Lonely Planet Writer

A 4000-year-old Egyptian tomb has opened to the public for the first time

As tourists are returning to Egypt, a new historic site has opened to eager travellers for the first time ever – a 4000-year-old tomb in the historic Saqqara region.

Inside the incredible tomb in Egypt. Image by Ministry of Antiquities

The country’s Ministry of Antiquities opened the tomb of Mehu – an ancient vizier (the highest ranking official under the pharaoh) who lived around 2300 BC – to the public for the first time since it was rediscovered back in 1940 by the Egyptologist Zaki Saad. Located in the ancient burial site of Saqqara, one of Egypt’s largest archaeological sites, the tomb underwent restoration work before its official opening over the weekend.

Dr. Mustafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement that the tomb is one of the most beautiful in Saqqara Necropolis because much of the vivid colours on the wall paintings have been maintained. The scenes inside depict the owner of the tomb hunting and fishing, as well as harvesting scenes. Now, the tomb has undergone restorations to strengthen the colours and create an interior lighting system so visitors can go inside.

The tomb belongs not only to Mehu, but members of his family, like his son Mery Re Ankh and grandson Hetep Ka II. Inside the tomb are six chambers, including Mehu’s burial chamber where a sarcophagus with a lid was found.

Inside the incredible tomb in Egypt. Image by Ministry of Antiquities

Travellers who want to visit the newly opened tomb will find that it is also surrounded by the many sights of Saqqara, which includes 11 major pyramids and plenty of tombs. There is the Step Pyramid of Zoser, which is the world’s earliest stone monument, and the Pyramid of Teti, which contains ancient Pyramid Texts. The region is located about an hour’s drive to Giza, home of the famous pyramids, and Cairo.