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

Ivelisse Lebron (17 months ago)
The view is beautiful of the city. There is a long line to get inside the temple which I did not do. The reflection pool around the temple was dried out as well, but the park is spacious and would be good for a picnic on a sunny day.
Gary Baitson (17 months ago)
This Temple, originally built in Egypt was rebuilt in Madrid in 1972, and I've never been to Egypt so I'm glad it was rehoused in Madrid, because its spectacular. Before you visit, just give a quick read of the history so you can appreciate it more. If you catch this at the right light, just as its becoming dark, its one of the most beautiful things you will ever see.
Srijan Chaubey (18 months ago)
Good place to visit. It provides a great view of the city. The place is home to Egyptian temple and attracts tourists from all around. The fountain around the temple gives it an elegant look. If in Madrid, visit here once for sure. You won't be disappointed. Read a bit of history of this place beforehand. This will help you to better understand and appreciate it
Cira Apitz (18 months ago)
Beautiful place to learn a bit about Spain's relationship with Egypt, and to take beautiful landscape pictures of Madrid. The temple is closed on Monday so you would only visit the outside, like me. I moved my photos to store somewhere else and don't have a photo on the phone to share. But believe me, it's a pretty park to visit.
Krzysztof Radzimski (19 months ago)
Great place to visit. Highly recommended. I would advise to visit about 30 minutes before sunset and stay there until the sun is down. It gets really busy so make sure you have a good spot for your photos before it gets too crowded. Unfortunately in winter season there is no water around the temple.
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