The CBA, Neptuno, and Recoletos of my Madrid!

So this is the arrival of Fall or what cooler weather approaching , I started this post at 7C and finished it at 19C lol! oh well it goes saying in my Morbihan ok. I like to continue the saga of my MADRID! It is said, that once biten by its virus you never want to leave, well i did but always come back to it. Madrid has a lot to offer and often overlooked! I like to change you a bit ….

Today, I will talk about three simple places that will make you fall in love with Madrid. These are the Paseo de Recoletos street, the Fuente de Neptune (fountain), and the Circulo de Bellas Artes (circle of fine arts) of Madrid.

Where can I start, you will notice , I am not a writer or poet or even into long verses for most of my posts even if sometimes an exception is made. I try to be short and to the point, these are all places that I have enjoyed since youthful days of early teen years and really find it hard to describe all my love for them. But , lets start shall we…

The Paseo de Recoletos is an avenue of 700 meters rising very slightly, from south to north, and from Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza de Colón. It is part of the boulevards of the central axis of the city, which extends north as Paseo de la Castellana , and south as a Paseo del Prado. its the place where the National Library  of Spain and the Archaeological museum of Spain were built ,and currently there.


It had its origin in the ravine formed by the Arroyo de la Fuente Castellana, which furrowed it, and as a continuation of the primitive walk of the old Prado of San Jerónimo and its extension to the Puerta de Atocha (what is now the Paseo del Prado). The Paseo de Recoletos took its name from the convent of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects, whose ensemble was built in the area between 1592 and 1595, and in what was formerly the town of Valnegral, in lands of Eufrasia de Guzmán , Princess of Ascoli. The Alameda ended at the Puerta de Recoletos, a Baroque-style door built under the reign of king Fernando VI in 1756 and dismantled in 1863. It was alternately known as El Prado Nuevo and Recoletos or Prado de Recoletos.

Aristocrats who had a house in this promenade(Paseo), among them them the Duchy of Sesto; some neighbors who were born, lived or died in Recoletos, were the painter José Villegas Cordero, Ramón del Valle Inclán, Juan Valera or the Andromaca that José Vilches sculpted in 1853,in Rome, and previously held at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid. The gatherings of the café Teide, the literary home of César González Ruano and the Café Gijón, still open( and very nice place to chat) at the beginning of the 21C, remain in memory.  It should also be remembered the presence in the second half of the 21C of the Libreria-Galeria Buchholz , cradle of the almost fictitious school of Madrid, or of installations like the Museum of Wax of Madrid, inaugurated in 1972 at the No 41.(see post on it ).


Some of the best known buildings here to marvel at their architecture and chic styles are:

Palace of Linares or Palace of the Marquis of Linares, next to Cibeles, built in 1873 today the headquarters of the Casa de America.   The Palace of Library and National Museums, finished in 1892, in which they are, in the facade that gives to Paseo de Recoletos, the National Library of Spain. In the opposite façade, in Calle Serrano, is the National Archaeological Museum of Spain. The Palace of the Marquis of Salamanca, built between 1846 and 1855 ; the Convent of San Pascual , originally from the 17C, but demolished and rebuilt in the 19C. The Palace of the Duke of Elduayen, built between 1890 and 1895. The Palace of the Duchess of Medina de las Torres, between 1881 and 1884. The Palacio de López Dóriga and Salaverria, built towards 1872. The Palace of the Marquis of Alcañices, also known as of the Duke of Sesto, of 1862 . the building Restaura , formerly of the Insurance L’Union, in the numbers 18-20. And the building of the insurance company La Aurora, at number 4.

More here from the Madrid tourist office: Tourist office of Madrid on Paseo de Recoletos

The Fountain of Neptune is a neoclassical fountain that occupies the center of the roundabout to which it is popularly named, within the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo. This monumental fountain was proposed in 1777 and its construction, started in 1782, ending in 1786. In its origin, it was located in the descent of the Carrera de San Jerónimo, looking at the Fuente de Cibeles(fountain), but was moved to the center of the before mentioned square in 1898. It is the usual place of our arch rivals Atlético de Madrid football/soccer team celebrations when they win something which is not often ::)



In the second half of the 18C king Carlos III undertook a series of reforms, among which was the modernization of the capital to bring it to the height of the famous big cities of the time such as Paris. In this modernization plan; the Neptune Fountain was included. It was made with white marble from Montesclaros (Toledo).

The fountain stands on a large circular pylon in whose center is the figure of Neptune, God of the sea, one of the twelve divinities of Olympus, is the son of Saturn and Rea, and brother of Jupiter. It is presented with a snake curled in the right hand and the trident in the left, erect on a cart formed by a shell pulled by two sea horses with fish tail. Around the car swim seals and dolphins that throw jets of water at a high altitude. The god of the waters could be a symbol of the Navy that king Carlos III reformed to make it more competitive and strengthen the nexus with the colonies.

Madrid tourist office on the Fountain of Neptuno: Tourist office of Madrid on the Fuente de Neptuno

The Círculo de Bellas Artes is located at the Calle de Alcalà 42 , at the corner with Calle del Marques de Casa Riera, in an Art deco building completed in 1926.  The CBA (circulo de bellas artes)   was founded in April 1880 by some artists who originally wanted to create a club where they could exhibit and sell their works. At that time, young students who would become important artists went there, like Pablo Picasso, while others, such as Ramón María del Valle-Inclán, attended its salons. In 1921,the CBA becomes a center for the protection of fine arts and public utility. The main social seat was finally installed here in 1926 in a building inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII.


roofstop of CBA goddes Minerva credit CBA

The Spanish civil war led to the suspension of its activities, and the CBA became a place of detention of the CPIP (Provincial Public Investigation committee) what was called a checa after the conflict, it was also there that for a time the seat of the Service of the falange (Franco’s party). It was only in 1983, that CBA was refounded thanks to the Association of Plastic Artists. Since then, it has been open to the general public and with and follows international cultural trends.

The building, is located at the intersection of   Calle de Alcalá and Gran Vía, the rooftop terrace is open to the public, offering a panoramic view of Madrid. It is overlooked by the statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and art, the symbol of the institution.. Moreover, the CBA retains a considerable artistic heritage with more than 1 200 paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings and ceramics, as well as furniture. The bibliographic and documentary funds, including the bequest of the gallerist Juana Mordó’, with more than 3 000 books and a collection of 150 autograph books. Finally, the institution retains a large fund of thematic art journals and historical documents.


roofstop of CBA towards Gran Via credit CBA

Some webpages to help you enjoy a visit to the CBA Circulo de Bellas Artes or fine arts circle are

Official Circulo de Bellas Artes site

Tourist office of Madrid on the CBA

Minerva magazine of the Circulo de Bellas Artes

There you go a nice trip up and down one of the best arteries of my beloved Madrid. Hope you enjoy the walk.

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

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