Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Temple of Debod, Madrid

One of the popular ancient Egyptian architectural legacy is the obelisk. It's a phallic symbol, and an ultimate representation of male power. Most countries in the West embrace the obelisks with both hands (in almost all cases, 2 hands won't be big enough). You couldn't go far in tourist sites without running into one. The Washington Monument is the ultimate of this ultimate symbol. It's YUGE (as Donald Trump would say).

Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain
Templo de Debod

Egyptian temple, on the other hand, is as hard to find in Europe as a hen's tooth (or a Buddhist monk's comb, or n ashtray on a bike). And Spain is lucky to have one. This is a gift from Egypt to Spain for their help in saving Abu Simbel temples from being submerged after the building of Aswan Dam.

I've seen postcards showing the YUGE statue of Abul Simbel being lifted by crane. At the time, i didn't know who was responsible for those big engineering feats. Now i know. So if Spain could move those huge structures, it would be a cinch for them to move these relatively small temples from Egypt to Spain. One might imagine.

Needless to say, the best time to go there is just before dusk. The photos below should convince you why. Especially if you're on a date and want to fall in love with the aid of a daily weather phenomenon. It's free. Both the sunset and the admission to the park, and the love for your other half of the cartwheel (you pay after marriage. Romance works like a credit card: enjoy now, pay later. I think sex works the same way).

Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain
In the dawn, the Sun's rays will penetrate the temple through the 2 stone slits.
Why the 2 stone slits? Double slits experiment? The Ancient Alien Theorists say yes! (They always say yes)

Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain

Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain

Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain

Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain

Most tourists go to the back of the temple to shoot the setting sun (implying that the temple is facing east, the direction of the rising Sun, which makes perfect sense for an Egyptian temple. Ancient Egyptian religion was based on the Sun (and worshiped Sun god Ra) because of the dominance of the Sun in the desert. It both gives and destroys lives. The ultimate arbitrator of all living things in ancient Egypt. In the Bible, there's a saying, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away..." In ancient Egypt, the Sun is the Lord.

So this temple's axis would logically align east-west direction to reflect the rising and setting of the Sun that parallels the cycle of Life and Death). I too went there to join the crowd and shot the sunset away from the temple (who wants to be left behind?).

Of course, apart from this romantic and symbolic meaning of the East-facing temple, there's always a more practical consideration. Before the invention of artificial light like florescent tubes, natural light from the sun is naturally the only choice. You don't want to worship in the dark (if you know what i mean).

Sunset, Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain

It's a nice sunset photo, but without any distinguishing features. This could be taken anywhere in the world.

It's slightly more interesting to shoot towards the sunset in front of the water fountain. Oh, you didn't notice there was a fountain?

Sunset with fountain, Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain

Sunset with fountain, Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain

Don't forget to shoot (or admire) other parts of the park. They too have their own charms and allures.

Reflection Pool, Sunset with fountain, Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain

Lamppost, Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain Park, Temple of Debod, Madrid, Spain

Cerralbo Museum, Madrid, Spain
Museum Cerralbo located across the street from the Temple

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