Retiro, Madrid, and Cuba!

So lets swing back down to my beloved Madrid, another city cannot be too far away and lucky to be near and able to see it every year. Madrid well I lived as a teenager with wonderful memories never to be forgotten. I am lucky to be able to visit and now every year since 2003! From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!!!

Ok you can read my blog with the many many posts on Madrid and thereabouts not the least my Spain. On this post , will tell a bit of the relationship of Spain to her favorite daughter Cuba and especific on mentions in Madrid that I walked by since teen years. Hope you enjoy the Retiro, Madrid and Cuba !

Let me start with one figure dear to Spain and not so much with Cuba but will all respect of a faithful daughter. General Martinez Campos at Retiro park

The monument to General Arsenio Martínez Campos is located in the Plaza de Guatemala in the Parque del Buen Retiro park. The equestrian monument was erected on the initiative of the Marquis of Cabriñana after a popular subscription started in December 1904, it was inaugurated on January 28, 1907 Designed by the sculptor Mariano Benlliure, it consists of a stone pedestal that supports the bronze statue of General Martínez Campos with dimensions of 7 × 5.65 × 7.40 meters. It is located behind the monument to Alfonso XII facing the estanque or pond.


More than 2,000 soldiers paraded through the Paseo de Coches. As well as the kings, Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia, the mother of the king and former secretary, María Cristina, the Infanta Teresa (sister of the king), and the infants and brothers-in-law of the king, Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias and Fernando from Bavaria. Queen Victoria Eugenia, just 19 years old at the time, came pregnant with her son Alfonso, who would be born in May. Also in attendance were the Prime Minister, Antonio Maura; the president of the Congress of Deputies, José Canalejas, several ministers and the mayor of Madrid, newly appointed that same day, Eduardo Dato. Also, sent to Cuba to pacified the uprisings which he could not avoid. During his lifetime, Gen. Arsenio Martínez Campos (d 1900) was Minister of War, President of the Government and Governor of Cuba. But it went down in history for the pronouncement of Sagunto, where he proclaimed Prince Alfonso as King of Spain and ended the First Republic.

The monument to Gen Martínez Campos is in the same gazebo where the equestrian statue of Felipe IV, which now is in the Plaza de Oriente. Even this area of the Retiro was displaced at some date in the 18C from its original location in the Palacio del Buen Retiro. It already appears in the roundabout or plaza de Guatemala in model map of 1830, currently in the Madrid History Museum. The Retiro equestrian statue stands on a bronze base on a large limestone rock. On the front you can see the banners of the Artillery and the Infantry and on one of the sides the battle of the Castillejos is represented, in North Africa, in which Martínez Campos participated under the command of General Prim. At the base of the monument you can read the different campaigns in which Martínez Campos participated: the war in Africa, the war in Cuba and the Carlist wars in Catalonia. It is also mentioned that it was possible thanks to a popular subscription initiated by the Marquis of Cabriñana, Julio de Urbina. Part of my history since schoolage!


An even beautiful monument lies in the Fountain of Cuba at the Retiro park too!

At the end of the Paseo de Colombia, is the Plaza del Salvador, where we can see the Fuente de Cuba or fountain of Cuba. The idea to erect a monument in tribute to the Caribbean Republic comes as thanks to the Cuban government for the construction it made, in 1929, of a Monument to the Spanish Soldier in the hills of San Juan, in Santiago de Cuba. The construction of the fountain progressed rapidly, being almost finished by 1931. However, after the end of the dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera, it was  delayed the inauguration until October 27, 1952, when it was finally inaugurated coinciding with the 460th anniversary of the discovery of Cuba. The monument constitutes a semblance of Cuban history and the wealth of its land and with it, homage is paid both to the feat of its discovery and to the characters who made it possible, keeping the highest recognition of its constitution as a Republic.

Cristobal Colon or Christopher Columbus discovered the island during his first trip, on October 27, 1492, although colonization did not begin until 1511. Havana (or San Cristobal de La Habana) , was found in 1514. Previously, a first war had been waged for independence between 1868 and 1878 (or Guerra de los 10 años =War of Ten years) that ended with the Peace of Zanjón (refused by Gen Maceo of Cuba and others). Another small war or Guerra Chiquita was carried out between 1879-1880. A later independence movement or Guerra de la Independencia (1895-1898) would end in the Spanish-American war of 1898 (with Cuban helping the Americans against Spanish forces), after which the “Pearl of the Antilles” separated from Spain under the tutelage of the United States 1898-1902, proclaiming itself in May 20th 1902 as the Republic of Cuba (1902-1959).


