He made it as his monument for his father, Amon- Re, Lord of Thebes, of Karnak,
making for him a Great Palace, an august Holy of Holies, for the Divine Ennead,
a place of rest for the Lord of the Gods at his beautiful feast of the valley;
which the son of Re, Seti I, given life, like Re, forever, made for him..

(from the wall inscriptions of Seti I Mortuary Temple)

The Mortuary Temple of Seti I, the King of the XIX Dynasty, who reigned around 1290-1279 BC is located in the most northern point of Western Thebes. Originally, the Temple bore the name of "The Temple of the Spirit of Seti Merenptah in the House of Amon on the West of Thebes." In ancient time there was an administrative center, located in the area called "Helf-he-Nebes", which in translation from ancient Egypt means "City in front of its Lord". Seti I was the great King of Ancient Egypt, whose fame could be surpassed only by his son - Ramesses II. The largest of his military achievement was the capturing of the Syrian city of Kadesh and the neighboring territory of the Amurru of the Hittite Empire, when he, together with his son Ramesses II, entered the city with triumph.

The beginning of construction of the Temple was made at the end of the reign of Seti I, when the King decided to build a monument in honor of his father - Ramses I, who had not managed to build a Mortuary Temple for himself, because of his rather short two-year reign of the country. Bas-reliefs on the walls of the Temple read: "He made it as his monument for his father, Osiris-Ramses I triumphant; making for him a house of millions of years, the Temple of the Spirit of Seti Merenptah in the House of Amon on the West of Thebes". The fragment of the inscription, "the Temple of the Spirit of Seti Merenptah" testifies that this Temple was also the Mortuary Temple of the the King Seti I.

Unfortunately, King Seti I didn't see the completion of construction of the started project, and the finishing works of the Temple were completed by his son - Ramesses the Great, whose Mortuary Temple is in two kilometers to the Southwest.

Travelers of the XIX century called it the Temple of Qournah (Kurna), according to the modern geographical name of the area, where it is located.

(Click the image to enlarge)

The temple is surrounded by a fortress wall with towers. The size of the wall is 124x162 meters, and it has a large pylon on its eastern side.

(Click the image to enlarge)

The main building of the Temple has a rectangle form of 45x52 m.

(Click the image to enlarge)

The entire inner territory of the Temple, including two pylons made of unburned brick, is completely destroyed. The most of the eastern part of the complex rests under the foundation of the modern city of Kurna. However, the Temple itself, being made of sandstone mined in Gebelein's quarry (as evidenced by the inscriptions left in the quarry) and occupying a third part of the original complex, remains in a rather good condition.

Source: Karl Richard Lepsius "Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien", 1849-1859
(Click the image to enlarge)

(Click the image to enlarge)
Felix Bonfis, 1867

(Click the image to enlarge)
Felix Bonfis, 1867

Year: 1917. Source: Egypt Centre Museum of Egyptian Antiquities.

Year: 2017. ISIDA Project.

The facade of the Temple has a portico of 10 columns. Its walls are covered with bas-reliefs, depicting various scenes dedicated to Seti I and his son Ramesses II.

The hypostyle hall contains 6 papyrus-shaped columns and well-preserved bas-reliefs, engraved during the joint rule of Seti I and his son. Each side of the hypostyle hall has 3 chambers, which walls are decorated with scenes dedicated to the Theban Triad and the Osiris afterlife cult. A small lobby behind the hypostyle hall also has chambers on each side, which walls are decorated with 15 divine characters from ancient Egyptian mythology.

The sanctuary of the Temple is dedicated to the Theban Triad (Amon, Mut and Khonsu). It is followed by the Holy of Holies with many bas-reliefs, depicting the King performing various temple rituals. A false door is partially restored on the western wall of the room.

Like many other ancient Egyptian structures, the Temple of Seti I has suffered many dismantlings of the blocks for reusing of them in construction of other buildings, during the period, followed after the end of the New Kingdom. During the Roman period, the Temple was used as a workshop for artisans, and during the Coptic era its walls were used for church and apartments.

The German Archaeological Institute provides the archaeological works on the territory of the Temple of Seti I since 1972 for restoring the survived structures of the once grandiose Temple Complex of the Great Egyptian King.

Our survey team is presenting you a gallery of photo material, shot in 2017 on the territory of the Temple after large-scale restoration works of the main part of the complex.


The King of the XIX Dynasty - Seti I was buried in the Valley of Kings in a tomb (KV17), discovered in 1817 by the Italian traveler Giovanni Battista Belzoni. This tomb has the longest descending passage (136 meters) and it is the deepest of all the royal tombs of the New Kingdom. This is the first tomb, whose walls were decorated with numerous drawings and texts on various subjects, including "The Legend of the Destruction of the Humanity" ...


Author: Margaret Murray
«Egyptian Temples»
Year: republished in 2006

Author: Jill Kamil
Luxor: A Guide to Ancient Thebes.
Year: 1973

Author: Karl Richard Lepsius
Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien nach den
Zeichnungen der von Seiner Majestät dem Koenige
von Preussen, Friedrich Wilhelm IV

Year: 1849–1859

Author: Napoleon Bonaparte.
Description de l'Égypte, ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l'expédition de l'Armée française

Year: 1812

Author: Breasted J.H
Ancient Records of Egypt.
Year: 1906



<< Back to Western Thebes

Discuss on Forum >>

© Copyright 2017 of ISIDA Project. All rights reserved.