Abydos
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Ron S
New York City, NY5,705 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
The Temple of Seti I is located in Abydos which is 1.5 hours from Sohag. It's very well preserved. The most famous attractions there are the Abydos Pharaoh List and the Helicopter Hieroglyphs. The former is not hard to locate, it's on the wall of a narrow corridor to the left of the second Hypostyle Hall. The Helicopter stone is part of the ceiling in the first Hypostyle Hall. You have to ask an attendant to point you in the right direction (I was assisted by a friendly young policeman in finding it). And of course the bas-reliefs and paintings in the sanctuaries are magnificent.
Written November 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EmilHaarlem
Haarlem, The Netherlands197 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023 • Couples
It takes a time from Luxor to visit Abydos.But what a treat this is where it started.The best day to go is on a Friday.There is no market and less traffic.So we made it in 2.15 hours from Luxor.That will save a lot of time…
Take your time to see all Abydos highlights.Beautiful high colored carvings.Strange hieroglyphs and much more to explore.Seti the 1 and Ramses 2 and 3 will welcome you.
Written January 16, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

taffymhd1968
Haworth, UK1,362 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Friends
Most people visit Abydos as a day trip from Luxor, usually in conjunction with Dendera. We decided to do both over two days. We left Luxor at 7am and got to the temple at 9:45am and we paid 500LE for twom of us by air conditioned taxi around £42!

The site of Abydos is huge, and includes a number of ruins and mounds around the edge of the desert. Most visitors, however, stick to the grand Temple of Seti I because of time but we managed to see The Temple complex, Osireion and Ramses II temple ruins in around three hours.

Entry was easy through the small ticket office and of course the usual hawkers and there were a couple of cafes nearby and some good quality toilets. Entry is 40LE (£3.44) 20LE Students (correct as of Sept 2014)

The Temple of Seti I has an unusual L-shaped layout and multiple sanctuaries, but otherwise incorporates the elements common to Egyptian temples. Entrance is on the north side, where the pylon and forecourt are mostly destroyed but still contain some partial reliefs (such as Ramses II defeating enemies at Qadesh, on the left side of the forecourt).

Stairs lead from the forecourt to the upper second court, where damaged statues are displayed. Overlooking the second court is a facade with square pillars covered with reliefs of Ramses II greeting Osiris, Isis and Horus. The upper part of the facade has been rebuilt in concrete.

The Outer Hypostyle Hall contains sunk-reliefs completed by Ramses II after Seti's death. They are not very impressive, suggesting that Ramses redeployed Seti's best craftsmen to work on his own temple, the Ramesseum. On the entrance wall, Ramses measures the temple with the goddess Selket and presents it to Horus. On the right wall, Ramses offers a falcon-headed box of papyrus to Isis, Horus and Osiris and is led to the temple by Horus and the jackal-headed Wepwawet to be anointed with holy water (represented by interlinked ankhs).

One of the roof lintels in the Outer Hypostyle Hall bears a cartouche that has become famous for including the so-called "Abydos helicopter." Internet theorists hold that the ancient engraving shows a helicopter and submarine; however, i believe like most Egyptologist that the unusual shape is as a result from erosion and the layering of one cartouche over another, So no Aliens here!

The Inner Hypostyle Hall, made of sandstone on the east and west sides and limestone on the north and south, was the last part to be decorated before Seti's death. Some sections remain incomplete, but the reliefs that were finished are excellent. On the right wall, Osiris and Horus prou holy water from garlanded vases over Seti, who makes offerings before the shrine of Osiris. Osiris is attended by Maat and Ronpet (goddess of the year) in front and Isis, Amentet (goddess of the west) and Nephthys in back. Seti's profile bears a close likeness to his mummy, which is on display in the Cairo Antiquities Museum.

The reliefs on the back wall are still brightly colored, and show Seti being anointed and crowned by the gods. An especially notable section is high on the left, between the sanctuaries of Ptah and Re-Herakhte, with Seti kneeling before Osiris and Horus with the sacred persea tree in the background. Two projecting piers on the side walls near the back of the hall show Seti worshipping the Djed column while wearing the combined crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Behind the Inner Hypostyle Hall are seven sanctuaries, which contain the best reliefs in the temple. From left, the small sanctuaries are dedicated to Seti I, Ptah, Re-Herakhte, Amun, Osiris, Isis and Horus. Each one is roofed with false vaults carved from rectangular slabs and end in false doors (except for Osiris' sanctuary, which has a real door to his inner sanctuaries).

