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Abydos

Abydos

Abydos or Abidos is situated 45 km (29 mi) Southwest of Sohag, Sohag Governorate in Egypt. It was known in the ancient times as Tha Shard or "The Great Land". For centuries it was one of the most important and largest religious and cultural center of the Ancient Egypt.

 

 

Location: 45 km (29 mi) Southwest of Sohag, Sohag Governorate   Map

 

 

 

Description of Abydos Archaeological Site

Abydos was a site of cult of god Osiris, a lord of the underworld. Thousands of pilgrims from Egypt and beyond tried to make their way into Abydos to leave an offering. Unlike monotheistic religions that we know today, ancient pagan cults was not centered so much on a person himself or herself, but on the actions and gifts he or she can deliver. In fact Egyptians had interesting prayers in the Book of the Dead that begged their hearts not to betray them then they will on their final judgment. Lying and cheating your way into Heaven was a normal religious practice.

 

One of the most impressive temples of Abydos was constructed by Pharaoh Seti I from the XIX Dynasty. It was dedicated to the seven great deities of Egypt. The central sanctuary of the temple was dedicated to Amun- Ra. Just to the right of this sanctuary is another sanctuary devoted to the triad of deities: god Osiris himself, his wife Isis (fertility goddess) and their son Horus. To the left of the central sanctuary was a sanctuary devoted to Sun God Ra- Horahte and "lord of crafts" Ptah. This seventh and last sanctuary was intended for funeral cult of the pharaoh Seti himself. Additionally pious pharaoh did not forget to mention 76 names of his ancestors that were supposed to be remembered in the after life beginning with king Menes, the founder of the dynasty. Egyptians put a huge emphasis on remembering the name of the dead ones. In fact the worst punishment you can inflict on your enemy is erasing his name. You can find this kind of barbarism in many different sites all around the Egypt.

Abydos  Abydos  Abydos

During times of festivities numerous ships, boats and papyrus rafts made their way from the Nile River through a spacious channel into the heart of Abydos. Once people set their foot in the harbor they were greeted by musicians, flowers girls and priests who stood at the top of the long double staircase that led to the temple. Two copper covered doors were opened and pilgrims could see the first courtyard. In the center of the courtyard stood two round stone water tanks with a diameter of 10 feet. Pious travelers would wash themselves before praying. The South side of the courtyard opened into a monumental passage that led to the Audience Hall surrounded by columns. It was intended for pharaoh and noble pilgrims.

 

The second courtyard of the temple covered an area of six hundred square meters. In the western part of the courtyard is a small platform on which there are twelve square pillars, the height of about eight meters, supporting the roof portico. Surface of the pillars and the wall behind them were adorned with beautiful reliefs added here during the reign of pharaoh Ramses II.

Abydos  Abydos  Abydos  Abydos

Through the door in the portico called the Passage of Gloomy you get to the first pillared hall of the temple. Twenty-four columns mimic the closed buds of the papyrus. The ceiling is covered with images of the goddess Nehbet that prostrates her wings, as if protecting a sacred place. On massive blocks of the architrave are written the names of the Seti, and his son Ramses. Penetrating through the square holes in the ceiling, the sun's rays illuminate the ghostly famous reliefs of very fine work, covering every inch of the walls. Almost all of the reliefs preserved their native vivid color and are considered to be unsurpassed masterpieces of ancient Egyptian art.

 

On the reliefs of Amon-Ra, his consort Mut, a solar-Ra and the goddess of love Horahte Hathor greeted the king and graciously accept his gift, a sacred leaf, fragrant oils, lotus flowers and milk. Pharaoh Seti is greeted as equal by god Ptah, lord of Memphis and his formidable wife - lion-headed Sekhmet. The god Khnum, depicted in one wall of the Hall of Columns, using a potter's wheel creates the physical body of the pharaoh. The goddess Isis cuddle born into the world of the royal infant, gently touching the tip of his chin with his fingers. A little further four incarnations of the goddess Hathor.

 

Seven doorways open in the second pillared hall. Again, the columns in the form of papyrus buds support the ceiling. Floor level slowly rises. Central place in the relief image is occupied by the royal coronations by deities themselves. Here pharaoh Seti on his knees gets the royal scepter and sword Hepesh, a symbol of a victorious war, from the hands of the gods and goddesses of the Nile Valley, that give king "millions of years of the reign".

 

For the sanctuary of the god Osiris, unlike other Egyptian temples, at Abydos there were special facilities for the commission of the mysterious ceremonies which the Greeks called "mysteries". According to the inscriptions on some of the pillars in this temple, current religious complex was erected on the ruins of their more ancient sanctuary. It might be merely a bluff to impress his subjects or a real building. There were no attempts to find the validity behind this claim. This region certainly had a special religious place for Egyptians. In the west, behind the temple of Seti I, once a hidden tree-lined hill, had a sacred underground tomb, often called "Osiriyonom" or "Osireion", where according to ancient Egyptian legend, the goddess Isis buried the head of Osiris, god of the desert killed Seth and resurrected to a new and eternal life.

 

Despite centuries Abydos impresses with its mysterious and gloomy atmosphere. If in Karnak you met an animated history the way Egyptians saw it, here in Abydos you will met a more spiritual side of the Egyptian society.

Osireion

Osireion

Abydos                                                                                      Abydos

Probably the most famous carving in Abydos that according to some depicts a helicopter, a plane and a submarine or a tank. Although it might be long stretch of imagination this type of symbols have not been found anywhere else in the country. Furthermore they don't look like anything that was previously found on Egyptian sites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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