Temple of Debod

Madrid, Spain

The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian temple that was dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid. The shrine was originally erected 15 kilometres south of Aswan in Upper Egypt, very close to the first cataract of the Nile and to the great religious center in Philae dedicated to the goddess Isis. In the early 2nd century BC, Adikhalamani (Tabriqo), the Kushite king of Meroë, started its construction by building a small single-room chapel dedicated to the god Amun. It was built and decorated in a similar design to the later Meroitic chapel on which the Temple of Dakka is based. Later, during the reigns of Ptolemy VI, Ptolemy VIII, and Ptolemy XII of the Ptolemaic dynasty, it was extended on all four sides to form a small temple, 12 by 15 metres, which was dedicated to Isis of Philae. The Roman emperors Augustus and Tiberius completed its decorations.

From the quay, there is a long processional way leading to the stone-built enclosure wall, through three stone pylon gateways, and finally to the temple itself. The pronaos, which had four columns with composite capitals, collapsed in 1868 and is now lost. Behind it lay the original sanctuary of Amun, the offering table room and a later sanctuary with several side-rooms and stairs to the roof.

In 1960, due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam and the consequent threat posed by its reservoir to numerous monuments and archeological sites, UNESCO made an international call to save this rich historical legacy. As a sign of gratitude for the help provided by Spain in saving the Abu Simbel temples, the Egyptian state donated the temple of Debod to Spain in 1968.

The temple was rebuilt in one of Madrid's parks, the Parque del Oeste, near the Royal Palace of Madrid, and opened to the public in 1972. The reassembled gateways have been placed in a different order than when originally erected. Compared to a photo of the original site, the gateway topped by a serpent-flanked sun was not the closest gateway to the temple proper. It constitutes one of the few works of ancient Egyptian architecture that can be seen outside Egypt and the only one of its kind in Spain.

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Founded: 1972
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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Codrin Valentin Rusu (23 days ago)
It's a cool place to visit. It is free and the people there are really nice to you. I've asked for explanations and the ladies there were really happy to answer me. For me it was cloudy when I visited, but it is worth when there is sun for sure
Venkat Iyer (28 days ago)
Interesting site. Good to take pictures and see the views behind the monument. Looks better in the evening when the lights are on. During the day it looks very plain
Lina Gomez (3 months ago)
Great Madrid view point. Easy to get by metro. The monument is free to visit. I recommend to do it if you have time. If not, just walk around the parc, take pictures and rest a bit it's fine.
J. BISBAL (8 months ago)
Cool for a couple of pictures at sunset but kind of boring, plus there's no more surrounding water, just empty pits of nothingness. Enter only if you're really into Egyptian stuff, there are just a bunch of small stone rooms with projections explaining about it, the second floor is suffocating. The park around is nice and close to the Royal Palace.
J. BISBAL (8 months ago)
Cool for a couple of pictures at sunset but kind of boring, plus there's no more surrounding water, just empty pits of nothingness. Enter only if you're really into Egyptian stuff, there are just a bunch of small stone rooms with projections explaining about it, the second floor is suffocating. The park around is nice and close to the Royal Palace.
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