Abydos Temple
Abydos - Egyluxortours


Exploring the Ancient Marvel of Abydos.

Abydos is The cult temple of Seti I, which is the largest of the extant Abydos temples. It was built of limestone and sandstone blocks to an unusual L-shaped plan, and it has seven sanctuaries instead of the usual one (or three).

This temple was built in Dynasty XIX by Seti 1, the decoration of the courtyards, and the first hypostyle hall was completed by his son Ramses II. The temple is entered through the now ruined first pylon which would have fronted a quay linking the temple with the Nile River to the east.

A courtyard with battle scenes of Rameses II on the remaining walls and two ‘wells’ or ablution tanks for the ritual purification of the priests can be seen. The niches once contained Osired statues of Rameses Il on the walls of the portico.

The second pylon, hardly bigger than the first was fronted by a portico depicting some of the children of the king. The second courtyard was also decorated by Rameses II. It has a doorway in its southwest corner which gives access to a complex of administration buildings and magazines.

It includes an audience hall with a dais for the king’s throne which took up space in the long arm of the L-shape. Near the entrance to these buildings, a stela of Rameses II offering to Ptah is set up. Also in the second courtyard is a statue of a king sitting in a shrine.

Cult of Osiris and Pilgrimage Center

Abydos transitioned into a focal point for the cult of Osiris during the 5th dynasty. The city became a pilgrimage destination for devout Egyptians seeking burial in proximity to Osiris’s tomb. Thousands of stelae bearing inscriptions were erected in Abydos by those unable to afford burial there, showcasing the city’s religious significance.

Temple Construction and Evolution

Pharaohs enhanced and enlarged the temple of Osiris at Abydos over centuries. Notable rulers like Pepi I, Ahmose I, Thutmose III, Ramses III, and Ahmose II contributed to its reconstruction. The temple complex featured multiple sanctuaries dedicated to pharaohs and the principal gods of Egypt. Seti I’s temple at Abydos is renowned for its unique design with seven sanctuaries and delicate reliefs depicting offerings to past kings.

  • Abydos Temple Description

    Historical Significance and Discovery

  • The entrance to the outer hypostyle hall is through a central doorway with square columns, it is decorated with scenes of Rameses II offering to various gods.

In the time of Seti I there were seven doorways through the facade, each having a professional way from the court to seven chapels. Rameses filled in these doorways leaving only the central main entrance a smaller doorway at the north end of the portico.

  • The outer hypostyle was decorated by Rameses after the death of his father, while the reliefs are not as delicate as those of Seti I.

They are finer than those in some of his later temples. This hall boasts 24 papyrus columns each showing Rameses in the presence of the god of the shrine at the end of the aisle.

  • 7 doorways lead into the second hypostyle hall which serves as a vestibule for the seven cult chapels. This hall was decorated in the reign of Seti I. It has 36 pillars on its walls. There are beautiful reliefs of the king worshipping and performing rituals before various deities.

On a raised platform to the west, the chapels from left to right are dedicated to the deified Seti I, Ptah, Re-Horakhty, Amun-Re, Osiris, Isis, and Horus.

  • The sacred barks of each god would have been housed in these chapels and the scenes they contain depict fascinating accounts of the rituals associated with the

festivals of each deity. The chapel of Seti I differs in its reliefs which show the king’s sovereignty being endorsed by the gods. 

  • The ceilings are vaulted and six of the chapels have a false door carved on the western wall. The Osiris chapel, however, has instead a doorway that leads to a suite of
    rooms behind.
  • The chambers at the back of the temple are dedicated to the cult of Osiris. The first Osiris hall with its 10 columns. It has exquisite colorful reliefs depicting the king offering to Osiris and enacting various rituals to the god.
    The three chambers to the right are sanctuaries dedicated to Horus, Seti 1, and Isis.
  • Behind these chambers is a secret room that appears to have no entrance but is thought to have been a crypt where the most sacred temple treasures were stored. This interesting ‘blind room’ is now open to the sky, and can be seen from the roof of the temple (with permission).
  • On the other side of the main Osiris, the second hall contains 4 pillars with niches around its walls and three chapels to the south. The decoration is very poor in this hall, but it is thought to have contained reliefs of mysteries of the resurrection of Osiris.
  • Perhaps an astronomical ceiling. Back in the second hypostyle hall, there are two doorways in the south wall of the Memphite triad and the northern counterpart to Osiris. There are particularly interesting reliefs of a hawk-headed depiction of Sokar and, both a human and lion-headed Nefertem crowned with the lotus blossom.

The boat shrines for these gods are at the western end of the hall.

  • The other doorway in the second hypostyle hall leads into a corridor called the ‘Gallery of Lists‘ in which Seti 1 and his son Rameses offer a list of cartouches of 76 kings. Seti holds a censor while Rameses reads from a papyrus scroll, the cartouches begin with King Menes of Dynasty 1 and end with Seti I.

They are carefully selected to be those whom the king considered his legitimate ancestors. Some of the rulers omitted include Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Smenkhare, Tutankhamun, and Ay.

  • Halfway along this gallery, a doorway leads to a passage by which visitors can leave the temple via a staircase to reach the Osirion. Reliefs on the walls of the corridor date to the reign of Rameses II who is shown with his young son Prince Amenhirkhopshef roping a bull. Catching wildfowl in a clap net, and dragging the bark of Sokar.

Kings list in Abydos temple

Beyond the king, the list is other chambers, a ‘hall of barks’ and a “hall of butchers” with magazines and storerooms leading off to the rear. There is also an entrance out into the administrative area.

Enjoy a wonderful spiritual tour of the Abydos and Dendera temples from Luxor.

Egy Luxor Tours Trip Advisor.

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