ARTS & CULTURE

Madrid's Temple Of Debod Takes You Back To Ancient Egypt In The Middle Of A European City (PHOTOS)

04/12/2014 08:09 am ET | Updated Apr 12, 2014

Walking through Spain's capital, you would expect to see historic buildings and cultural sites. But step into Madrid's Cuartel de la Montaña park and one monument stands out among the city's treasures.

The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian edifice that now resides in Madrid thanks to UNESCO. Threatened by the Aswan High Dam Project, the temple and other historical monuments escaped destruction and were rebuilt stone by stone in various sites around the world.

The Temple of Debod opened to the public in Madrid in 1972 on the 19th century military site, Cuartel de la Montaña, which had undergone its own transformation to become a park.

The Temple of Debod was first built by a sovereign of the kingdom of Meroe named Adijalamani. It was originally dedicated to 'Amon of Debod', an ancient Egyptian deity revered as the king of the gods, before being replaced by the cult of Isis.

According to legend, every June marked the start of a new year and coincided with dawn emergence of the star Sirius. Egyptian priests reportedly took this as a sign from Isis marking the impending flooding of the Nile. The priests would then process with a statue of the goddess to the chapel of Osiris to make offerings for the new year.

Now more than 3,000 miles from its birthplace, the Temple of Debod stands in full glory, casting its majestic reflection into the water below and around it. It is an anachronism that brings world together, across time and space.

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