Debod Temple

Debod Temple
Debod Temple

The well-known temple of Debod is today one of the most visited monuments by tourists from all over the world in the capital of Spain, although it is true that today no one is surprised to find large art collections egyptian scattered throughout the world the history of this temple goes beyond the plundering. In 1968 the Egyptian state decided to donate four temples to different countries that had collaborated in protecting the Nubian temples after the construction of the Aswan Dam; In this way, the United States received the Temple of Dendur, the Netherlands that of Taffa, Italy the temple of Ellesiya and Spain received that of Debod.


It seems that originally this temple must have been built during the reign of Ptolemy IV Philopator but its decoration and ornament would correspond to the reign of Meroe; With these data we could establish a construction date around the year 200 BC. but in fact some art historians raise the possibility that the temple even predates the time of the Meroitic king Adikhalamani.

Since ancient times Debod had been a place of worship, archaeological excavations tell us about the remains, today buried under the waters of the Nile, of a first temple that was surely dedicated to the gods of the waterfall Satis and Jnum.; We also have evidence of a second building that we do not know with certainty.accuracy his divinity while the temple that concerns us here would be dedicated to the god Amun.

In the sixties the temple of Debod was dismantled stone by stone by the Egyptian authorities and after passing through the cities of Alexandria and Elephantine, the huge sandstone blocks that made it up arrived at the port of Valencia from where they moved by road to Madrid. Currently, the building that we can see has undergone numerous restorations and interventions with respect to the original work.

The oldest part corresponds to what is known as the Chapel of the reliefs, in it you can see numerous reliefs -which originally must have been polychrome- of Pharaoh Adikhalamani rendering worship of the gods. The influence of the artistic techniques of the island of Filé seem undeniable in the temple of Debod, as well as its strict hierarchical composition.

The Mammisi room is considered by experts to be the last Egyptian part of the temple, the rest being Roman additions. Despite its name, experts say that the room was not conceived for this purpose (the mammisi was the room where the birth of a god was celebrated).

Already from Roman times we find part of it as a pronaos or vestibule of which only a few original remains remain and in which reliefs and decorations from the time of Augustus were supposed to be found and Tiberius. Originally the temple had two naos or main chapels but in the 19th century it was destroyed and today only the one dedicated tothe gods Isis and Amun.

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