The Debod Temple - History and Facts | History Hit

The Debod Temple

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

The Debod Temple is an Ancient Egyptian temple in Madrid gifted to Spain in the 1960s.

Peta Stamper

19 Apr 2021

About The Debod Temple

The Debod Temple (Templo de Debod) is an Ancient Egyptian temple in Madrid, gifted to Spain in the 1960s. Made up of three main reconstructed monuments, the Debod Temple is a beautiful site surrounded by a pool of water.

The Debod Temple history

In the early 2nd century BC, Adikhalamani the Kushite king of Meroë, an ancient city on the banks of the Nile, started construction of the Temple of Debod. The shrine consisted of a small single-roomed chapel and was dedicated to the Egyptian god Amun. It was erected 15 km south of Aswan in Nubia, close to the religious centre in Philae, dedicated to goddess Isis.

During the reigns of Ptolemy VI, his brother and enemy Ptolemy VII, and Ptolemy XII during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, the small shrine was extended and dedicated to Isis. In the Egyptian pantheon, gods had supernatural powers and were called on for protection and aid through offerings and prayers performed at temples such as Debod. Isis was believed to have resurrected her husband, king Osiris, and cared for their son. Considered the divine mother of the pharaoh, Isis helped the dead reach the afterlife.

The Roman emperors Augustus and Tiberius completed the temple’s decorations. Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire in 30 BC following the defeat of Marc Anthony and Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII by Augustus at the Battle of Actium. When Nubia converted to Christianity in the 6th century, the temple was abandoned.

In 1960, because of the construction of the Aswan High Dam and in thanks for help saving the Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt gifted the Debod Temple to Spain in 1968. The temple was rebuilt – albeit in a different sequence – in the Parque del Oeste in Madrid and opened to the public in 1972. In 2020, the city council began plans to cover the monument to preserve it from the elements.

The Debod Temple today

Today, the Debod Temple remains one of the few works of ancient Egyptian architecture seen outside of Egypt. Wander along the walkway around the reflective pool, before viewing the scale models and videos projected onto its walls within the temple.

To see the structure in its full glory, visit the temple at night when lit up from below or in the evening as the sun sets, bathing the columns with a rich orange glow.

Getting to The Debod Temple

The easiest way to the temple is via public transport. Get the Metro to Plaza de España (lines 3 and 10) and Ventura Rodríguez (line 3). Alternately, buses: 1, 2, 3, 25, 39, 44, 46, 74, 75, 133, 138, 148, C1 and C2 stop nearby, as does the tourist bus route 1 at stop 10 – Temple of Debod. There is also parking within the Regulated Parking Area of the city of Madrid.