The Temple of Debod, an Egyptian temple built in the fourth century BC, stands in Madrid’s Parque de la Montaña near Plaza de España. While it may seem out of place in the middle of the modern city, the temple was dismantled, shipped, and carefully reconstructed here in 1972 to protect it from flooding caused by the construction of the Aswan Dam. Spain received the temple as a thank you for helping to save Abu Simbel, another archaeological site that was threatened by flooding in Egypt.
The ancient temple stands behind two stone gates rising out of a calm shallow pool. Inside the temple, there are hieroglyphs as well as photos documenting its history, including the reconstruction in Madrid. The temple and gates are illuminated at night, creating a clear beautiful reflection of the structure on the water. Due to its central location, the Temple of Debod is included in many Madrid sightseeing tours—by foot, bike, or Segway—and it’s also a stop on the Blue Route of the city’s hop-on hop-off bus. Also featured on many city tours are other nearby attractions, like Palacio Real, San Miguel Market, Plaza Mayor, and the Manzanares River.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Temple of Debod is a must-see for history buffs and lovers of ancient architecture.
- Entrance to the temple is free.
- The number of visitors inside the temple is restricted to 30 at a time for a maximum of 30 minutes.
- The Temple of Debod is not accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Several city buses service the Temple of Debod, as does the metro via Plaza de España and Ventura Rodríguez stations.
When to Get There
The Temple of Debod is closed on Mondays and public holidays. If you plan to enter the temple, arrive early to avoid waiting in line.
A Brief History of the Temple
Work on the Temple of Debod began during the second century BC but wasn’t completed until after Egypt was annexed by the Roman Empire. When Nubia was converted to Christianity during the sixth century, the temple was sealed and abandoned. In 1978, when the structure was relocated to Madrid, the building’s original east to west orientation was maintained.