24 km South-West of Cairo
12561 Cairo, Egypt
Situated near to the Mastaba of Ti in Saqqara, the Serapeum is one of Saqqara's strangest monuments. The temple was discovered by archaeologist Auguste Mariette in 1850. Twenty-four granite sarcophagi in which sacred bulls had been buried were discovered there, though unfortunately they had been plundered. These sacred Apis bulls were believed to be incarnations of Ptah, the cult god of Memphis. The sacred bulls were kept in the temple to Ptah at Memphis, their every need tended to by an army of attendants. They even had their own harem of cows, and when they died, they were mummified and buried in the Serapeum with full pomp and circumstance. Incredibly, the sarcophagi were carved from single blocks of granite weighing up to 80 tons! Unfortunately, the Serapeum is currently closed to visitors.
photo courtesy of Saqqara: Serapeum