Templo de Debod, Madrid

Category: Madrid

Are you planning a trip to Spain’s capital city of Madrid and considering some of the sites and attractions to visit during your stay? Do you have a taste for the unique and extraordinary, particularly when it comes to monuments and architecture? If you do, we strongly advise that you add the Templo de Debod to your list of must-see Madrid attractions. Templo de Debod in Madrid. Photo credit

Many people traveling through Madrid are surprised to learn that there is a genuine/authentic Egyptian temple in the middle of the city, not far from the Plaza de España. The Templo de Debod, which dates back to the 4th century BC or earlier, has graced the city of Madrid since 1971 and, according to historians, it was originally built to honor the Egyptian gods Amun and Isis. The real question, though, is how did it get there?

The History behind Templo de Debod

For centuries, the Templo de Debod stood proudly in the Nile Valley of Egypt, approximately 19 miles from the city Aswan. The temple was constructed in the 4th century BC to honor the god Amun and the goddess Isis. However, when the construction of the new Aswan Dam commenced in the mid 1960s, it threatened the future of the Templo de Debod. Fearing they would lose it, the Egyptian government offered the temple to Spain in gratitude for its help in saving some of the sacred buildings in the town of Abu Simbel, Egypt some years prior. Spain accepted the gesture, and in 1969 the temple was carefully dismantled and its pieces were sent by ship to the Spanish city, Valencia, where it was then shipped by train to Madrid. There it would be meticulously reassembled at its current site, finally opening to the public in 1971.

The Temple de Debod is just one of many ancient monuments and archaeological treasures that were displaced by the Aswan Dam, but with help from the United Nation’s (UNESCO), all found new homes in other major cities where they could be preserved and put on display for tourists and historians.

Characteristics of Temple de Debod

Today the Temple de Debod is showcased near the Plaza de España, next to the Paseo del Pintor Rosales, with a surrounding park from where it is possible to admire the Guadarrama mountains and the Spanish capital’s most breathtaking sunset. The temple is laid out from East to West, just as it would be in Egypt according to their tradition. Further below the monument is an attractive rose garden, the Rosaleda, with several beautiful and colorful varieties of roses.

Tourists who want a closer look at the temple may make their way through the two tall, narrow gateways that lead the way to the temple’s colonnaded porch, and admire some of Temple de Debod’s detailed carved reliefs. In the temple’s upstairs there is a terrific museum to explore, featuring photographs depicting the monument’s history.

From the tour guides on site, visitors will also learn that the location chosen for the Temple de Debod is also very historically significant, as it was once the site of the Montaña barracks, which were stormed by the populace during the Civil War in 1936.