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Temple of Debod

Marvel at the unlikely spectacle of an ancient Egyptian temple in Madrid. This striking landmark has survived thousands of years and traveled thousands of miles.  

The Temple of Debod is proof that truth can be stranger than fiction. A relic of ancient Egypt standing in the center of a European capital seems like an image from a dream, but this temple is absolutely real. Visit it in the evening, just as the sun is setting and see it dramatically illuminated, casting beautiful reflections on the water beneath.

The temple originated in southern Egypt, so it has certainly come a very long way. Considering its current condition, the temple’s age is every bit as impressive as the remarkable distance it has traveled. Look at its carefully sculpted columns and try to picture it in the early days of its existence.

Work on the temple began in the 2nd century B.C. under the instruction of the Meroë King Adijalamani. The building continued to grow and was eventually finished by Roman emperors after the annexation of Egypt. It was abandoned from A.D. 6th century onwards.

See any ancient Egyptian artifact, large or small, and it’s hard not to feel impressed by the weight of the past. But visit this one in its new location to enjoy an extra helping of wonder, simply due to how out of place it seems. The building made its way to Madrid block by block in1968, after Egypt gifted it to Spain in order to keep it safe from flooding. Within just 4 years it was rebuilt entirely and ready for public viewing.

Before you see the temple at sundown, spend the afternoon exploring the park in which it is located. Parque del Oeste is a wonderful oasis of greenery in the center of busy Madrid. Visit the other prominent landmarks set in this lovely space, ruined fortifications from the Spanish Civil War.

Entry to the Temple of Debod is free, but opening hours vary, so check ahead. Getting there is easy. Just take the subway to Plaza de España and then walk to the temple in less than 10 minutes. Enjoy the beauty of the park as you go and notice how very far from ancient Egypt this lush green space feels.


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Lodging Near Temple of Debod

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