The reliefs in the Sanctuary of Seti emphasize the pharaoh's recognition by the gods, who are shown leading him into the temple and ceremonially uniting the Two Lands (Upper and Lower Egypt) along the northern wall. Near the back of the left wall, Seti receives a list of offerings from Thoth and leopardskin-wearing High Priest Iunmutef. Seti is lastly shown leaving the temple on a palanquin borne by jackal-headed (from Upper Egypt) and hawk-headed (from Lower Egypt) deities.

Behind the seven sanctuaries are the inner sanctuaries of Osiris, with three side chapels dedicated to Isis, Seti and Horus respectively. The reliefs in these chapels retain much of their bright colors, but have been blackened by mold in the last few decades.

The portal nearest Seti's sanctuary leads into the columned Hall of Sokar and Nerfertum (deities of the north representing the cycle of death and rebirth, who were integrated into the cult of Osiris) in the southern wing of the temple. Reliefs include Seti receiving Sokar (with hawk's head) and Nefertum (in human and lion form, crowned with a lotus blossom). In the Chapel of Sokar, Osiris returns to life grasping his phallus, while Isis hovers over him in the form of a hawk on the opposite wall. The Chapel of Nerfertum requires a flashlight to see anything in.

Another portal a little further from Seti's sanctuary leads into the Gallery of Kings, named for the list of Seti's predecessors carved into the right wall. Hatshepsut and Akhenaten (with his heirs) are omitted from the list in accordance with custom, and Seti's own name is listed as Menmare Osiris-Merneptah instead of Menmare Seti-Merneptah in order to distance himself from Seth (a.k.a. Seti), the enemy of Osiris. Seti and Ramses II are depicted facing the list, which has proved very useful to archaeologists and historians.

From the Gallery of Kings, a side corridor leads past a relief of Seti and Ramses harnessing a bull and running to greet Wepwawet. From here, a rear door leads behind the temple to the Osireion, the cenotaph or "dummy tomb" of Seti I. Osireions did not contain pharaohs' mummies but were intended to promote a close association between the pharaoh's ka and Osiris.

Seti's is the only one of these now visible, but it is still half-buried and partly inaccessible by stagnant water. The Osireion is made of massive blocks and encloses a room that once contained a mound surrounded by a moat, symbolizing the primal mound that arose from the waters of Chaos at the dawn of Creation, and an empty sarcophagus.

About 300m northwest of the Temple of Seti I is the ruined Temple of Ramses II. Fragments of reliefs showing the Battle of Qadesh survive on the enclosure walls and pillared courtyard.
Written October 10, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BenAlofs
Bangor24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2013 • Couples
Abydos offers quite an outstanding experience. The temple of Seti I is a magical place with the most beautiful bas reliefs I have seen anywhere in Egypt. There are many more monuments. like the enigmatic Oseirion, or the temple of Ramesses II, also with beautiful bas reliefs. Then there are the massive and extremely ancient brick walls of Shunet el Zebib, rising like a dark monolith from the desert sands. These brick walls were already ancient in the time of Ramesses II.
We walked through the desert sands nearby and every where around us there were fragments of pottery and bone. This is the massive necropolis of Abydos, THE place where the ancient Egyptians wanted to buried, because Abydos was the centre of the cult of Osiris.
What made me write this review today was the news in the Guardian newspaper in the UK that archaeologists of the University of Pensylvania have this month (Jan 2014) unearthed the remains of a forgotten pharaoh, called Senebkay. It appears that a whole dynasty of pharaohs is buried in the desert sands of Abydos, a sort of Valley of the Kings. This carries the promise of more exciting finds in the future.
Walking in the desert of Abydos and spending a whole day in quiet reflection in the temple of Seti I was a very special experience.
Unfortunately most people only spend a few hours in Abydos, while on a day trip from Luxor. This is far too short. Abydos warrants much more time.
In the past it was difficult, because there was no hotel in Abydos. But the need for accomodaton in Abydos has now been addressed. My wife and I stayed in Hotel House of Life, literally a stone's throw from the Temple of Seti. It is the first hotel/guest house in Abydos and offers excellent and affordable accommodation. It is jointly run by a local Egyptian man Horus and his Dutch associate Yvon/Aset. They have a special interest in ancient Egyptian healing. Worth while looking into, if you are interested.
Abydos is a quiet agricultural village with friendly and hospitable people. After the day tourists were gone we had the whole temple of Seti to ourselves.
We used Abydos also as a base to go and visit the fascinating temple of Hathor, which is amongst the most well preserved in Egypt.
My advice is: stay a night or several days in Abydos. After the hustle and bustle of Cairo and Luxor this is a beautiful, quiet place. And in Egyptology this is where things are happening at the moment. The discovery of the forgotten pharaoh Senebkay is very exciting. More pharaoh's and royal tombs will surely be appearing from the desert sands!
Written January 23, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Neseret
Northampton, UK48 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2012 • Business
I have been to the Temple of Seti I for most of my various trips to Egypt, and it never fails to impress. Off the beaten tourist lanes, you normally will have to either book a driver from Luxor, via the travel agencies which run up and down the Corniche el Nil, or if you are VERY adventurous, work out a deal with one of the local Luxor taxi drivers. Expect to pay - depending upon the form of transports (taxi/air-conditioned van/ etc) about £30 - £45 for a round trip - amazingly good price, as prices haven't risen all that much over 20+ years. The Temple of Seti I at Abydos is about 200 Km north of Luxor, so we are talkiing about a 3-4 hour trip in a good cab, so make your plans carefully, for while they will stop for a drink/toilet break en route, if the taxi is uncomfortable, it can be a miserable trip.