The monument or Fountain of Cuba, presents in the center a structure with three bodies and a cross plan, delimited on each of its fronts by a semi-circular granite pylon. The main or front face of the fountain is oriented to the East and the rear face to the West. On each respective pedestals the bronze figures of an iguana and a terrapin (galàpago). The reason for using the figures of these two animals must be found in the fact that both are part of the oldest island fauna, in particular the iguana. Likewise, the presence of the terrapin is explained, also, based on its known longevity, as an intention to highlight the long time elapsed, more than four hundred years then, since the arrival of the Spanish on the island. The fountain of Cuba was made of limestone and rectangular in shape, and in which the two largest sides correspond to the front and rear faces of the monument. It consists of three superimposed bodies in the shape of parallelepipeds and whose size decreases in an ascending manner. The bow of a caravel boat appears with a figurehead made up of an angel carrying a cross. The boat appears supported on two dolphin-shaped water jets and under a garland made with the typical products of Cuban agriculture, as if it were a laurel wreath, recalling the great wealth that it meant for Spain. The first stone body as a Roman rostra column that represents the celebration of the triumph of the Colombus’s ships by crossing the Atlantic Ocean and reaching the Cuban coasts, without forgetting the importance of the evangelisation process that, on occasions, directed the conquest of America. On each side of the second body, you will see a shield or statue built in marble. it looks like the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Cuba, which was adopted by Cuban President Tomás Estrada Palma on April 21, 1906. On the backside, the Coat of Arms of the Catholic Monarchs (Fernando II and Isabel I) is represented, with some shortcomings, under whose government Spanish ships reached the Cuba.

On the north side is the seated statue of Queen Isabel la Católica (Elizabeth I,the Catholic), which, given the possibility that it could open up to achieve the Christianisation of all Asia, decided to support the projects of Christopher Columbus. The sculpture of Christopher Columbus is located on the side opposite of the Monument.The second body ends in a large cornice that gives way to the third, in which, on a square base, a female figure (giraldilla like on top of Morro castle in Havana and inside the Cuban capitol building today=see posts)) stands as a symbol of the Republic of Cuba. The Cuban Republic is presented to us as well as the figure of an equally young woman covered by the Phrygian cap, symbol of the Republic, who looks calmly to the right while, with her left hand, points to a horn of plenty held by a horn of abundance, and from which various flowers and fruits stand out as an allegorical figure of the enormous wealth and fertility of those lands that long supplied Spain with sugar, coffee and tobacco. With the orchid, considered one of the most beautiful and beloved flowers in America, the author wanted to represent the meaning of Cuba for Spain.

There are other spots that I have walked in my beloved Madrid that relates very strongly with Cuba.  These are

The first is of our hero , Jose Marti. This poet, thinker and politician was one of the great standard-bearers of the Independence of Cuba and his person can still be felt in Madrid, the city where he lived between 1871 and 1874 during which time he was exiled. Martí attended Law class at the Central University located on Calle San Bernardo. Not far from there, in the centrally Calle del Desengaño no.10 was the pension run by Doña Antonia in which a young Martí lived. A huge plaque on the wall still remembers him. He also lived on Calle Lope de Vega. Also ,in the callejero de la Villa street pays its discreet tribute to Cuba, it is only necessary to realize the existence of the Calle de la Isla de Cuba, near the Metro de Canillejas, and the Paseo de Cuba, one of the main arteries of the Retiro, going from the Fuente de la Alcachofa to the Fuente del Angel Caido, (see posts) passing closely by the Palacio de Cristal (see post) and the estanque or pond, or the well-known Paseo de la Habana just back of Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

For reference, the Madrid tourist office in English: Madrid tourist office

And there you , nice walks in my beloved Madrid all gloriously illustrated with great architecture and history , of course that of Cuba and Spain. Two out of my four loves in my life !!! Hope you enjoy the tour and do walk by them in the future.

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

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