In present time, Abydos appears as a village in the modern Egyptian town Al-Balyana, south of Sohag governorate. This place was the capital of the eighth Nome during Ancient Egypt. Abydos Village is located about 11 kilometers west of the River Nile at latitude 26° 10′ N.
When we try to discover the history of Abydos village, we certainly will find that it was a place of high importance to the Ancient Egyptian people, and rulers, as well. Interestingly, ancient Egyptian priests woven many legends around this sacred site that it became the most important religious spot during Ancient Egypt. In the same time, the history of this place is as long as the civilization in Egypt.
Indeed, the importance of this place comes from the fact that the early pharaoh used it as the royal necropolis. There is some evidence that the Predynastic times witnessed a community in Abydos. And, that the pharaohs of the first dynasty built their tombs in it. These tombs include the ones for Narmer, and his successor, Aha. Narmer is the founder of the first dynasty. In addition, some pharaohs of the second dynasty chose Abydos as their burial. For its importance as burial, some pharaoh built their tombs in Abydos and their hometown, as well.
During the Ancient Egyptian times, the city was the cult center of God Osiris. It is notable for its temples as pharaohs built nine or ten temples in this place. Nowadays, the three remaining temples are the Temple of Seti I, the Great Osiris Temple and the Ramses II Temple. We believe that the rest of temples are still buried under the modern village; while the others cannot be retrieved.
Recently, we can notice that the importance of the place comes from the number of the monuments it has. Tourists visit this amazing place to see its temples and listen for the overwhelming legends surrounding its sacristy.
Features of the Abydos Complex
The Abydos Temple complex has many features in it. These features include the following:
- Temple of Seti I
- Temple of Ramses II
- Great Osiris Temple
- Also, The Osireion
There is a major scientific importance of the place as it has a long list of the pharaohs of the principal dynasties. The ancient Egyptian artists curved this list on one of the walls in the temple of Seti I. Recently, we call it the “Abydos King List” or “the Table of Abydos”; and was rediscovered by William John Bankes.