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!
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