The Abydos Temple Complex is located in Abydos Village, in the modern Egyptian town Al-Balyana, south of Sohag governorate. During ancient Egypt, Abydos was the capital of the eighth Nome. It lies about 11 kilometres west of the Nile River at a latitude of 26° 10′ N.
Location of Abydos Temple complex
Abydos Temple complex lies in the low desert west of the Nile River near Al-Balyanā. It was a necropolis for the earliest Egyptian royalty and later a pilgrimage centre for the worship of Osiris.
From the first dynasty to the 26th dynasty, the ancient Egyptians built nine or ten temples at Abydos. The first was just an enclosure, about 9.1 m × 15.2 m, surrounded by a thin wall of unbaked bricks.
Thutmose III built a far larger temple, about 40 m × 61 m. He also made a processional way leading past the side of the temple to the cemetery beyond, featuring a great gateway of granite.
In the nineteenth dynasty, Seti I founded a temple to the south of the town in honour of the ancestral pharaohs of the early dynasties. Ramses II finished this temple’s construction and built a lesser temple of his own. Pharaoh Merneptah added the Osireion just to the north of the temple of Seti.
During the twenty-sixth dynasty, pharaoh Ahmose II rebuilt the temple again and placed in it a large monolith shrine of red granite, finely wrought. Generally, the foundations of the successive temples comprised approximately 5.5 meters in the depth of the ruins discovered in modern times.
The latest building was a new temple of Nectanebo I, built
in the thirtieth dynasty.
Features of Abydos Temple Complex
The Abydos Temple complex has many features. These features include the following temples:
Temple of Seti I at Abydos
The temple of Seti I, also known as the Great Temple of Abydos, is one of the main historical sites in Abydos. The temple was built by pharaoh Seti I. At the rear of the temple, there is the Osireion.
The place’s primary scientific importance is that its temples have a long list of the pharaohs of the principal dynasties. This carved list covers one of the walls in the temple of Seti I. Archeologists called this list the Abydos King List or the Table of Abydos; William John Bankes rediscovered it.
Ramesses II temple at Abydos
The adjacent temple of Ramesses II was much smaller and more straightforward in the plan. Still, it had an excellent historical series of scenes around the outside that lauded his achievements, of which the lower parts remain. The temple’s exterior was decorated with scenes of the Battle of Kadesh. His list of pharaohs, similar to that of Seti I, formerly stood here; the fragments were removed by the French consul and sold to the British Museum.