Abydos – One Of The Oldest Sacred Ancient Cities Discovered

Abydos is one of the oldest cities ever discovered, not only in Ancient Egypt but in the entire world. It’s also considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites ever discovered. It was an ancient sacred city located in Upper Egypt, approximately 300 miles south of modern day Cairo, the Egyptian capital.

Tempel of Pharaoh Seti I, Abydos

Tempel of Pharaoh Seti I, Abydos near Luxor.

To date, Abydos is one of the oldest ancient cities ever discovered in Egypt, and many archaeologists and historians also consider it to be one of the most important archaeological sites ever discovered.

Most of the old city now lies buried beneath modern high rise building, and as such, any and all artifacts contained within the ancient temples and monuments are probably lost. Fortunately however, there is still a great deal to see at the present site, with the infamous Temple of Seti I being the most popular and most fascinating attraction.

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A Brief History Of Abydos

Many guide books state that the sacred city of Abydos was founded during the time of the 1st dynasty pharaohs, although this is not entirely accurate. Most historians believe that the city was originally founded by predynastic rulers, and then continuously added to by many of the pharaohs between the 1st and 13th dynasties. The cemetery was used throughout this period and records show that all the 1st dynasty pharaohs, as well as some of the 2nd dynasty pharaohs were buried at Abydos.

It is believed that Abydos served as a cult center ever since the city was first founded, and today it is clear that by the end of the Old Kingdom period, Abydos was primarily a center for the Osiris and Isis cult. Paintings and scrolls found in tombs throughout Egypt reveal that making the pilgrimage to Abydos was seen as being a noble thing to do and an accomplishment to be incredibly proud of.

The Temple Of Seti I

The Temple of Seti I is also often referred to as the Great Temple of Abydos, largely because it is the most imposing structure at the site. It is also extremely well preserved, which makes it appear even more impressive. Inside the temple visitors can see a wonderful collection of paintings, and also a comprehensive list of the names of almost all the pharaohs that ruled Egypt.

The names which are carved into a giant stone slab is a very accurate account of the various pharaohs, and also an incredibly rare find. In fact, archeologists were so impressed by its discovery that it is today often called the Rosetta Stone of Egyptian Mythology. Interestingly, the list of names excludes the names of certain pharaohs who were deemed to have been bad pharaohs. The same names have also been omitted on the King’s List that was discovered at the nearby Temple of Ramesses II.

The Temple Of Ramesses II

While the Temple of Ramesses II is far smaller and also less impressive than the huge Temple of Seti I, it is nonetheless worth exploring while you’re at the site. There’s also a small but nice temple that was devoted to the much loved Queen Nefertari.

Visiting The Sacred City Of Abydos

Many Egypt tour packages that include a trip to Luxor will also include a guided tour to the sacred city, but not all tours feature this attraction in their itineraries. As such, it is always best to confirm whether it’s included or not prior to you finalizing your tour reservation. Abydos is well and truly a fascinating site, and well worth a visit if time permits.

 

 

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