Memphis was founded at the beginning of the 1st Dynasty, and served as the main administrative center of Egypt for over three thousand years. It is about 20 miles south of Cairo, at the junction of Upper and Lower Egypt. The city was built and rebuilt over those years, a total of five cities on top of each other forming a large hill. Just to the side of the hill today is a small village; the former cities are in ruins beneath ground level. Unlike the temples, which were on the edge of the desert and often populated only by priests, this was a major urban center under constant use and reconstruction. The only part of the site open to visitors is a small sculpture garden and a building sheltering a large statue of Ramses II.