The Temple of Abydos in Egypt

 


 

 

 


 


 

As Muslims endeavour to visit Mecca once in their lifetime and Hindus aspire to die at Benares, the Ancient Egyptians devoutly wished t make a pilgrimage to ABYDOS ( pronounced “Abi-dos”), cult centre of the god Osiris and is located about 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) west of the Nile in Upper Egypt.
 
Abydos is situated about 130km (80 miles) north of Luxor. For nearly 2,000 years Abydos was Egypt’s prime burial ground, as it marked the entrance to the underworld and is where Osiris’s head was buried. The city was called Abdju in the ancient Egyptian language, meaning "the hill of the symbol or reliquary", a reference to a reliquary in which the sacred head of Osiris was preserved.
 
As Muslims endeavour to visit Mecca once in their lifetime and Hindus aspire to die at Benares, the Ancient Egyptians devoutly wished t make a pilgrimage to ABYDOS ( pronounced “Abi-dos”), cult centre of the god Osiris. Those who failed to make it hoped to do so posthumously; relatives brought bodies for burial , or embellished distant tombs with scenes of the journey to Abydos ( represented by a boat under sail, travelling upriver). Egyptians averred that the dead “went west” for the entrance to the underworld was believed to lie amid the desert hills beyond Abydos. By bringing other deities into the Osirian fold, Abydos acquired a near monopoly on death cults, which persisted into Ptolemaic times. Its superbly carved Temple of Seti I has been a tourist attraction since the 1830s, and many rate its artwork as the finest in Egypt.
 
The 14th century BC Temple of Seti is one of Egypt’s finest monuments, with exquisite decoration, but the façade was finished less carefully by Seti’s son, Ramses II, who also built a smaller temple here. It is the exquisite quality of its bas-reliefs that distinguishes Abydos’ Temple of Seti I (daily 8am -5pm).
The reliefs are among the finest works of the New Kingdom, harking back to Old Kingdom forms in an artistic revival that mirrored Seti’s political efforts to consolidate the XIX Dynasty and recover territories lost under Akhenaten.
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