Abydos (Egyptian Abdju, 3bdw, MdC: AbDw; Arabic: أبيدوس, Greek: Άβυδος), one of the most ancient cities of Upper Egypt. The Egyptian name of both the eighth Nome of Upper Egypt and its capital city was Abdju, technically, 3bdw, as in the hieroglyphs shown to the right, the hill of the symbol or reliquary, in which the sacred head of Osiris was preserved. The Greeks named it Abydos, after their city on the Hellespont; the modern Arabic name is el-‘Araba el Madfuna (Arabic: العربة المدفونة al-ʿarabah al-madfunah).
Considered one of the most important archaeological sites of Ancient Egypt (near the town of al-Balyana), the sacred city of Abydos was the site of many ancient temples, including a Umm el-Qa’ab, a royal necropolis where early pharaohs were entombed. These tombs began to be seen as extremely significant burials and in later times it became desirable to be buried in the area, leading to the growth of the town’s importance as a cult site.
Today, Abydos is notable for the memorial temple of Seti I, which contains an inscription from the nineteenth dynasty known to the modern world as the Abydos King List. It is a chronological list showing cartouches of most dynastic pharaohs of Egypt from Menes until Ramesses I, Seti’s father. The Great Temple and most of the ancient town are buried under the modern buildings to the north of the Seti temple. Many of the original structures and the artifacts within them are considered irretrievable and lost, many may have been destroyed by the new construction.