Cibeles and Alcalà one two punch in Calle Alcalà of Madrid!

Ok so this is the Madrid of my younger days, the Madrid of bringing my girlfriend, and later wife, the Madrid of bringing my kids growing older with time. Madrid is and will be a hole on the sky to look down on the city every day! On sunny days, cold days, rainy days, snow days , Madrid is awesome ,full of memories and great times. With time my dear late wife Martine came to love it too as do my boys.

I have written pieces of it in other blog posts, but none that I can read were just on them. These are the main symbols of Madrid in my opinion, but maybe I am biased as they were and are my home. I lived not far from them and past them every day back then, and at every occasion passing by Madrid now even in summer vacations.

I am talking of the Plaza de Cibeles and it’s fountain of same name as well as the Puerta de Alcalà gate.  I have written two previous blog posts on them in grouping, these are

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/12/madridpuerta-de-alcala-and-fuente-de-cibeles/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/21/madrid-puerta-del-sol-y-cibeles/

The Plaza de Cibeles is located at the union of the districts of Centro, Retiro, and Salamanca and the intersection of the Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo del Prado . The Square is cross by the Calle de Alcalà . Before, it was called the Madrid square or Plaza de Madrid, then rename Plaza Castelar in 1900 until finally getting the current name after the end of the Spanish Civil War 1939.

On the Western side of the square you have the initial traject of the Calle de Alcalà, widen to later include the Gran Via. The Metropolis building and the Circulo de Bellas Artes as well as the Instituto Cervantes are some of the notable buildings you can see from the square. On the Eastern side once reaching the square and the Calle de Alcalà, upward bound you have a better view of the Puerta de Alcalà that is in the near square of independence or Plaza de la Independencia.

Madrid

In the Plaza de Cibeles you have the famous fountain of Cibeles or Fuente de Cibeles; representing the Greek goddess of Cybil a work of architect Ventura Rodriguez and sculptors Francisco Gutierrez Arribas for the Cibeles figure, and Roberto Michel for the lions, Miguel Jimenez for the decoration elements of the chariot. The fountain was built between 1777 and 1782 in front of the palace of Buenavista. The fountain was put here in 1895 showing the Greek goddess Cibeles of fertility ,holding a scepter and a key while being pulled by two lions on a chariot.  The pull of the wild lions symbolize the power of nature or of the goddess; the figures took about 10K kg of stones and three different artists.

Madrid

The Spanish football (soccer) team Real Madrid has unofficially adopted the fountain. It is used as a meeting point for its fans and often for the players themselves whenever the team wins the Spanish league ,Spanish King’s Cup or the Champions League. And this happens often as the team is the best ever ,mine, excuse me.

Other emblematic buildings around the square are the before mentioned Palacio de Buenavista on the northwest angle of the square built in 1777 holding the general hq of the army. Also, the Palacio de Linares on the northeast side completed in 1900 and it houses since 1992 the House of America or Casa de América a cultural institution for the American continent. The Palacio de Comunicaciones  (aka Palacio de Cibeles) built in 1909 on orders of king Alfonso XIII to house the seat of the post office of Spain with an imposing façade on the south east side of the square. Since 2007, it is centro cibeles or the city hall of Madrid.

Madrid

Madrid

Madrid

There is the building of the Banco de España or Bank of Spain with long facades along the Calle de Alcalà and Paseo del Prado, housing since 1981 the principal seat of the Bank of Spain.

Madrid

The Puerta de Alcalà is one of the five old gates for entry into Madrid. It is at the Plaza de la Independencia or independence square facing the Retiro Park (my old entry point to the center of Madrid in my days there) . The gate was built on the orders of King Charles III to replace an old gate that existed since the 16C. The Italian architect Francesco Sabatini was chosen by the king himself to do the gate. The work began in 1769 and continued until the inauguration in 1778.  This is the first triumphal arc built in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire, making it the forerunner of the Arc de Triomphe of Paris or the Brandenburg Gate of Berlin. The gate allowed the entrance in Madrid to travelers from Aragon, Catalonia and France.

MAdrid Madrid

The neoclassical-style Puerta de Alcalà has a width of  about 44 meters and culminates at 22 meters in height. The structure of the gate is made of granite from the quarries of Colmenar Viejo, Alpedrete and Hoyo de Manzanares. The decorative elements are made of limestone from Colmenar of Oreja. The sculptures of children who crown the Puerta de Alcalá represent the four cardinal virtues. Made by Francisco Gutiérrez Arribas, these sculptures are sometimes referred to as  the Angels of Peace.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/fuente-de-la-cibeles

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-de-alcala

Hope it helps enjoy this wonderful area of Madrid, the Retiro park is just around the corner too.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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