Abydos is one of the oldest and most important burial centers in ancient Egypt; it was considered a place for pilgrimage for the ancient Egyptians, as it is associated with the afterlife. The city of Abydos is wrapped in mystery, and there is still a lot of information about it under investigation and a lot of strange things connected to it.
The ancient city of Abydos lays 162 km north of the modern city Luxor , it was called by the ancient Egyptian by Abdu, but the Greeks gave it the current name Abydos; it is located near the village of El-Khriba.
As mentioned earlier, Abydos was a significant burial in ancient Egypt, but it wasn't only a necropolis. It is most known for the mortuary Temple of Seti I, the third pharaoh of the 19th dynasty, the most important Temple in the area; that's why it is called Abydos Temple.
There is also a necropolis that goes back to the 1st and 2nd dynasty; there is a burial for the late Old Kingdom in the North. Tombs from the New Kingdom were also found at the necropolis' southerly part till the late dynastic period.
The Temple of Seti I is the center of Abydos City and the most important Temple on the site. It was built by Seti I, the father of the Great Ramses II of the 19th dynasty. Ramses II and his son Mernptah completed this Temple after Seti I. The Temple is made of limestone and laid on three levels; not much of the Temple remains till our days.
Let me take you on tour around the Temple.
In the inner Temple, you'll find seven sanctuaries for 6 Gods; Osiris, Isis, Horus, Ptah, Re-Harakhte, and Amun; the last sanctuary is for Seti I himself. They are considered seven temples with seven doors, but only one of them is open. Seti I of the 19th dynasty came after the Amarna period in ancient Egypt. He wanted to revive the old worships and arts. That's why he built this Temple in the dedication of Osiris.
The Temple's first courtyard was partially destroyed, but you can see on its walls scenes from Ramses II wars in Asia; the most famous one is the Battle of Kadesh.
Then you'll see the first hypostyle hall in the Temple, which consists of 24 papyrus cluster columns. This hall leads us to the second hypostyle hall that has 36 columns.
In the south wing, you'll find the Gallery of the Kings, where you'll find on its right-hand wall the famous Abydos Pharaoh List; let me tell you more about this list.
This famous list is only one of ten lists found in Egypt, written on it the sequence of the Egyptian King. The list contains 76 Pharaohs, starting from Menes to Seti I, covering over 1,600 years of history.
Seti I intentionally omitted some names from the list, including hatshepsut , Akhenaton, Semerkhet, Tut Ankh Amen , and Ay. Most of them for understandable reasons, as he wanted to remove the Amarna period from history, so he omitted Akhenaton and his son Tut Ankh Amen. He omitted Pharaoh Semerkhet, probably for the "usurping theory" that he wasn't supposed to come to the throne.
As I told you earlier that Abydos is wrapped in mystery and some interesting stories linked to it, let me tell you some of these stories and unsolved mysteries.
Remember that hype that was going on the internet about the hieroglyphs of a helicopter in an Egyptian temple and that the ancient Egyptians were actually aliens?
This hype was over inscriptions in the Temple of Abydos, a famous photo of its walls that included a drawing of a helicopter, airplanes, a submarine, and even some thinks of a UFO. Theories were out then about aliens in ancient Egypt , a modern pseudoscientific myth.
Some believe that the ancient Egyptians were that much of a genius and some say that the Gods showed them how the future would be like. Most Egyptologists disagree with these theories and suggest that the inscriptions were just filled and re-carved, which was a pretty common thing in Ancient Egypt.
One of the most important and most famous parts of Abydos is the Osireion; in the hill of Umm El Qaab, southwest of the Temple of Seti I, there was found the tomb of Osiris. Abydos was the center of the cult of Osiris for that reason, as they believed that the tomb of Osiris is in Abydos or at least his head was buried there.
The Osireion or the tomb of Osiris is probably just a cenotaph of Seti I, the owner of the Temple. The Osireion is an underground chamber connected to the Nile; the thing is, it is not open for the public, and the purpose and date of this tomb is a mystery and still under investigation.
One of the weird stories connected to this Temple is the story of Omm Sety, an English woman who was one of the Temple's last residents. Her name was Dorothy Eady and was called "Omm Sety," she believed she was a reincarnated princess of the Temple and a lover of Seti I.
Eady lived in Abydos for 35 years, and she told the archeologists their information about the workings of the Temple. Eady died in 1981 and was buried in the desert, leaving us with this spooky story.
Regardless of its historical importance and well-preserved painted relief texts found in the Temple, it is still lightly visited. If you are a history fan, I recommend you put this on your list of visits while in Egypt. It is not too far from Luxor, and you can also visit Dendera Temple nearby. It is a visit worth the effort.