Egypt Travel Guide – The Temple of Abydous

The Temple of Abydos is located to the west of El-Baliana, which is a town in Sohag Governorate. In ancient times it was called Abdu, and the Greeks called it Abydos. The 8th province in ancient Egypt, this area is considered to be amongst the most famous archaeological sites. It was the city were Menna, the unifier of upper and lower Egypt came from and from the 11th Dynasty onwards, a burial in Abydos was the ultimate wish and honor for any local to have. In Abydos, many tombs were found belonging to the 1st and 2nd Dynasties. Also, many Kings have built Temples here, including King Pepi I, King Ahmose I, King Seti I and King Ramses II.

Ancient Egyptians believed that the tomb of Osiris, the “God of the Dead, and the underworld” was located in Abydos, and it is where his head was buried.

The Temple of Seti I:

The Temple was built During the reign of King Seti I and was finished by, first, his son Ramses II and then followed by his son, King Mern-Ptah

This temple is quite unique in design, as has a shape of an “L” letter upside down. It also contains the most complete lists of Kings and Gods. The Temple contains 7 shrines dedicated to 7 Gods: Osiris, Isis, Horus, Amon Ra, Ra HorAkhty and Ptah, and Seti I as a deified King. in this temple one will find the best-preserved painted reliefs and texts from the 18th Dynasty.

The Temple of Abydos was constructed with white marble and once had a large pylon built by Ramses II.

The front of the Temple is a square columned façade and there are 12 rectangular pillars with decoration of Ramses II welcoming the Gods Osiris, Isis and Horus. The Temple originally had 7 gates leading to 7 shrines originally constructed by Seti I, but Ramses II made additional parts to the construction, and only there is one gate open now.

This gate leads to a hypostyle hall, which was built and decorated by King Ramses II, where the columns are decorated with papyrus bud capitals. There are many representations of Ramses II offering to many Gods, here.

Further west, you will find the second hypostyle hall, which is the more impressive! Seti II built this hall, the walls depicting Seti I giving offerings, to Osiris and Horus, in front of Osiris shrine. The decorations in this hall are the best in the Temple; the fine painted relief being of the highest standard.

Behind that hall there are 7 sanctuaries, dedicated by Seti I, and made for Osiris, Isis, Horus, Amon Ra, Ra HorAkhty, Ptah and Seti I as a deified King. It is believed that these shrines once contained the sacred boats of the God’s. Each of them has false doors (except for Osiris) with a Stella mentioning the God. The shrine of Osiris doesn’t have a false door; it has representations of the God Osiris’ Jed sign (the pillar of Osiris), with scenes of the Osiris myth.

To the left of the 2nd hypostyle hall, there are two entrances. One leads to the hall of Sokker and Nefertum, while the other leads to a narrow decorated hall, with a list of 76 Kings. Missing from this list are the names of the “heretic King”, Akhenaton, and Queen Hatshepsut. This corridor leads to the hall of sacred boats, where the sacred boats where stored, there was also a hall for sacrifices, where the animals got slaughtered.

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