Temple at Abydos

Travel to Abydos – Magnificent Temple of Seti I

The necropolis at Abydos, the holiest town of the ancients, was in constant use for an almost unbelievable 4,500 years, from pre-dynastic times through to the coming of Christianity and beyond. Abydos is home to the earliest Pharaonic tombs, the magnificent Temple of Seti, the Temple of Ramses II and the Cenotaph of Osirisis.

Legend dictates that Osiris’s head was buried here once it was cut off by his brother Seth and thus Abydos became centre of an ancient Osiris cult. The city subsequently became the preferred place of burial for some of Egypt’s earliest pharaoh’s and at one time all Egyptians would try to make a pilgrimage here during their lifetime to ensure they passed successfully into the afterlife.

One of Egypt’s most beautiful temples the Temple of Seti I is an unusual L shaped building dedicated to 6 gods including Osiris and Isis. Its bas-reliefs are some of the most beautiful in the country and were added to by Seti’s son, Ramses II who carved into the rock to create cruder sunken reliefs.

The Osireion or Cenotaph to Osiris is surrounded by water and cannot be visited but is thought to be the representative burial chamber of the God. The Temple of Ramses II is smaller and is not so well-preserved as that of his father and follows the more common rectangular layout; colour remains on the carved reliefs and as with many Egyptian buildings must have been impressive when built some 3,300 years ago.

A visit to Abydos will take around 21/2 hours and is best made with a guide who will be able to explain what you see.

Abydos is less visited and you will find few other travellers at the site in all likelihood, but take a walk to a quiet spot for time to admire and reflect on the Temple of Seti, then join the locals in a tea house for a glass of shay.

Abydos lies some 125km north of Luxor and can be reached by taxi, possibly train (depending the local police) or by private transfer with your own driver. Any vehicle must join one of the regular security convoys that ply between the towns in this region. The most convenient way to visit is to arrange a driver and guide and visited on a guided tour.

  • Explore the magnificent Temple of Seti I
  • Fantastic reliefs many still retaining their original colours
  • Intricate carvings demonstrate the skill of ancient artisans


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