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Travel: Abydos, Dendera, Luxor Temples. Egypt, Jan. 28/2023

Continuation of a trip which started on :

Jan. 23 (part 1) Jan, 26 (part 4)

Jan. 24 (part 2) Jan. 27 (part 5)

Jan. 25 (part 3)

The desert drive from Luxor, following the Niles curving, brought\ us for a visit of some more special temples in the peripheral towns of Avydos and Dendera

Abydos Is one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, located in the low desert about 11 km West of the Nile near the modern Egyptian towns of El Araba El Madfuna and El Balyana

Hotel at Avidos -" House of Life" Hotel, health & healing center lies at walking distance of the Temple of Sety I, Its interior decorated as an Egyptian temple , although the rooms are quite simple

This hotel at the deep authentic land of Egypt was a bearable experience. Butter and sparkling water were commodity out of reach at the hotel, but the French crescent, were plenty

The morning view seen at he hotel

Abydos - Egyptian Abdju, Coptic Ebot, modern Al-ʿArābā al-Madfūnah,

The sacred city of Abydos , which is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt, was a royal necropolis for the earliest Egyptians, where many pharaohs of the 1st and 2nd dynasties. were entombed, and later a pilgrimage center for the worship of Osiris. also the site of many ancient temples, including Umm el-Qa'ab,

Most of Upper Egypt became unified under rulers from Abydos during the Naqada III period (3200–3000 BCE), at the expense of rival cities such as Hierakonpolis.

The conflicts leading to the supremacy of Abydos may appear on numerous reliefs of the Naqada II period, such as the Gebel el-Arak Knife, or the frieze of Tomb 100 at Hierakonpolis.

The pharaohs of the First Dynasty were buried in Abydos, including Narmer, who is regarded as the founder of the First Dynasty, and his successor, Aham Some pharaohs of the Second Dynasty were also buried in Abydos.

From earliest times, Abydos was a cult center, first of the local deity, Khentiamentiu, and from the end of the Old Kingdom beginning of the XIth dynasty, the rising cult of Osiris. which made Abydos into the city of Osiris

A tradition developed that the Early Dynastic cemetery was the burial place of Osiris and the tomb of Djer was reinterpreted as that of Osiris

Though the Temple site was in a walking distance from the hotel, for security reasons the group..We were the only group at the site as most tourists do not make this long driving trip as to arrive so far

Abydos is notable for the Memorial Temple of Seti I,

which contains an inscription from the Nineteenth Dynasty known to the modern world as the Abydos King List. This is a chronological list showing cartouches of most dynastic pharaohs of Egypt from Menes until Seti I's father, Ramesses I.

It is also notable for the exquisite relief scenes Abydos graffiti, ancient Phoenician and Aramaic graffiti found on the walls of the Temple of Seti I.

The temple was completed after Seti I's death, by his son, Ramesses II, whose cartouches are found in certain parts of the temple,

The Great Temple and most of the ancient town are buried under the modern buildings to the north of the Seti temple. Many of the original structures and the artifacts within them are considered irretrievable and lost; many may have been destroyed by the new construction.

Temple SET I

Menmaatre Seti I (or Sethos I (in Greek)

(1294-1279 BC) was the second pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty during (1292–1190 bce) the New Kingdom period, and the real founder of the greatness of the Ramessids, ruling from 1292-1279 BC.[, in his capital Memphis. .

He was the son of Ramesses I (who reigned only two years), and mother Sitre, and the father of Ramesses II.

Consecrated to the god Set as indcated ' "of Set" as indicated, in his name he was the founder of the 19th Dynasty, his reign spanned over 55 years,, and he was considered a great king by his peers, but his fame has been overshadowed since ancient times by that of his son, Ramesses II.

The traditional view of Seti I's wars was that he restored the Egyptian empire after it had been lost in the time of Akhenaten.

After the enormous social upheavals ignited by Akhenaten's religious reform, Seti I's main priority was to re-establish order in the kingdom and to reaffirm Egypt's sovereignty over Canaan and Syria, which had been compromised by the increasing external pressures from the Hittite state.

Seti, confronted the Hittites - the northern other great empire then, several times in battle. without succeeding in destroying them . The greatest foreign policy achievement of Seti was the capture of the Syrian town of Kadesh and neighboring territory of Amurru from the Hittite Empire. He entered the city in triumph together with his son Ramesses II and erected a victory stela at the site which has been found by archaeologists. Seti I has left an impressive war monument that glorifies his achievements, along with a number of texts, all of which tend to magnify his prowess on the battlefield.

He subsequently concluded a peace treaty that may have established the frontier at Kadesh on the Orontes River between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains.

