Temple of Debod

The Temple of Debod is an Egyptian temple of the II century B.C. relocated in the city of Madrid. It was a present made by Egypt to Spain in 1968.

The Temple was built at the beginning of the II century B.C. by order of Adijalamani, the Meroe’s King, as a place of worship for Isis and Amón. Later on, Ptolemaic monarchs extended the temple and built new rooms around the original ones.

During Roman rule, Emperors Augustus, Tiberius and Hadrian decorated and finished the construction works of the building. In the 6th century, with the introduction of Christianity, it was closed and abandoned.

After the construction of the Aswan Dam in 1907, many buildings remained underwater most of the year. Egypt asked UNESCO for help to save the Nubian monuments that remained underwater. In the 1960s, Spain participated in these “rescue” missions.

As a thank you to some of the countries that participated, Egypt donated four temples. The Temple of Dendur was assigned to the United States, the Temple of Ellesiya to Italy, the Temple of Taffa to the Netherlands, and the Temple of Debod to Spain. After its reconstruction and restoration, it was finnally inaugurated in 1972.

Temple of Debod
Litography of the Temple by David Roberts, 19th century.

Outside the temple

The temple is located on a stone platform that isolates it from the ground and surrounded by a pond. It tries to simulate the original location of the temple, on the banks of the Nile.

Furthermore, two of the pylons leading to the temple are partially preserved. The building has a quadrangular floor plan, with a room on its left side. The main facade has a lintelled entrance and four columns with Egyptian compound capital. The whole building is crowned by an Egyptian gola.

Temple of Debod
Main facade of the Temple.

Inside the temple

Access is through a lobby or pronaos. The decoration of its walls was made in the time of Augustus and Tiberius. However, it is barely preserved. The room on the left is called mammisi. It also dates back to Roman times, and experts are still unable to figure out its function.

Behind the vestibule, at the front, is the oldest nucleus of the temple, that is the chapel of Adijalamani. Although the polychrome has been largely lost, the reliefs are still preserved. The scenes depicted are intended for the worship of different divinities such as Isis, Hathor, Osiris or Horus.

If continuing towards the front, you will find the anteroom of the naos. It is a small room that precedes the three chapels at the end of the temple. The central chapel has a naos from the Ptolemaic period. It was dedicated to the worship of Amon and Isis. There were two chapels on both sides of the central chapel. They might be dedicated to Osiris and Mehesa.

Temple of Debod
Chapel of Adijalamani and naos in the background.

Through the lobby we can also visit the Uabet. Priests were purified in this room. On the opposite side, there is a corridor with stairs leading to the second floor.

Just up the stairs is the osiriaca chapel. It is a roofed chapel, located in the space of the temple’s terrace. The rain was not positive for Osiris, therefore this chapel was roofed. They just wanted to avoid that the chapel come into contact with the relic of the god.

To the right of the osiriaca chapel is the terrace, which is currently covered by the roof built during its restoration. This space was used for different ceremonies, such as the New Year’s Ritual.

Different mockups, and other pieces whose location is not very clear can be found in the temple-

Temple of Debod
Details of the decorative reliefs | Miguel Hermoso Cuesta.

Location: Calle de Ferraz, 1, 28008 Madrid.
Phone: +34 913 66 74 15

Here you have information about tickets, as well as the opening times updated.


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