Memphis, Egypt

Ruins of the pillared hall of Rameses II at Mit Rahina
Memphis, Egypt is located in Egypt
Memphis, Egypt
Shown within Egypt
LocationMit Rahina, Giza Governorate, Egypt
RegionLower Egypt
Coordinates29°50′41″N 31°15′3″E / 29°50′41″N 31°15′3″E / 29.84472; 31.25083
BuilderUnknown, was already in existence during Iry-Hor's reign[1]
FoundedEarlier than 31st century BC
Abandoned7th century AD
PeriodsEarly Dynastic Period to Early Middle Ages
Official nameMemphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur
Criteriai, iii, vi
Designated1979 (3rd 86
RegionArab States

Memphis (Arabic: مَنْفManf  pronounced [mænf]; Bohairic Coptic: ⲙⲉⲙϥⲓ; Greek: Μέμφις) was the ancient capital of Inebu-hedj, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Mit Rahina, 20 km (12 mi) south of Giza.

According to legend, as related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes. It was the Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom and remained an important city throughout ancient Egyptian history.[2][3][4] It occupied a strategic position at the mouth of the Nile Delta, and was home to bustling activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer, featured a high density of workshops, factories, and warehouses that distributed food and merchandise throughout the ancient kingdom. During its golden age, Memphis thrived as a regional centre for commerce, trade, and religion.

Memphis was believed to be under the protection of the god Ptah, the patron of craftsmen. Its great temple, Hut-ka-Ptah (meaning "Enclosure of the ka of Ptah"), was one of the most prominent structures in the city. The name of this temple, rendered in Greek as Aἴγυπτoς (Ai-gy-ptos) by the historian Manetho, is believed to be the etymological origin of the modern English name Egypt.

The history of Memphis is closely linked to that of the country itself. Its eventual downfall is believed to have been due to the loss of its economic significance in late antiquity, following the rise of coastal Alexandria. Its religious significance also diminished after the abandonment of the ancient religion, following the Edict of Thessalonica.

The ruins of the former capital today offer fragmented evidence of its past. They have been preserved, along with the pyramid complex at Giza, as a World Heritage Site since 1979. The site is open to the public as an open-air museum.


Memphis (mn nfr)
in hieroglyphs

Memphis has had several names during its history of almost four millennia. Its Ancient Egyptian name was Inebu-hedj (translated as "the white walls"[5][6]).[7]

Because of its size, the city also came to be known by various other names that were actually the names of neighbourhoods or districts that enjoyed considerable prominence at one time or another. For example, according to a text of the First Intermediate Period,[8] it was known as Djed-Sut ("everlasting places"), which is the name of the pyramid of Teti.[9]

The city was also at one point referred to as Ankh-Tawy (meaning "Life of the Two Lands"), stressing the strategic position of the city between Upper and Lower Egypt. This name appears to date from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1640 BCE), and is frequently found in ancient Egyptian texts.[10] Some scholars maintain that this name was actually that of the western district of the city that lay between the great Temple of Ptah and the necropolis at Saqqara, an area that contained a sacred tree.[11]

At the beginning of the New Kingdom (c. 1550 BCE), the city became known as mn-nfr (anglicized as Men-nefer, meaning "enduring and beautiful"), which became "Memfi" (ⲙⲉⲙϥⲓ) in Bohairic Coptic. The name "Memphis" (Μέμφις) is the Greek adaptation of this name, which was originally the name of the pyramid of Pepi I,[Fnt 1] located west of the city.[12] However, Greek poet Hesiod in his Theogony says that Memphis was a daughter of river god Nilus and the wife of Epaphus (the son of Zeus and Io), who founded the city and named it after his wife.[13]

In the Bible, Memphis is called Moph or Noph.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Memphis (Egipte)
العربية: منف
asturianu: Menfis
azərbaycanca: Memfis
беларуская: Мемфіс (Егіпет)
български: Мемфис
brezhoneg: Menfis
català: Memfis
čeština: Mennofer
español: Menfis
euskara: Menfis
فارسی: منف
galego: Menfis
հայերեն: Մեմփիս
हिन्दी: मेम्फ़ीस
hrvatski: Memfis
Bahasa Indonesia: Memphis, Mesir
italiano: Menfi (Egitto)
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಮೆಂಫಿಸ್
Latina: Memphis
lietuvių: Memfis
magyar: Memphisz
македонски: Мемфис (Египет)
مصرى: ممفيس
Nederlands: Memphis (Egypte)
occitan: Menfis
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Memfis
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਮਨਫ਼
polski: Memfis
português: Mênfis
română: Memphis, Egipt
Simple English: Memphis, Egypt
slovenčina: Mennofer
slovenščina: Memfis, Egipt
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Мємфь
српски / srpski: Мемфис (Египат)
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Memfis (Egipat)
suomi: Memfis
svenska: Memfis
Türkçe: Memfis
українська: Мемфіс (Єгипет)
Tiếng Việt: Memphis (Ai Cập)