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“Worth the trip from Luxor”
Review of Abydos

Abydos
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US$63.00*
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Private Tour: Dendara and Abydos
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US$75.00*
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Private Day Tour to the Temple of Hathor and Abydos Temple
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US$90.00*
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Dendera Abydos Day Trip from Luxor
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Owner description: Once the cult center of Osiris, god of the dead, this was considered the holiest of Egyptian towns in Pharaonic times. Today this area contains the Cenotaph Temple of Seti I, one of the most intact temples remaining in Egypt that was built between 1294-1279 BC.
Reviewed 21 January 2013

As we stayed in Luxor we hired a taxi to drive us up to Abydos. The driver was kind enough to take the West bank to Abydos and come back via the East bank. This made the trip less long and very interesting. Especially the East bank as here you pass through many villages and get an idea of daily local life. We only visited the Temple of Seti 1 and found it very beautiful. As we were on our own we depended on the 'local' guide to tell us a bit more. Now these people are no Egyptologists and their English is rather poor but he tried his best and showed us some nice areas. And depending on your tip ... even more doors can open ;-) After a while however the guard also joined us and I think our visit took to long because he almost ushered us out :-( Not that we felt threatened but more like pushed and not welcome. But we already had some fine hours spent so we did not really mind.

1  Thank _NF_70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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22 - 26 of 70 reviews

Reviewed 11 January 2013

This is quite a unique temple with very straightforward history to explain its L-shape design and variation of the reliefs, as well as the 7 various shrines to the Egyptian Gods. For maintenance, it's second only to the Temple of Hathor in Dendara, most of the reliefs are in good condition and you get the feeling that tourism hasn't destroyed the place (unlike the Temples in Luxor). The feeling of grandeur is there as the roof is still fully intact.

It is far from Luxor though, easily 3 hours drive away. It's actually two train stations before Luxor and I'm not sure it's worth the fighting with taxis to try to go yourself. The town around it is not welcoming to tourists, it's mostly farmland and low quality inns. The temple is the only thing you'll see in this area. A number of vendors will cluster near the entrance, but it's not really commercialized.

If you see only 3 temples in Egypt, make this your 3rd.

3  Thank SoaringCanuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2013

This is quite a unique temple with very straightforward history to explain its L-shape design and variation of the reliefs, as well as the 7 various shrines to the Egyptian Gods. For maintenance, it's second only to the Temple of Hathor in Dendara, most of the reliefs are in good condition and you get the feeling that tourism hasn't destroyed the place (unlike the Temples in Luxor). The feeling of grandeur is there as the roof is still fully intact.

It is far from Luxor though, easily 3 hours drive away. It's actually two train stations before Luxor and I'm not sure it's worth the fighting with taxis to try to go yourself. The town around it is not welcoming to tourists, it's mostly farmland and low quality inns. The temple is the only thing you'll see in this area. A number of vendors will cluster near the entrance, but it's not really commercialized.

If you see only 3 temples in Egypt, make this your 3rd.

Thank SoaringCanuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2013

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.

6  Thank Neseret
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2012

The helicopter is on the left hand side of temple near the ceilng on the top of a lintle.

The temple was beautiful with 2 very different styles. Seti's style of beautiful carving are the best I have ever seen in egypt. The Rameses III decoration are also good but not a beautiful.

A word of ADVICE, we did this trip from luxor on our own with a taxi driver. Its a very long drive, drivers on the road are not great. You are venturing into a less tourist part of Egypt, so ladies cover your shoulders and tie up you hair or you will get starred at ( first hand experience).

2  Thank mrandmrsbotos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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