Abydoss has emerged as a significant archaeological treasure in Egypt. It is home to the royal burial ground from the pre-dynastic era, which has unveiled intriguing connections with Sumeria. Additionally, it houses the Osireion, a mysterious subterranean chamber linked to the Nile, constructed from massive blocks. The architectural style of these blocks is only paralleled by the Valley temple at Giza. Later, the temple of Seti I from the Sixth Dynasty, which undoubtedly originates from an earlier period, was constructed atop this site.
Where is the Abydos Temple located, and how to get there?
The Abydos Temple is situated in the town of Abydos, which was once a prominent sacred city and a necropolis for the earliest Egyptian royalty. Abydos was also a pilgrimage hub for worshipping Osiris, the god of the afterlife, who was thought to be buried there. To reach Abydos from Luxor, you can take a private car or a taxi, which will take approximately two and a half hours. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour that includes transportation and entrance fees with Sun Pyramids Tours. Contact Us for more information. You can also combine your visit to Abydos with another nearby temple, such as Dendera or Karnak.
The Temple of Seti I (1,307-1,291 BC)
(The house of millions of years) It is considered to have been built towards the end of Seti’s reign.
Seti I, the second king of the 19th Dynasty, was the son of Ramesses I and Queen Sitre. He reconciled with the Hittites, who were becoming the most powerful state in the region. Seti I and his heir, Ramesses II, campaigned against Kadesh. In Karnak, he completed his father’s plan by converting the court between the second and third towers into a vast hypostyle hall. He built his vast mortuary complex at Abydos.
The renowned structure that stands today is often referred to as the Grand Temple of Abydos. The elevated reliefs in this splendid Temple are among the finest in all of Egypt. This Temple boasts a unique design, resembling an inverted “L.” It also houses the most comprehensive lists of Kings and Gods.
The Temple houses seven sanctuaries dedicated to 7 Gods: Osiris, Isis, Horus, Amon Ra, Ra HorAkhty, Ptah, and Seti I as a deified King. In this Temple, one can find the best-preserved painted reliefs and texts from the 18th Dynasty.
Seven chapels were constructed for the worship of the pharaoh and primary deities. At the rear of the Temple is a mysterious structure known as The Osirion, believed to be associated with the worship of Osiris, and likely from those chambers extended the grand Hypogeum for the celebration of the Osiris mysteries, constructed by Merenptah.
The Temple of Seti I is also gaining a reputation for its unique carvings discovered on one of its ceiling beams.
These engravings have garnered considerable interest in the past due to their striking resemblance to contemporary vehicles. However, it’s been proposed that they might be the result of superimposed hieroglyphs, which, despite their rarity, seem plausible when examining the rest of the beam.
The construction of Seti I’s Temple occurred significantly later than the Osireion :
It’s believed that Seti I was guided to construct at this site and that he adjusted the temple’s direction upon discovering the Osireion. However, the alignment of the two temples suggests that he likely knew about the Osireion’s existence when he initiated the construction of his temple.
The Osireion (Strabo’s Well, The Fountain of Abydoss)
When Seti-I initiated the quest for a site for his Temple, he was guided to a spot north of Luxor in the Nile River’s curve. Here, he started excavating the foundation for his Temple. During this process, he stumbled upon the Osireion, the ancient temple of Osiris. Whether he was aware of the Osireion’s existence remains a mystery, but upon encountering this ancient temple in his new temple’s path, he redirected his new temple to the left. This temple is the only one in Egypt that takes an ‘L’ turn.
The structure has notable architectural disparities from the temple above and is presumed to be considerably older. It bears several resemblances to the ‘Valley Temple’ at Giza, which is also acknowledged as an early-dynasty edifice. Pertaining to this matter, it may be noteworthy that the temple Osireion is consecrated to Osiris, while the ‘Valley temple’ at Giza is linked to Isis.
As of now, we lack any clues regarding the construction date. However, the design, the magnitude of the materials, and the total lack of ornamentation all suggest a very ancient origin. Until now, the so-called Sphinx temple at Gizeh has always been regarded as one of Egypt’s oldest structures. It is contemporaneous with the pyramid of Chefren…
Given its similar composition but much larger materials, the Abydos reservoir exhibits an even more archaic character, and it wouldn’t be surprising if this turned out to be Egypt’s oldest structure.
Who was Dorothy Eady (Omm Sety), and what was her connection to the Abydos Temple?
One of the most fascinating stories about the Abydos Temple is that of Dorothy Eady (1904 – 1981), also recognized as Omm Sety or Om Seti, who was a British custodian of antiques and a folklorist. She served as the guardian of the Abydos Temple of Seti I and worked as a draughtswoman for the Department of Egyptian Antiquities. She gained fame for her conviction that she had been a priestess in ancient Egypt in a past life and for her extensive historical research conducted at Abydos. Her life and contributions have been the focus of numerous articles, TV documentaries, and biographical works.
According to John A. Wilson, the late head of the Oriental Institute and regarded as the “dean of American Egyptology” by his peers, believed that Omm Sety merited recognition as “a responsible scholar.” She served as a resource for contemporary scholarship aiming to comprehend how traditional ancient religious customs have endured into the present day, manifesting as “folk customs” observed by modern Egyptian Copts and Muslims. Unlike others who professed to be reincarnated entities from ancient Egypt, she was accorded respect by Egyptologists. While none publicly endorsed the phenomena she described, none questioned her honesty, and many have utilized her insights on past and present Egypt as credible source material.
Ramesses II Temple
The neighboring temple of Ramesses II, although smaller and simpler in design, boasted a remarkable historical series of scenes on its exterior that celebrated his accomplishments, with the lower parts still intact. The temple’s exterior was adorned with depictions of the Battle of Kadesh. A list of pharaohs, akin to that of Seti I, once stood here; however, the fragments were acquired by the French consul and sold to the British Museum. The top two rows of the list feature the names of the kings, while the third row repeats Ramesses II’s throne name.
What are the opening hours of The Abydos Temple
The opening hours of The Abydos Temple are:
- Daily from 7 AM to 6 PM
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