The city of Debod lied on the northern frontier of Lower Nubia, a short distance from Philae and Elephantine. Debod probably had a small sanctuary devoted to Amun during the New Kingdom, but only two fragments with the name of Pharaoh Seti II have been preserved. Perhaps the Egyptian name of this monument, "ta hut" or "the residence", was at the origin of the town’s name: "city of the temple".

Fragmento del sillar
Fragment ashlar

Over the remains of this ancient temple, King Adijalamani of Meroë built a small chapel devoted to the god Amun of Debod and the goddess Isis of Philae in the early 2nd century B.C. Like his predecessor Arqamani had done a few years earlier, Adijalamani took advantage of the rebellion of Southern Egypt against Ptolemy IV and Ptolemy V to extend his area of influence to Lower Nubia and support the Theban rebels. Arqamani and Adijalamani built several temples and monuments at different locations in Lower Nubia, including Philae Island.

The chapel built by Adijalamani forms the original nucleus of Debod Temple. Its walls are decorated with reliefs showing the Meroitic king as an Egyptian pharaoh in the act of making offerings to the gods.

Capilla Adijalamani
Adijalamani Chapel

The original appearance of the chapel was very different from the present one, since the walls and ceiling were decorated with brightly coloured paintings. These paintings were definitely lost in the early 20th century, when the temple was submerged under the Aswan Lake.