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Spain: Temple of Debod

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Temple of Debod | Spain | Europe

[Visited: September 2010 and several times before]

Walking distance from the Plaza de España, where Don Quijote proudly stands, you can find the improbable Temple of Debod in the Parque del Oeste. Improbable, because walking ten minutes from the large square with its remarkable high-rise buildings, through a neighbourhood with offices and apartment blocks, stumbling upon an ancient Egyptian temple is not the most likely event. Yet this is exactly what the Temple of Debod is - and it is real, not fake.

Picture of Temple of Debod (Spain): A cloudy morning over Temple of Debod

When the Egyptians planned the building of the Great Aswan Dam in the 1960s, the Unesco called upon countries around the world to salvage the rich cultural heritage to be found in the vast region that would be submerged by the river Nile, especially close to Abu Simbel. With the Egyptian custom of building temples right next to the banks of the Nile, there was plenty to do. The Spanish were apparently so active in this salvation project, that the Egyptians decided to give a valuable gift: an entire temple was shipped to Spain and installed in Madrid - the Temple of Debod.

Picture of Temple of Debod (Spain): Detailed decoration of the Temple of Debod

Originally situated close to the first cataract of the river Nile, near Aswan itself, and constructed in the 2nd century BCE by king Meroë, the initial Temple of Debod was dedicated to Amun. The temple was later extended by other kings and several Roman emperors. The temple suffered damage in its history before it was finally dismantled in 1968, transported to Madrid, and rebuilt again before it was opened to the public in 1972. Today, you can not only admire the beauty of a real Egyptian temple near the heart of a European capital, but you can also enter the Temple of Debod where you can find hieroglyphs, Egyptian wall decorations, and an explanation of the original location of the temple. It is unique in that there are very few complete Egyptian temples outside Egypt itself.

Picture of Temple of Debod (Spain): Wall decoration inside the Temple of Debod
Picture of Temple of Debod (Spain): Central columns over the entrance of the Temple of Debod
Picture of Temple of Debod (Spain): View through the gateways of the Temple of Debod
Picture of Temple of Debod (Spain): Interior wall decoration of the Temple of Debod
Picture of Temple of Debod (Spain): Egyptian God Amun projected on a wall inside the Temple of Debod
Picture of Temple of Debod (Spain): Temple of Debod reflected in the surrounding pond
Picture of Temple of Debod (Spain): Temple of Debod on the river Nile: a maquette inside the temple itself

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