Temple de Debod started life in Egypt in the 2nd century BC. Over the years it was extended by various kings and Roman invaders, before being sealed and abandoned as religion changed from Egyptian gods to Christianity in the 6th century AD. Fast forward to 1960, and following the construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt, several temples were now at risk of being flooded. UNESCO stepped in to save some of them, and on that list: Temple de Debod. As a thanks to Spain for their help in saving other temples, Egypt donated the Temple to them.
In 1968, the move was made.
Just a short walk from the Royal Palace in Madrid, Parque del Oeste was chosen to be the new home of the temple. Temple de Debod was rebuilt in the square, and although some argue the gateways are in a different order than originally, it is the only piece of Egyptian architecture that can be seen in Spain.
These days, you can walk around the outside of the temple at your leisure. The path under the stone gateways is open when the temple interior is, and although both are free to visit, the interior might have a queue as, unsurprisingly, there’s only so much space inside an old Egyptian temple.
Not only is there a huge amount of history with the temple, and the fact it’s the only Egyptian architecture in Spain, but one of the highlights of a visit here is a Temple de Debod sunset. As the sun sets over the mountains in the distance, the viewpoint behind Temple de Debod fills up with people coming to watch the sky change and the sun dip down behind the mountain range. As darkness falls, the temple is lit up and looks stunning.
To get the most out of your visit, I’d recommend coming at the end of the day to be able to see the detail of the building in the daylight, watch the sunset and then soak up the beauty of the temple illuminated at night.
How To Find Temple de Debod
It’s about a 20-minute walk from Sol or Plaza Mayor to Parque del Oeste. If you’re coming from further away (or just don’t feel like walking) then the closest metro stations are Plaza de España or Ventura Rodriguez. Further information on opening times through the year can be found here.