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Biblical Archaeology Review 46:5, Winter 2020

Strata: Where is It?

Where Is It?

A. Egypt

B. Israel

C. Sudan

D. Spain

E. U.S.A.

Answer: (D) Spain

The Temple of Debod is located currently within the Parque de la Montaña in Madrid, Spain. Originally, it stood in ancient Nubia, about 10 miles south of Aswan, Egypt, but the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s threatened the temple’s survival. Had it stayed in place, it would have been covered by the dam’s reservoir (Lake Nasser). As an expression of gratitude for Spain’s help in raising funds to preserve the temples of this region, Egypt gifted the temple to Spain in 1968.

Adikhalamani (Tabriqo), a Cushite king of Meroë, built the Temple of Debod in the second century B.C.E. and dedicated it to the god Amun. It began as a single-room sanctuary, but it was expanded (to c. 40 by 50 ft) under Ptolemaic rule and was rededicated to Isis. Later, Roman emperors contributed to its decorations as well.

In connection with the international rescue campaign to salvage the monuments threatened by the Aswan Dam, Egypt also gifted temples to other European countries and the U.S.A. The first-century B.C.E. Temple of Dendur has been relocated to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), the first-century C.E. Temple of Taffeh resides within the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) in Leiden, the Netherlands, and the mid-15th-century B.C.E. rock-cut Temple of Ellesyia can be found in the Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum) in Turin, Italy.

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