to the development of monumental architecture and the centralization of the Egyptian state. His architectural innovations set the stage for the construction of later pyramids.
    • His effective administration and support for religious institutions helped solidify the foundations of the Old Kingdom, leading to a period of prosperity and cultural flourishing.
  2. Cultural Impact:

    • The Step Pyramid at Saqqara remains one of the most iconic and influential structures in ancient Egyptian history. It marked a turning point in architectural design and construction techniques.
    • Djoser’s association with Imhotep, who was later deified as a god of wisdom and medicine, highlights the importance of intellectual and artistic achievements during his reign.
  3. Archaeological Evidence:

    • Archaeological discoveries related to Djoser’s reign, including the Step Pyramid complex and various inscriptions, provide valuable insights into the political, cultural, and religious life of the early Old Kingdom.
    • Artifacts such as the famous seated statue of Djoser, now housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, offer a glimpse into the artistry and craftsmanship of the period.


Djoser, who ruled from approximately 2670 to 2640 BCE, was a pharaoh of the 3rd Dynasty known for his significant contributions to architecture, administration, and culture. His reign is best known for the construction of the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the earliest colossal stone building in Egypt, designed by his architect Imhotep. Djoser’s architectural innovations and administrative reforms laid the foundations for the prosperity of the Old Kingdom. His legacy includes the advancement of monumental architecture, the promotion of religious institutions, and the establishment of a centralized state. The archaeological evidence from his reign provides valuable insights into the early development of ancient Egyptian civilization.

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