Seti I Temple in Abydos


Today on the west bank of the Nile there stands the village of Arabat El-Madfurnah, literally <<Arabat the buried>> and the sand has indeed engulfed most of the monuments.

Abydos was the name which the Greeks gave the ancient city of Thinis, cradle of the oldest dynasties and a holy city dedicated to the cult of Osiris, In fact the myth of Osiris which also emanated from the sanctuary at Busiris (the original name of Pa-Uzir means << the dwelling place of Osiris>> attained its most perfect realization here in Abydos both as regards the construction of important monuments and as a centre of pilgrimage (all Egyptians had to make pilgrimage to the temple at least once in a lifetime). The most important relic of the god, his head, was preserved in the sanctuary of Osiris. According to legend the god Seth killed his brother Osiris, Chopped up his body into pieces (thirteen according to some sources, forty-two according to others) and scattered them over the various provinces of Egypt. The goddess Isis, the wife of the dead god, collected all the pieces and placed them in Osireion in Abydos… all the pieces that are apart from the phallus which was swallowed by a fish in Lake Menzaleh near Port Said.


Isis by the force of her love brought her spouse back to life. When he opened his eyes a ray of light was emitted be getting in Isis a son, Horus. The killing of Osiris by his brother Seth is very reminiscent of the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible.


Of this ancient city where all religious Egyptians longed to have a funerary chapel or at least a commemorative stele, and of the sanctuary, there remain today only a few ruins. On the other hand, the palace of Seti I, the Memnonium, famous for its splendid paintings, which was described by Strabonius as an <<admirably constructed palace>> is extremely well preserved. Excavated by Auguste Mariette the palace was originally built to commemorate the pilgrimage of Seti I to Abydos. Although the work was continued by his son Ramses II the palace was never finished.

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