Once there, you will find the ticket booth just in front of the temple, next to a hollow, which once represented the sacred pool associated with the temple in ancient times. This area now has a cafe within, but it's hit and miss whether it will be open, as I've found over several different trips. If you are hungry, there are small outside cafes nearby which can service you bread and cheese for a decent price. El-Balyana - the actual name of the nearby town - doesn't get that much in terms of tourism, so you won't find the big buildup of tourist trap shops there, which can make it enjoyable on one hand - far less haggling from vendors, but, on the other hand, also a bit of a let down, as you will get probably no more in terms of souvenirs of your visit than tourist postcards from the cafe in the hollow, or from the ubiquitous numbers of children haggling you to buy their cards and/or small booklets.

Seti I created this temple as part of his mortuary cult (he also has a mortuary temple in Gurna on the West Bank in Luxor), but the temple is unique in that it is a temple honouring 9 deities within (Osiris, isis and Horus (the holy triad of Abydos), as well as Amun-Ra, Ra-Horkahty, and Ptah (the "universal" gods of Egypt), and the chthonic (underworld) gods of Ptah -Sokar and Nefertem, and last, though by no means least, the deified Seti I himself). As most temples honour only holy triad groups (a god and his family), this makes the Seti I temple - along with Abus Simbel - one of the most unique temples in honouring such a large number of deities.

The areas from the back of the temple through to the six front chapels and the Second Hypostyle Hall were created and decorated during Seti I's reign, as well as the Gallery of Kings, which runs in front of the Ptah-Sokar and Nefertem Complex. The elevated portico in the Second Hypostyle Hall is substantial, over 50 m wide and approximately 5 m deep, and stands 55cm above the Second Hypostyle Hall floor level. The Hall contains on its west side seven entrances to the chapels beyond. The spaces between six of the seven doorways along the eastern and western walls are decorated with reliefs of the king, Seti I, interacting with the deities of the chapel sanctuaries. Similar scenes of worship are located in niches depressed into the western walls, divided into three sections, between the chapels’ entrances.

It has been suggested that the Second Hypostyle Hall was one of the last areas to have been decorated during Seti I’s reign, with the planned decoration of the hall being completed from west to east. It is surmised that due to Seti’s death during the decoration of the temple, only the western area was completely carved and painted; this area is comprised of the Osiris Complex, the seven chapels (specifically the chapels of Amun-Re and Osiris), the western wall with niches and part of the North wall (western end). Meanwhile the remainder of the hall show evidence of completed raised-relief

The Second Hypostyle Hall has decorated reliefs on all four walls, representing the king in ritual interaction with the deities of the chapels in the western section of the temple, other associated deities, and further auxiliary deities not otherwise connected to the deities of the six chapels. Two rows of twelve columns each, with papyrus bud capitals, fill the space of the hall floor. Seven ramps lead from the seven east entrances, rising gently to an elevated portico approximately 55 cm above the base floor level, with a third row of twelve columns. Of these ramps, the central one, leading to the sanctuary of Amun-Re, is wider than the other six and has steps carved into its surface.

