The Temple of Debod is one of the main tourist attractions of Madrid. Of Egyptian origin, it is estimated that it is more than 2.200 years old. It was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2008 and has been part of the Historical Heritage of Spain since then. Here we show you the schedules, the most comfortable means of transport to get there and the activities that are usually organized.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
In its origins, the famous Temple of Debod de Madrid was located at South of Egypt, specifically in Lower Nubia, very close to the great religious center created in honor of the goddess Isis on the island of Filé. It is estimated that it is currently 2.220 years old.
This area of the Ancient Egypt, bordering the kingdom of Meroe, was during the Ptolemaic era the subject of dispute between the Egyptian rulers and the Meroites. All of this took place approximately until the XNUMXst century BC, when the Romans finally established the border at Maharraqa.
The construction of the Temple of Debod began in the XNUMXnd century BC by order of King Adujalamani of Meroe.
Thanks to him, the chapels that are preserved today were erected in honor of the gods Amun of Debod and Isis. In fact, it is thanks to this chapel that today there is documentation about the existence of this monarch.
It was during the era of Ptolemy VII and Ptolemy XII that the two existing tabernacles were built o naoi dedicated to the goddess Isis and Amun de Debod.
Finally when Egypt was annexed to Roman empireIt was the emperors Augustus, Tiberius and Hadrian, although the presence of the latter is doubtful, who finished decorating the vestibule of the temple. They also added a special chapel called mammisi.
However, the closure of the sanctuaries dedicated to Isis on the island of Filé during the XNUMXth century meant the abandonment of the temple until several centuries later.
Transfer to Madrid
Already in the contemporary era, specifically in 1960, the construction of the Aswan Great Dam.
The resulting large artificial lake, with its more than 500 km in length, meant the disappearance of the various monuments and archaeological sites in the Lower Nubia area, including the Temple of Debod, which would remain submerged forever in its waters.
Faced with such a situation, Sudan and Egypt made a request to the UNESCO to make an international appeal to collaborate among all for the conservation and rescue of temples, monuments and archaeological sites in danger.
The result was satisfactory, so Egypt decided to give away four of the saved temples to those countries that had contributed the most to conservation efforts. Thus, Spain was one of these countries and in 1968 it received the Temple of Debod in the form of gratitude for the help provided.
The other three temples were donated to other partner nations: the Dendur Temple to the United States (one found at the Metropolitan Museum de NY), Ellesiya in Italy (Egyptian Museum in Turin) and Taffa in the Netherlands (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden of Leiden).
It was not until 1970 when the ashlars reached the capital of Spain or, what is the same, Madrid. Once in the country, they were installed on the site of the old Cuartel de la Montaña. The Temple went through a process of reconstruction prior to its opening to the public in 1972. It was placed so that it maintained its original orientation, that is, from east to west.
Currently, the Temple of Debod is one of the main tourist attractions in Madrid, as well as one of the few complete architectural testimonies that can be observed outside of Egypt. Furthermore, it is the only temple of these characteristics existing in Spain.
How to arrive
The Temple of Debod is located in Madrid and is the only temple of Egyptian origin that can be found in Spain. It is located in the famous Plaza of Spain in Madrid, next to Paseo del Pintor Rosales, specifically in Parque del Oeste, an area where the Cuartel de la Montaña was located, a military building that was inaugurated in 1972.
The temple is very close to the main shopping streets of the city: Gran Vía and Calle Princesa. In addition, in its vicinity there are other museums such as the Cerralbo Museum, the Royal Palace or the Hermitage of San Antonio, among others.
The Temple of Debod can be reached by various means of transport. Accessing it is very easy on foot if we are in places like Gran Vía, the Royal Palace or even the North Station. It can also be reached by metro from the Plaza de España station (lines 3 and 10) or Ventura Rodríguez (line 3).
If you prefer to move around Madrid by bus, there are several lines that stop near the Temple of Debod. Line 74 stops at Ferraz street, just in front of the temple, and also at Pintor Rosales street. If you travel on lines 25, 39, 46, 75, 138 or C1, the closest stop is San Vicente-Cadarso. Lines 3, 44, 133, 148 and C2 stop in the Plaza de España and lines 1, 2 and 74 in Princesa-Ventura Rodríguez.
