Who would have thought there would be an ancient Egyptian temple right smack dab in the middle of Spain’s capital, Madrid? I definitely didn’t. I stumbled across the Templo de Debod (Temple of Debod in English) while I was studying abroad in Madrid a couple years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite spots in Madrid. Of course, I had to take Sant to the Temple of Debod while we were in Madrid and show him (in my opinion) one of the most unique monuments in the city.
So, I’ll back up for a second and explain to you just how this ancient Egyptian temple ended up in the heart of a Spanish city. The Temple of Debod was originally built in southern Egypt near Aswan in the 2nd century BC. In 1960, the temple was in danger of being destroyed due to other construction nearby, so UNESCO made the decision to save this rich historical monument. The Egyptian state chose to donate the Temple of Debod to Spain in 1968 as a token of gratitude for Spain’s help in saving the temples of Abu Simbel. The ancient Egyptian temple was rebuilt in one of Madrid’s most beautiful parks, Parque del Oeste (West Park in English), near the Royal Palace.
Okay, I think that’s enough of a history lesson for today. Standing around gazing at an ancient Egyptian temple is pretty cool, but what’s even better is you can go inside the temple! The best part is admission is free (who doesn’t love free?). The Temple of Debod really is situated in one of the best spots in Madrid. Right in the middle of Parque del Oeste, the temple is constantly surrounded by power walking moms, laughing children, and groups of friends getting their daily dose of exercise. It’s the perfect place to grab a seat in the shade and people watch for hours, but don’t forget to bring some snacks! Not only is the temple constantly surrounded by friendly locals, but the temple is situated on a hill and looks out over Casa de Campo (Madrid’s biggest park) which makes it the ideal spot to watch the sunset.
Some of my favorite nights in Madrid were spent surrounded by friends, chatting and people watching as we waited for the sun to dip lower in the sky. Perched on top of the hill, we had the perfect view as the sun painted hues of yellows and oranges across the sky with the Templo de Debod towered behind us. If you’re looking for a relaxing evening after a long day sightseeing in Madrid, then don’t miss watching the sun set over Casa de Campo as an ancient Egyptian temple stands eerily next to you. It’s quite a unique experience and one I would recommend to anyone headed to Madrid.
- The temple is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm and weekdays 6 pm to 8 pm. Closed Mondays.
- Admission to the temple is free
- Address: Calle Ferraz, 1, 28008 Madrid, Spain (Parque del Oeste)
Have you been to the Temple de Debod? Where is your favorite spot to watch the sunset in Madrid? Share your thoughts in the comments below! I would love to hear what you think.