Seti I, the king of Abydos’ splendid temple, his exquisite tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and Karnak’s magnificent hypostyle hall, died before this memorial temple was completed, so his son Ramses II, who had a stronger hand, finished it. Despite its beautiful setting amid a palm grove, this temple at the northern end of the Theban necropolis sees few visitors.
Floods in 1994 seriously destroyed the temple, which has since been completely rebuilt. A tiny door in the northeast corner of the restored fortress-like enclosing wall leads to the entryway. The first and second pylons, as well as the court, are all destroyed. The pharaoh’s palace has likewise vanished, but its foundations have recently been discovered immediately south of the court, making it the earliest surviving example of a palace within a memorial temple; its layout is comparable to the better-preserved palace at Ramses III’s Medinat Habu memorial temple.
Some excellently wrought reliefs may be found on the walls of the columned portico on the temple’s west front, as well as those of the hypostyle court beyond it. Six shrines flank the hypostyle, and to the south is a tiny chapel dedicated to Seti’s father, Ramses I, who died before he could construct his own burial temple.