It doesn’t quite fit. It’s not quite natural. It’s obviously not an original part of the face of the city. And yet it seems to have settled in quite nicely. It seems to be becoming part of the general aura of the place, to be peacefully fitting itself to the niche it has been given. “It” is the Temple of Debod; the city, Madrid.
The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian artifact and a relatively new inhabitant of the Spanish capital. It was gifted in the late 60s as a thank-you for some sort of support that Spain lent Egypt in the archeological/conservational arena, and installed in a beautiful little park just north of El Palacio Real. Now it sits at the peak of a hill, with the lights of the city sparkling beneath it at night, and the trees of the park respectfully retreating into the pathways and grass that grace the hillsides.
It was beautiful last night when I went walking through with a friend. Laid out east to west, the temple was perfectly lit up, its reflection shimmering on the water of the pool that surrounds it. We admired the nighttime effect, listening to the calm sound of the fountain at the far end and taking in the softening drape of shadows on the edges and corners of ancient stone. It was peaceful, lovely.
I’ve heard that it’s absolutely THE best spot to see the sunset in Madrid. And during the day, the main part is open for viewing – you get to go inside! Of course, this means that I’ll have to go back at least twice, once during the day and once during sunset, but I don’t think that’ll be much of a hardship. After all, who can complain about having to see a beautiful sight more than once?