He also fought a series of wars in western Asia, Libya and Nubia in the first decade of his reign.

Seti I did much to promote the prosperity of Egypt by fortifying the frontier, opening new mine/ rock quarries at Aswan to build obelisks and colossal statues . dug wells, and rebuilt temples and shrines

The main source for Seti's military activities are his battle scenes on the north exterior wall of the Karnak Hypostyle Hall, along with several royal stelas with inscriptions mentioning battles in Canaan and Nubia.

The memory of Seti I's military successes was recorded in some large scenes placed on:

the front of the temple of Amun, situated in Karnak.

on the funerary temple for Seti at Qurna at Thebes

and a magnificent memorial temple made of white limestone at Abydos

Built on entirely new ground half a mile to the south of the long series of temples. the roofed temple , with painted ceiling and holy of holy dedicated to God Osiris, is best known as the Great Temple of Abydos, being nearly complete and impressive

has an unusual L-shaped ground plan and was built primarily of limestone, with the occasional use of sandstone in different areas throughout the structure.

Next to temple there are excavated ruins of older temple of Osireon, birthplace of Ozirus born from the bottom water thus the water pools.

A chamber with the Chartush linage wall of all the Royal kings in Egypt up to SETI I

the "Abydos King List" carved in its western known as the "Gallery of the Ancestors"

The Abydos Shrine of Amon Min built by Ramesses II (northwest of the temple of SetiI represent Amon Min (worshiped by a cult originated in the predynastic period -4th millennium BC)

Amon Min is represented in male human form, shown often with a long feather on his hat and an erect penis which he holds in his right hand and an upheld left arm holding a flail

Great festivals were held in his honor celebrating his "coming forth" with a public procession and presentation of offerings.

Scenery of the country on the drive between Abydos to Dendera

Transporting sugarcane

Getting close to Dendera


A small town, which remains a Latin Catholic titular see, situated on the west bank of the Nile approximately 60 km north of Luxor , and for which we came to visit its famous temple -

Ptolemaic Temple Helenestic influence -

one of the best-preserved temple sites from ancient Upper Egypt.

Dendera was inhabited in prehistory, a useful oasis on the banks of the Nile

After Egypt became a Roman possession, after 300 Ptolemaic Ruling and. up to Actium Battle, the city of Tentyris/Dendera, was part of the late Roman province of Thebais Secunda. Its bishopric was a suffragan of Ptolemais Hermiou, the capital and metropolitan see of the province.

The Temple Complex

The Dendera Temple complex, which covers some 40,000 square and is surrounded by a mud brick wall, contains the Temple of Hathor, - the dominant building, dating back to 54 BC, at the time of Ptolemy XII of the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty. (350 BC) and was completed by the Roman emperorTiberius,

However it rests on the foundations of earlier buildings dating back at least as far as Khufu (known as the Great Pyramid builder Cheops, the second Pharaoh of the 4th dynasty [c. 2613–c. 2494 BC]) but it was the pharaoh Pepi I Meryre who built the temple.

The impressive entrance of the temple, is positioned with six massive columns surmounted with the head of Hathor,

Hathor Godess was among the most important and popular deities in ancient Egypt. associated with music, joy, dance and motherhood; fertility, love, and pleasure

She was also known as the lady of the sky. She was the protector of women, though men also worshipped her. She had priests as well as priestesses in her temples.

She was often depicted as a cow, symbolizing her maternal and celestial aspect, although her most common form was a woman wearing a headdress of cow horns and a sun disk. She could also be represented as a lioness, a cobra, or a sycamore tree.

Her main cult center was at Dendera

In ancient times, Dendera was associated with healing. Patients who traveled there for cures were housed in special buildings where they could rest, sleep, and commune with the gods in their dreams. There is something else special about this temple, as well: It bears the name of Cleopatra and her son, whose father was Julius Caesar.

The large hypostyle hall of the Hathor temple i is supported by 24 “hathoric” columns. The front row, connected by six intercolumn walls, serves as façade. It is surmounted by a molding at the center of which the winged sun disc stands out. On the architrave there is a frieze divided into two specular halves by a head of the goddess Hathor: a series of deities bear gifts to Hathor and her spouse Horus with a hawk’s head.

The celebrated Dendera zodiac, which is now displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris. was originally carved at the temple

The widely known sculptured Zodiac relief from the late Greco-Roman temple, containis images of Taurus

(the bull) and the Libra (the balance).

A sketch was made of it during the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt. In 1820 it was removed from the temple ceiling by the French and replaced with a fake.

