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Parque del Oeste (Parque Montaña)

A quiet, leafy park with (!?) an ancient Egyptian temple in Madrid, Spain

In the middle of the quiet, leafy green park on the western side of Madrid above the Royal Palace sits something most unexpected: a 2,200-year-old Egyptian temple consisting of a series of solitary stone gates leading to a small temple, all of it surrounded by a shallow rectangular pool of water.

This Temple of Debod—started in the second century BC and dedicated to the goddess Isis—was a gift to Spain from Egypt for the aid of Spanish engineers in moving Abu Simbel out of the way of the floodwaters created by the Aswan Dam in 1960. The dam inundated a large swathe of the Upper Nile Valley, and would have submerged not only Abu Simbel, but Debob and many other ancient temples had they not been taken apart, moved, and painstakingly reconstructed stone-by-stone. (Similar fates saved the Temple of Philae, above Aswan itself—like Abu Simbel, it did not have to be moved very far—and the famed Temple of Dendur, now in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.)

Be sure to pop inside the temple and view the hieroglyphics close up (it's now free). If you happen to be up here during siesta and must wait for it to reopen, I can personally attest that the surrounding grassy park makes a pleasant, cool spot to take a nap during the heat of a Spanish summer.

Templo de Debod
Closed Mondays, siesta, and weekends after two.
Admission: free.
Paseo Pintor Rosales, (Parque del Oeste).
Metro: Ventura Rodríguez
Tel. 91-366-7415


Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in August 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.