Abydos is a sacred city and one of the most important archaeological sites of ancient Egypt. The site, located in the low desert west of the Nile near El Balyana, was a royal necropolis of the first two dynasties and later a centre of pilgrimage for the worship of Osiris.
Although the pharaohs were buried near their city of residence rather than at Abydos, they encouraged the cult of the deified king at Abydos and over the centuries the temple of Osiris was successively rebuilt or enlarged by Pepi I, Ahmose I, Thutmose III, Ramses III, and Ahmose II. Some pharaohs had a cenotaph or a mortuary temple at Abydos. The temple of Seti I was one of the most beautiful of all such temples. Around and between the various temples of Abydos is a vast complex of cemeteries used in every period of early Egyptian history, from the prehistoric age to Roman times. Thousands of stelae (standing stone slabs) have been found in the city's cemeteries.
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