The temple of Osiris and the Osireion
The ruins of the temple of Osiris-Khenty-Imentyu are situated in the ‘Ancient City’, also called Kom es-Sultan. It is located more than a kilometre to the north of the temple of Seti I. Not much remains of the temple that must have flourished from the Middle Kingdom. Here thousands of stelae must have been left behind. We will be able to recognize some building additions from the time of Ramesses II. Subsequently we walk towards the odd mud brick structure called Shunet ez-Zebib. It was built by Khasekhemuy, the last ruler of the 2nd dynasty. We walk back to the south, in the direction of the Osireion. Here we admire the representations of the Book of Gates. During the reign of Merenptah they were applied to the walls of the entrance tunnel to the underground mythical tomb of Osiris. The Osireion is perhaps the most conspicuous example of religious symbolism in Egyptian architecture. The foundations are cut below the current level of the water table. A rectangular island in the centre of this hall has receptacles carved into its floor to receive a sarcophagus and canopic chest. A channel about three meters across, surrounds the island. It contains water and thus the interior of the Osireion was symbolic of Nun, the primeval waters of creation from which an island arose. The structure was once covered by a sandy hill of vegetation, but still accessible and known to the Egyptians as a tomb or shrine of Osiris. The transverse hall nearest Seti I’s temple is built of limestone with a corbel vault of sandstone cut in the shape of a pent roof. Its decoration, consisting of astronomical and funerary texts, includes a depiction of the sky goddess Nut.