The History of the Ancient City of Memphis

There has never been a city that contained more wonders or defined the future of the history of Egypt than Memphis city. The city was constructed by Pharaoh Menes in 2925 B.C during Egypt old Kingdom (2686-2181 BC) after unifying Upper and Lower Egypt and creating the first dynasty and was originally called Inbu-Hedj which means “The White Walls“. It is the home of the extraordinary Pyramids complex that contains one of the seven wonders of the ancient world the Great Pyramid and the world’s oldest statue the Sphinx. It became the capital of Ancient Egypt, the center of the rule, trade, art and religion under the protection of the god Ptah (the Patron of Craftsmen) and the home to the great temple of Hut-Ka-Ptah that means “Enclosure of the Ka of Ptah” which was translated in Greek as Ai-Gy-Ptos which is the etymological origin of the word “Egypt” the modern English name to this magical Country.

Memphis City Location

The city is located 25 km south of Cairo on the west bank, at the beginning of the Nile delta. It used to be known as Ankh-Tawy meaning Life of the two Lands during Egypt middle kingdom (2055–1640 BCE) as it was strategically placed between upper & lower Egypt which made the city the of absolute power. During Egypt new kingdom it was known as “Men-Nefer” meaning “Enduring and Beautiful” which was later Memfi in the Coptic era and the Greek adaptation of that name was Memphis. The city was the capital of Egypt for eight consecutive dynasties during the old kingdom and during the 6th dynasty, the trade became the main focus of the city’s religious scene which consisted of the creator god Ptah, his wife Sekhmet and their son Nefertem. Ptah’s temple is guarded by an Alabaster Sphinx and serves as a symbol to the city’s power and prestige. The site contains many statues dating back to about 5000 years like the massive statue of Rameses II. The city’s power started to decline during the new kingdom after the rise of the Thebes, in the Greco-Roman period Alexandria became the new capital.  Finally, The city became an echo from the past, a home for scattered stone and forgotten glory.

If you are already in Egypt, we recommend adding Memphis city as a part of your Egypt day tours. Or if you are outside of Egypt and want to discover the great civilization of ancient Egypt, then you can check our Egypt private tour packages and Nile river cruise and book your favorite journey.