Although Memphis must must have been a huge city, judging from the size of its necropolises, there is not much left from its ancient times. The Mit Rahina Museum, aka Memphis Museum, displays a couple of colossus of Ramses II and a Sphinx of Memphis, but other than that, it is a collection of headless statutes with very poor signage.
Memphis was founded around 3,100 BC by the legendary Menes, the King who united Upper and Lower Egypt, setting the scene for the greatest civilization of ancient times. Early on, Memphis was more likely a fortress from which Menes controlled the land and water routes between Upper Egypt and the Delta. Menes and his ancestors were attributed to be divine and promoted a highly stratified society. They patronized the arts, the building of temples, pyramids and public works. Only 400 years later, the first pyramid, the Step Pyramid was build, in the 27th century BC. Almost 5,000 years ago.
It is believed that Menes founded the city by creating dikes to protect the area from Nile floods. However, during the Mameluke period of Egypt, the dikes fell into disrepair, and Memphis was slowly covered in silt. During later dynasties, Thebes (modern day Luxor) became the capital of Egypt, diminishing Memphis' influence. Its final blow was when the Greeks arrived and moved the capital to Alexandria.