The Temple of Debod was inaugurated on July 20, 1972 after two years of reconstruction. It was a complicated process since, in addition to not having good plans, in the dismantling and transport some stones were lost.
The temple of Debod was located in the small town that bore this name (Debod), on the banks of the Nile River, near the first waterfall, in Lower Nubia, “country of gold”, in southern Egypt, very close from the place where the Nile cuts to the Tropic of Cancer. A little further north, on the island of Phile, was the great sanctuary of the goddess Isis. The temple of Debod indirectly formed part of that sanctuary, although its cult was dedicated to the god Amun of Debod.
Transfer of the temple to Spain
In 1960, a rescue group for Nubian monuments was established in Spain. It was called the Spanish Committee and its director was the Spanish professor and archaeologist Martín Almagro Basch, who collaborated in the excavation of the Nubian deposits in Egypt and Sudan. However, the excavation works in the site occupied by the Debod temple were not carried out by the Spanish Committee, but by the Egyptian Antiquities Service and a team from the Polish Archaeological Mission. Unesco commissioned the work of copying all the inscriptions of the temple to the Egyptologists François Daumas and Philippe Derchain.
Once the temple was dismantled in 1961, it was taken to Elephantine Island, next to Aswan, the ancient Siena. There most of the stone blocks remained until April 1970, when they again traveled; this time, towards Alexandria. On June 6 of that year, the packed boxes containing the blocks of the temple of Debod were shipped in the ship Benisa and arrived at the port of Valencia (Spain) on the 18th of that same month. From Valencia they were transported by truck to Madrid, where they were stored on the site of the old Cuartel de la Montaña, destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.
The task of the Spanish archaeologists under the direction of Martín Almagro was difficult, since the Antiquities Service of Egypt only delivered a plan and a sketch of the elevation of the monument, along with some photographs without reference of any kind. More than a hundred blocks had lost the numbering and many fragments had a mark that did not correspond to the plane. Finally, after several hesitations, the reconstruction of the temple was an anastilosis, which re-erected the hypostyle façade (that is, supported by columns), lost since the 19th century, and closed the mammisi on its eastern side.
Visit the Temple of Debod
The temple is surrounded by gardens and there are many people who take advantage of the place to picnic, practice yoga or relax in their gardens. Our favorite time to visit the Temple of Debod is at sunset, when the sunset dyes the temple of golden colors before nightfall wraps its gentle and pleasant lighting.
It is possible to access the interior of the temple, at some times. Although it is not as well preserved as the temples of Egypt, admission is free and it is worth it, especially if you have not visited Egypt. Inside you can find information about Egyptian mythology and society as well as interesting explanations about hieroglyphics.
Useful / Tourist Information
|Address||Calle Ferraz, 1, 28008 Madrid. MAP|
|How to get||Metro
Plaza de España (L2, L3, L10), Ventura Rodríguez (L3)
1, 2, 74, 25, 39, 46, 75, 138, C1, 3, 44, 133, 148, C2
Train / Cercanías
|Schedule||Tu – Su and holidays 10:00hs – 20:00hs|