Monumental Madrid

This month we are enjoying city life in monumental Madrid. Resting peacefully amid the hubbub of the city stand impressive statues, fountains, and memorials that beautifully exhibit Madrid’s history and position in the world.

Metropolis Metro

Madrid’s Metropolis Building

With an official population of over three million, the sprawling metropolis of Madrid is the third largest city in the European Union. Located in the geographic center of the Iberian Peninsula, Madrid is also the center of Spain’s government and monarchy.

Colon

Monument to Christopher Columbus

Because of its central location, King Felipe II made Madrid the capital of the Spanish Empire in 1561. He also established Madrid as the seat of the Spanish monarchy to administer the wealth coming in from its overseas colonies.

Plaza Mayor

Equestrian statue of Habsburg King Felipe III in the Plaza Mayor

Felipe II and his royal Habsburg descendants built lavish palaces, and constructed many of the buildings and plazas of Madrid’s central district. Invariably, statues befitting of their bloodline were installed in the most conspicuous locations around the city.

Alfonso XII statue

Monument of Bourbon King Alfonso XII in Retiro Park

When the Bourbon royal family displaced the Habsburgs in the beginning of the 18th century, they raised their own self-serving statues and monuments. Today, the Bourbons remain Spain’s ruling family despite losing Spain’s oversees empire and being forced into exile during the 20th century dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

Victory arch.jpg

Franco’s Victory Arch commemorating his triumph in the Spanish Civil War

Naturally, Franco built his own memorials to himself, and his triumph in the Spanish Civil War. Owing to Franco’s atrocious human rights record; however, the country has removed most of the statues and monuments honoring him and his fascist government.

Don Q

Monument to Miguel de Cervantes

Instead, Madrid prefers to memorialize its sense of beauty and admiration of literature and fine art. In addition to its world-famous art museums, Madrid is also a veritable museum of urban sculpture.

Plaza Espana

Fountain of the Birth of Water in Plaza de España

Artistic statue fountains fill Madrid’s open-air plazas and line its stately tree-lined boulevards. Besides forming well-known city landmarks, these public works of art provide relaxing places to sit and take a break.

Sol Bear

Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree in Plaza del Sol

Here in the center of Spain, we are enjoying the commotion and activity of city life. As we explore the history, arts, and culture of the capital, we appreciate these peaceful and pensive places, and the statues, fountains, and memorials of monumental Madrid.

Hercules fountain

Fountain of Neptune

Feature Image: Madrid’s iconic Fountain of Cibeles and Palace of Cybele

8 thoughts on “Monumental Madrid

  1. It always amazes me how people build such monuments to themselves, although they do provide a fascinating insight into a place’s history. And I love how there are so many sculptures, fountains and public places dedicated to art as well. Thanks for sharing the photos…Madrid is gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, Ann. People have been building monuments to themselves for a long time. The Pharaoh’s pyramids in Egypt may be some of the oldest. Maybe many of these self-serving monuments are built by insecure leaders who want to scare enemies with the monument’s powerful physical presence? History is also full of narcissistic leaders who are so self-obsessed that they build monuments to make themselves look superior.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have visited Madrid about 30 years ago, I think is time to visit again. It is a beautiful capital with so much history, culture, architecture. For some reason what I remember the most are all the beautiful fountains. Is staying in the capital of Spain a lot more expensive than it was in the countryside? Was it easy to find good accomodation? Sounds like you are having a great time😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I will remember the fountains the most too, Gilda. Our month in Madrid has been fun and interesting. We felt that we wanted to spend time in the capital city to better understand Spain. There are a lot of rental apartments available here, but those within our budget are smaller and older than the rentals we found in the countryside. The place we rented in Madrid is $1,500 for the month through AirBnb. It is about 3 miles north of the city center and a three minute walk to the metro. It is simple but fully equipped and comfortable, and is working out beautifully for us.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Dave, Thanks for taking time out from your blog to let me know your thoughts about monumental Madrid. Today, in Retiro Park, we found one of the world’s only statues of the devil. Talk about brass!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Christi. The first picture is breathtaking. The fountain of Cibeles is a Madrid landmark and where Real Madrid soccer fans gather to celebrate their victories. The building is the Cybele Palace, but it used to be the main post office. I remember going inside in 1984 to mail post cards.

      Liked by 1 person

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