Let’s start at the very beginning….
For 2,200 years, up until the 1960s, the Temple of Debod stood near the Nile river in Egypt.
But by the middle of the 20th century, after two millennia of annual floods, the Egyptians decided to tame the Nile, with the construction of the Aswan High Dam. A problem: The resulting reservoir would leave 22 significant monuments and archaeological sites under water.
UNESCO organized a rescue. Some of the sites were relocated within Egypt, and four of them were given to countries that contributed to the scheme. The US, for instance, was given the Temple of Dendur, which was sent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York.
Madrid got the Temple of Debod.
And that’s where I began my exploration of the city.
The temple sits in a large, beautifully landscaped park in central Madrid. Unlike the temple at the Met, at the Temple of Debod you can actually enter—but not photograph—the bare inner rooms. That made for a much more intense experience.
A perfect start to my visit!