The Templo de Debod, or Temple of Debod, is an ancient Egyptian temple bizarrely out of place in the heart of Madrid, near the Plaza de España.
Gifted from Egypt to Spain in 1968 in thanks for Spain’s contributions to saving historic sites that would be flooded when the Aswan High Dam was completed, it originally stood in Egypt’s Nile Valley since the 4th century BCE, dedicated to the Egyptian gods Amun and Isis.
The temple is located in the middle of a pleasant park, Parque de la Montaña, and surrounded by a pool that reflects its image. It is striking by day and famously magnificent at sunset. The park is on a hilltop allowing for panoramic views of Madrid.
By day, tourists frequent the temple while noisy wild quaker parakeets originally from Argentina shriek in the tops of the surrounding chestnut trees. At night, a different crowd arrives: young people drinking in preparation for a night on the town. Vendors snake through clumps of 20-somethings sitting on the grass to offer cans of beer for a couple of euros—mildly illegal, but apparently without repercussion. The temple is lit golden at night, shining beautifully over this buzzing scene, and the lights of the royal palace are visible in the distance.
Any time of night or day is appropriate for a visit to the Templo de Debod. Admission to this outdoor monument is free, and photography is permitted—in fact, some hold that there is no better place to photograph the sunset.
Know Before You Go
The temple is a short walk from the Plaza de España metro stop.