It can be accessed by RENFE commuter train from the Príncipe Pío Station, although, as we said, if you prefer you can walk there in a few minutes. Another option is route 1 of the tourist bus, specifically stop 10 called "Templo de Debod".
If you move by car, you should know that the temple is located in an area of Madrid in regulated parking, so you must pay the rate corresponding to the hours in which your vehicle will remain parked. Rates may vary depending on dates and day of the week.
The building and its surroundings
The temple is currently restored and its different rooms and rooms can be visited. However, to see it from the outside and enjoy the views in their maximum splendor, it is recommended to do it at sunset.
It is also advisable to approach to contemplate it during the sunset or at night to see the beautiful reflection of the temple on the pond and each of its illuminated parts. The lighting schedule is at 21:30 p.m.
The main rooms of the temple are two: first, the Adijalamani chapel or the reliefs and, secondly, the Mammisi, which literally means place of birth in Coptic language:
- Chapel of Adijalamani: it is the architectural nucleus of the sanctuary and the oldest part preserved. Its state of conservation is acceptable. It is decorated with various scenes representing the king worshiping the gods and offering sacrifices. It is a chapel dedicated to the god Amun de Debod, who is worshiped with Isis, Hathor, Horus, Osiris, etc.
- Mammisi: it is the room where the goddess venerated in the temple gave birth to. This is the reason why it has been given the name of mammisi or place of birth, although recent research suggests that it may have been a room intended for other purposes.
Other dependencies of tourist interest are the lobby, the anteroom of the nos, the room of naoi, the south corridor, the Osiriaca chapel and the chapels of the head, the crypts, the wabet (place of purification of the priests) and the terrace, where the New Year's Ritual used to be celebrated in the Ancient Egypt.
Visiting the Temple of Debod in its entirety can take you around 45 minutes or 1 hour at most. At the end of your visit, there are endless activities and places near the temple that you can visit, since it is located in the heart of the capital of Spain.
In the first place, the gardens of the Parque del Oeste (where the temple is located) are a quiet area through which you can walk and enjoy the viewpoint with views of the area of the House, the largest public park in the municipality of Madrid. In it are the Madrid Amusement Park, the zoo, the cable car, the Madrid Arena pavilion, etc. Many are those who practice yoga or tai chi in their gardens.
You can also walk to Madrid's Gran Vía, the city's largest commercial area and one of the main streets of Madrid, without forgetting the section that goes from Plaza de Callao to Plaza de España, known as the Madrid Broadway for its many cinemas and theaters. Here you can also find the main international fashion chains.
Entrance, schedules and activities
The entrance to the Temple of Debod is participation for all visitors regardless of the time of year you are going to visit. The temple is closed every Monday, as well as on December 24 and 31, holidays on January 1 and 6, and December 25 (Christmas).
Temple hours and the opening of rooms may change for various reasons, so it is advisable to confirm them by phone. In any case, the general schedule is as follows:
- From October 1 to March 31: Tuesday to Friday from 9:45 a.m. to 13:45 p.m. and from 16:15 p.m. to 18:15 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9:30 a.m. to 20:00 p.m.
- From the 1 of April to the 30 of September: Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 14:00 p.m. and from 18:00 p.m. to 20:00 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9:30 a.m. to 20:00 p.m.
Although, as we have already indicated above, the entrance is totally free, the reservation is mandatory for visits of groups of more than 10 people and when it comes to activities with educational purposes, such as school visits. Due to security measures, the maximum capacity is 50 people.
The temple has several programs of Didactic activities dedicated mainly to the little ones. For example, the program Debod in Family It is intended for both parents and children between 5 and 12 years old. There are also workshops for school groups (from 3 to 12 years old). The goal is for the children to learn about the culture of Ancient Egypt.
The Temple of Debod is currently not adapted for disabled people, so circulation inside it is difficult for these visitors. This is due to its own internal structure, whose areas and rooms are small, with narrow corridors and various barriers.
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