Plaza de la CibelesWalking along the Calle de Alcala we reach the Plaza de la Cibeles, the crossroad between the Calle de Alcala and the Paseo de Recoletos (the extension of the Paseo de la Castellana).
At this point we can see four splendid buildings: the Palacio de Linares (Linares Palace) - today a consortium created by the Ministry of Foreign Affair, the Community of Madrid and the Town Hall of Madrid in order to promote the international cooperation with Latin America called Casa de America, the Palacio de Correos y Telecomunicaciones (today housing the Town Hall of Madrid), the Bank of Spain and the Palacio de Buenavista (Army Headquarter) .
The area between the Cibeles fountain and the Neptune fountain was dedicated to leisure, i.e. a space to see people and be seen.
The Cibeles was designed by Ventura Rodriguez and finished in 1782. The fountain represents the goddess Cibeles sitting on a chariot pulled by lions with different reptiles beneath them and decorations of flowers. It seems that this fountain should originally have been installed in the gardens of La Granja, but when the square was built they dediced to put it here.
There are some drawings of the original design which show that a dragon and a bear should have been in front and behind the goddess. At first the Cibeles and Neptune were looking at each other. In a later reconstruction of the area Cibeles was put more or less in front of the Palacio de Buenavista. Eventually it was put again in the avenue, but by then both statues were looking at the center of Madrid.
Nowadays the statue is the meeting point of the football fans of Real Madrid who celebrate their different championships here.
Between Cibeles and Neptune is another statue dedicated to Apollo. He is the god of the arts, medicine and poetry. The final design was executed by Manuel Alvarez in 1781, but he died before the statue was finished in 1802. Apollo has a lyre in his hands and four sculptures representing the four seasons are below him.
@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.