No, you don’t have the wrong town, nor the wrong country. It is strangely enough to find in Madrid an ancient Egyptian temple dedicated to Amon-Ra. But there is one.
You are probably expecting us to tell you where is the catch: like it is a set, or that is was made out of plaster by some craftsmen from the area or something like that. Well, we are sorry, but there is no catch! It’s a temple made of pure stone, created by the amazing Egyptian civilisation a couple of centuries BC. Even better, it was built initially beside the Nile.
The fact is, the sanctuary of Debod was already standing when Queen Cleopatra combed her hair and put on makeup making a trend up to this days, and while Rome was taking control of all territories. So it is to one of the Roman emperors, perhaps Augustus, or maybe Tiberius, to whom we owe this monument.
Years passed, and that marvel of the temple would be closed, like other places of pagan worship, at the dawn of the Middle Ages. And it was left like that, sadly abandoned, watching the centuries pass, until in the nineteenth century the Europeans arrived, crazy to unearth and rediscover all those piles of stones that seemed out of this world.
But shortly after the twentieth century started, the real problems for this building began. It was decided to build a dam on the Nile, which meant that the unique archaeological heritage of the Nubian area would be submerged under water for a good part of the year. Undoubtedly the final straw for the Temple of Debod, which was already severely damaged.
The project of a new dam in Aswan that would flood the whole region forever was announced, and the alarms went off. UNESCO quickly organised a campaign to save the ancient treasures, and in 1964, the Spanish State asked Egypt for the donation of this temple, whose stones had already been stacked in an orderly manner in an island. The Egyptian government accepted, and the ancient fragments of the sanctuary travelled by barge on the Nile, on a freighter by sea and in trucks on Spanish lands, until arriving in Madrid. The temple was rebuilt in the old site of the Cuartel de la Montaña and surrounded by gardens.
And this how today, you have before you an original temple from mysterious Egypt planted in Madrid soil. Do not hesitate to enter and walk where probably Augustus Ceasar and Cleopatra did while fooling around like two teenagers in love.