The temple of Seti I, is extremely well preserved and is famous for the splendid paintings it contains.Excavated by Auguste Mariette, the temple was erected in memory of the pilgrimage Seti I made to Abydos: continued by his son Ramses II, it washowever never finished.
The holiest place and goal of pilgrimages for untold centuries, was Abydos. It had the same significance forthe ancient world like contemporary Mecca. According to the legend the god Seth killed his brother Osiris, cut his body into pieces (some say thirteen, others as many as forty-two) and scattered them throughout the various Egyptian provinces.
The goddess Isis, the wife of Osiris, found all the pieces and collected them in the Oseirion, in Abydos ... all the pieces except the phallus which was swallowed by a fish in the lake of Manzalah, near Port Said. With the power of her love, Isis resuscitated her husband: his eyes opened and a ray issued from them and lsis conceived their son Horus. Up to this point the tradition, at least in the killing of Osiris by his brother Seth, recalls the episode of Cain and Abel at the beginning of our own religious history.
The present entrance leads directly into the first hypostyle hall, but originally this was preceded by two courts and a pylon. From the subsequent hypostyle hall seven entrances led into the same number of chapels dedicated, from right to left, to Horus, lsis, Osiris, Amon, RaHarakhte, Ptah, Seti himself.
From the chapel of Osiris one moves to an area devoted to his worship; we have no idea what the right hand room with two piers, originally meant to be completely inaccessible, was for.
From the second hypostyle hall a corridor on the left leads to other chapels dedicated to the Memphite gods; the corridor is particularly important for it contains one of the rare lists of kings with cartouches of the predecessors of Seti; even if incomplete (various pharaohs are missing for political reasons) it enabled us to establish the succession of kings from Menes on.