The Osirion of Abidos: a mysterious and monumental Egyptian temple

Abidos was one of the most influential cities in Upper Egypt, with political importance since the 19th Dynasty.

The Osirion of Abidos: a mysterious and monumental Egyptian temple

The region, with traces of settlements dating back to the Naqada I period, was the most important burial site of the photodynamic period and the first dynasties of ancient Egypt.

About five kilometers to the northwest is Al-Birba, which was possibly ancient Tinis. From this area came the kings that Manetón called tinitas, those who ruled during the first two Egyptian dynasties.

The Osirion is located in Abidos, behind, at a lower level, although connected to the temple of Seti I. Archaeologists Flinders Petrie and Margaret Murray were working in Abidos during the last century, when they discovered the Osirion by chance while excavating the temple of Seti I.

The Osirion was originally built at a much lower level than the foundations of the temple of Seti I. The Egyptologists consider them contemporary, but the evidence is against this consideration. It was built with limestone, reddish sandstone and granite in its central chamber.

The Osirion is also known as the tomb of Osiris, while the temple of Seti I is known as the temple of Osiris. Abidos was the main place of worship of Osiris, lord of the underworld.

The Osirion of Abidos: a mysterious and monumental Egyptian temple

Osiris, his sister Isis and his son Horus were fundamental figures in the religion of ancient Egypt. In addition, it is quite close to both the temple of Seti I and the temple of Ramses II.

As for its antiquity, the temple dates from Dynasty I, (around 3000 years BC) according to estimates based on various sites and remains found in the place.

Many kings left their marked presence in this temple, both monarchs belonging to the Middle Empire and the New Empire, including Amenhotep I, Amenhopet III and Thutmose III, illegitimate son of Thutmose I.

It is believed that the Osirion sought with its complex internal organization to evoke creation. The priests of this temple were the only ones who could access their secrets: even the pharaoh had some sectors banned.

This temple of Osiris is – and always was – a great headache for Egyptologists.

No wonder there is not much information or official studies about him. To begin with, it is many meters below the level of neighboring temples.

According to geologists, when that was built it was the ground level and then, with the passing of the millenniums, various sediments were piled on it. In fact, some scholars suggest that their actual dating would be more than 10,000 years old.


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