You would not expect to see an Egyptian obelisk right in the middle of bustling European metropolitan, yet Temple of Debod, tucked away uphill some hundred meters away from the Royal Palace, has become a popular tourist attraction in Spain’s capital.
Built in the 2nd century B.C., as a dedication to the goddess Isis, the Temple originally stood in the Neil valley, not far from the town of Aswan in southern Egypt. In 1960, when the construction of the Great Dam of Aswan threatened the existence of several historical and archaeological sites, UNESCO sought for help from leading European countries ‑ Spain being one of them.
As a token of gratitude, the Egyptian government donated the Temple of Debod to Spain and in 1969, the dismounted monument had arrived to the Port of Valencia to be later transported by train to Madrid. There, it was rebuilt, stone by stone, on a picturesque hill overlooking Guadarrama Mountains.
Today, other than being an important cultural site, the Temple and blooming gardens surrounding it serve as a splendid spot for picnics and as an oasis for tranquility with breathtaking views.