The chapels beyond the terrace average a depth of 10.65 m, with four of the chapels (Seti I, Ptah, Amun-Re, and Osiris) showing a depth of 10.60 m, the chapels of Re-Harakhty and Horus a depth of 10.70 m, and the chapel of Isis, the deepest of the chapels, with a depth of 10.80 m). Here stands seven rooms, which serve as sanctums for six deities – three are assigned to the universal gods of Egypt (Ptah, Re-Horakhty, and Amun-Re), and the remaining three sanctuaries are allotted to the regional god of Abydos, Osiris, and his family, Isis and Horus. The southernmost chapel is allocated to Seti I in his deified state, and serves as a part of his royal cult, a “House of Millions of Years."

Within each of the deity chapels is portrayed along the walls a series of actions and statements, which have come, over the course of Egyptian study, to be known as the “Daily Ritual,” which was performed for every deity in his or her temple in Egypt. The temple of Seti I at Abydos represents the earliest portrayal of the Daily Ritual, and is complete in its representation the majority of the six deity chapels.

The Daily Ritual, within the temple of Seti I, is basically a ritual toilet for each god, who is thought to be born anew each morning, similar to belief concerning the sun-god Re. As such, the ritual concerned itself with
- approaching the deity, via entry and unloosening of the shrine’s bolts
- exposing the deity to the ritual officiant, who worships the deity, as well as other attendant deities/genii;
- purifying, with natron, water and fire, clothing and jewellery, which is presented to the deity;
- performance of ritual purification of the deity and his/her shrine, and preparing the deity for his toilet;
- enrobing the deity with aforementioned clothing and jewellery, as well as cosmetics and unguents, and
- exiting the sanctuary after the rite’s completion, with purification of the officiant as the culminating act.

The remaining sections of the temple, which include the First Hypostyle Hall, the Barque and Butcher |Rooms, teh Treasury and the hallway leading to the Osireion (more on this below) were decorated during the reign of Seti I's son, Ramses II (The Great), and the workmanship is, saqdly of a more crude quality.

The so-called "Abydos Helicopter/Jet/Submarine" imagery, found in the First Hypostyle Hall, one of the Ramses II sections of the temple, is often pointed out by some scurrilous tourist guides as "evidence" of Egyptian technical advancements; this is a scam of the first order. What these images represent is an erasure of one of Seti I's "Two Ladies" (Nebty) name and another inscription laid in (with gypsum plaster) of another Nebty name for this king. Over the years, this gypsum has fallen away in some places along the name, and the subsequent two images of the glyphs (when looked at from the ground) only _appear_ to look like a jet plane, helicopter, and submarine. Egyptologists and other scholars call these forms of erasure, where the former and the new inscriptions can be seen together, "palimpsests."

Before you go, I would suggest gettinhg a decent guidebook to the temple in order to apprecaite it even more. One of the best works to read about the Temple of Seti I at Abydos, in order to understand the meaning of these beautiful reliefs and painting would be

Edwin Brock. 2002. The Temples of Abydos. (An Illustrated Guide) Palm Press: Cairo.