There are also Roman and pharaonic Mammisi (birth houses), ruins of a Coptic church and a small chapel dedicated to Isis, dating to the Roman or the Ptolemaic era

The Hybrid Dwarf God - Bes

Bes together with his feminine counterpart Beset, is an ancient Egyptian deity , largely involved with the spirit world, and particularly malevolent sprites,.

It also was worshiped as a protector of households and life cycles and, in particular, of mothers, children, and childbirth, suspected to be a Middle Kingdom import from Nubia or Somalia, and his cult did not become widespread until the beginning of the New Kingdom.

A bakery at which Bread offered to Hathor was baked and. dates to the First Intermediate Period was also discovered near the complex discovered

The Bus Ride back to Luxor

Back in Luxor

The 2 previous posts on Luxor ( Jan, 26 (part 4) & Jan. 27 (part 5) report extensively on the royal/dignitary funerary sites on the West-bank of the Nile river

Thus after the detour to Abydos and Dendera's temples, this late afternoon at sun set was spent touring the Luxor temple - located on the East Bank of the Nile River in the Luxor - the ancient Thebes., which is connected by the Sphinx Raw to the Karnak temple. and which is is dedicated to the God - Amon

Luxor Temple

known as ipet resyt, "the southern sanctuary" the temple a UNESCO Herritage site since 1979, was constructed with Nubian sandstone approximately 1400 BC. and it was one of the 2 primary temples on the east bank, the other being Karnak.

The temple was built during the New Kingdom

The oldest structure discovered at Luxor dates from the reign of Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III.. Amenhotep III (1390-52 BC) built the Luxor temple, but Tutankhamun (1336-27 BC) and Horemheb (1323-1295 BC) completed it. Ramses II (1279-13 BC) extended and remodelled the altar.

A granite shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great (332-305 BC) stands towards the temple’s rear.

The entrance pylon was half buried in sand until the 1880s but when cleared it revealed 2 towers measuring 24 meters high and 65 meters wide. They are carved in sunken relief depicting Ramesses II at the battle of Kadesh.

Two massive seated statues of Rameses II guard the huge gateway and are flanked by four standing statues of the king.

The temple and was dedicated to the Theban Triad consisted of Amun, his consort Mut, and their son Khonsu.

Unlike other dedicated to only a god, this temple was also used to the rejuvenation of kingship; where many of the pharaohs of Egypt were crowned in reality or conceptually (as in the case of Alexander the Great, who claimed he was crowned at Luxor but may never have traveled south of Memphis, near modern Cairo).

The annual Opet Festival,

The Temple of Ramses II was the center of the most important festival – the Opet Festival. which was to reconcile the human aspect of the ruler with the divine

A cult statue of Amun was paraded down the Nile from nearby Karnak Temple (ipet-sut) to stay there for a while with his consort Mut, as to promote the fertility of Amun-Re and the Pharaoh.

Epigraphic Survey study and team presented a completely new interpretation of the Opet annual festival at Luxor temple, as being dedicated to the divine Egyptian ruler or, more precisely, to the cult of the Royal Ka.[

Examples of the cult of the Royal Ka can be seen with the colossal seated figures of the deified Ramesses II before the Pylon and at the entrance to the Grand colonnade, that are clearly Ka-statues, cult statues of the king as embodiment of the royal Ka.

The two obelisks -the smaller one closer to the west is now at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, flanking the entrance were not the same height, but they created the illusion that they were

Chapels built by Amenhotep III of the 18th Dynasty, and Alexander. are fount in To the rear of the temple, and ther parts of the temple were built by Tutankhamun and Ramesses II.

During the Roman era, the temple and its surroundings were a legionary fortress and the home of the Roman government in the area. A chapel inside the Luxor Temple originally dedicated to the goddess Mut was also transformed in Roman into a Tetrarchy cult chapel and later into a church.

Accumulated rubble and rubbish of the ages ,and that of the Muslim population that had settled and built on top of and around the temple, at the southward end of the mount. the Luxor three quarters of the temple got buried on its the courts and colonnades. Rubbish, barracks, stores, houses, huts, pigeon towers all needed to be removed in order to excavate the site as of 1884

3400 years of continuous religious use,

A Sufi Shaykh Yusuf Abu al-Hajjaj built a mosque over the northeast part.

Integrated into the temple structure it stands on the ancient columns themselves. that were first converted to a church by the Copts in 395 AD, and then to a mosque in 640.,

The Pharohos whose their marks is left on the temple

The Sphinx Raw leading to the Karnak Temple

The King's Festivities or Rams Road

It was quite dark when at the end of this long day, the group finally checked into a nice boat, on which we would sail up the Nile for the next 4 days.

Luxor at Night from the top deck of the boat

To be Continued....

For all posts The god Amon and wife in the faces of Totanachmon and wife

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