You can find this - at times 0- being hawked by the kids at the temple, but a betetr bet would be to pop down to the Abouti (Gaddis) Bookshop on the Corniche el Nil in Luxor and pick up a copy there. The prices are fixed, so you can determine for yourself if it's a good guide before buying it.
Written January 9, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bobinathens
Nokomis, FL1,380 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2013 • Couples
If you do not visit Abydos you will miss the greatest collection of perfect reliefs I have seen anywhere in my three trips to Egypt. The best are in the 2nd hypostyle hall in the Temple of Seti. What taste that man had to find the artists who created this marvel. The reliefs glow with a gentleness and warmth not usually associated with Egyptian reliefs. Many are deeply moving representations of the relationship between pharaoh and the gods. This is fitting since this temple is the most important of all the shrines to Osiris. The temple is roofed over and dark, but the many reliefs are beautifully side lit. A short walk away are some other sites worth a visit.
Abydos is about two hours from Luxor by car. Midway between the two is Dendara, also not to be missed. It is almost totally and perfectly preserved, even to the heavy stones that roof it and make it the most mysteriously evocative of the Egyptian temples.
The combination of Abydos and Dendara is essential if you want to feel the power of Egyptian religious structures.
We did the trip to both Abydos and Dendara in one day, leaving Luxor about 8am, spending a few hours at Abydos before heading south again with an hour at Dendara and arriving back in Aswan by late afternoon. We determined the schedule. A tea break at a roadside shop at Abydos was our lunch. I don’t know if there are other places to eat there. In 2013 we arranged a car and driver for 400 Egyptian pounds, at that time about $70. I’ll be happy to send the name of the man who arranged this for us. Most hotels charge quite a bit more for such a trip. The best road is on the west bank through the desert and some small towns, a part of Egypt most travelers don’t get to see. There are great photo ops.
Written March 13, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MONKEYBUZZ
San Diego, CA830 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019 • Friends
Located 3 hours by car from Luxor. This unassuming temple will blow your mind in more ways than one. The colors, the carvings plus something that will blow your mind written in hieroglyphics (won't ruin it for you) it is worth the visit. Not crowded, ticket $100 Egyptian pounds (cash only) and no photo ticket needed. Only photos allowed but no flash or video. Built to honor God Osiris by Seti I and then his son Ramses II included himself in the carvings. Wow!
Written April 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Morphous
Hurghada, Egypt12 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018 • Solo
Got the early morning bus from Hurghada, OK and arrived in Qena at 11:30 and walked to railway station 200mts away over the little bridge. The train arrived on time and you pay the conductor on the train its self. The midday train is a deluxe standard which was OK and it was clean and tidy and confortable seat,s.
The travel time to Al Balyana is approx 100min,s with the train stopping at Dishna, Naga Hammady, Farshot and Abutesh then Al Balyana. I found all the stations to be clean and very good by Egyptain Standards. The train arrived on time at 13:40. I walk outside to be confronted by loads of them mini – taxis and so agreed a price of 50le to take me Abydos Temple. They all know, where you are going but first you have to report to the police check point and tell them of your plan,s. The police were all very polite.
I, arrived at Abydos Temple, check point and the policeman suggested Mr Amira guesthouse which a found easy because he owns a shop,opposite the site.
All very good, the arrival time was 14:05.

Hotel,s Abydos Site.

The first and best hotel is the “House of Life” , which has two parts one is the actual hotel which looks fantastic and the other looks like apartment,s.This is a very nice hotel and well worth a visit, only 30mts of the Abydos gate entrance.
The Abydos Hotel is also very close and next to the House of Life, hotel.
I was traveling solo, and hence the policeman suggested “Mr Amira” guesthouse which is opposite the second temple at Abydos. The guesthouse was clean and tidy and each room had three beds inside with toilet and shower and a living room with table and chairs. Just wanted a one night stay and was carrying my own food. Ideal place for a solo man.
The owner, Mr Amira, is very nice gentleman and inside he as lots of gift,s and books about Abydos Temple.
Written December 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ATraveller363
Hampshire, UK169 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Solo
For enthusiasts of Dynastic Egyptology then it all starts here. The magnificent Temple of Seti I is probably what most people will see, along with the Osireron it is the modern tour guides staple but there is so much more to this site and surrounding areas. Khasekhemwy's (end of 2nd Dynasty) mud brick tomb can be visited and beyond that towards the high desert are earlier tombs of the first Dynasty - they are closed, covered and in the distance. Maybe Narmer / Menes and even earlier Kings may reside here. A hugely important site for Dynastic Kings'
Written May 30, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Constantinos2014
Nea Smirni, Greece105 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2019 • Friends
The temple of Seti I is amazing. It is large and well preserved, while its painted reliefs is of very high quality. These qualities make it one of the most interesting temples that you can visit in Egypt. After the temple of Seti I you can also visit the nearby Osireion and the temple of Ramsis II. Abydos is usually combined with the beautiful temple of Hathor in Dendera, in the framework of a day trip from Luxor. Keep in mind that the journey Luxor - Abydos takes about four hours (one way), while the driving conditions in the East Bank are just terrible. The road of the West Bank is excellent, but for safety reasons the tourists usually are not allowed to use it (although we were allowed to use it for the leg of the trip Abydos-Dendera). Around 900-1.000 EP (in 2019) would be a reasonable price for a go and return trip, with plenty of time in Abydos and Dendera.
Written April 12, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Abydos, Sohag

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