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A very strange fountain.
In my travels round the world I have seen some unusual statues, fountains and the like but I must admit that the concept of a fountain based on an artichoke was a new one on me and yet that is exactly what I found in Retiro Park. The Fuente de la Alcachofa, to give it it's proper Spanish name, stands in the Plaza de Honduras towards the North end of the park and is very impressive as you can see. It is in this location now but it was not always thus. The fountain was made in 1781 and initially situated in Plazuela de Anton Martin. In 1881 it was moved to Plaza de Atocha in 1880. It is now here.
The fountain was designed by Ventura Rodriguez, sculpted by Antonio Primo and Alfonso Giraldo Bergaz and is full of symbolism as I found out researching this tip. It is constructed from granite and white stone. Why an artichoke, you may well ask as I did. It appears that the artichoke is a symbol of fertility as is the water which flows from it at the top of the fountain. The water continues into a cup of leaves supported by cherubs and thence to a larger plain receptacle.
Before anyone contacts me, I know the images are taken from the "rear" but with the bright sun it was the only angle I could manage without it "blinding" the lens. Every cloud has a sliver lining as they say and this angle does give a good view of the face with the rather odd "hair" which represents Autumn. From the other side, the two figures supporting the column are Triton, God of the seas and a Nereida. Nereidas are mythologically sea nymphs who inhabit the Aegean Sea and help sailors in peril.
Like everything else in the Park it is very well-maintained and, best of all, it is free.
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
Jardines de Sabatini
We didnt have the chance to go inside, but we just saw it from the top from the palace. Attractive, shapely garden with stricktly sheared trees and bushes in a french style. The way a garden around a palace should be.
The garden spreads out around the palace. King Juan Carlos opened it 1978, but building were since 1933.
- Arts and Culture
We found Palacio Cristal accidentally on the walk around Retiro park. There leads a path under trees and opens into a lake, where live turtles and dugs. In the middle of the lake sprays a fountain. On the right side stands Palacio Cristal. When we were visited it, there was a exhibition of modern art, which we are not interested so much. The palace was built in 19. century and should serve as a glass house for tropical plants and flowers, which would be much more interesting for me.
- Castles and Palaces
- Museum Visits
What a peacefull place
One of my favorite part is Retiro Park in Madrid. Try to spend at least 3 - 4 hours. Get a park map at the entrance otherwise you can get lost. It is very big.
I liked the Chrystal Palace & around very much. Grab sandwiches from the supermarket & have your lunch in this beatifull place. Surrounded with fountains lakes statues.
At retiro lake see the statues, street artists...Very romantic...
- Budget Travel
Jardines de El Retiro
The Jardines del Buen Retiro or Parque del Buen Retiro (literally "Gardens" or "Park of the Pleasant Retreat") is a large and popular, 1.4 km² (350 acre) park in Madrid's city center, not far from the Prado Museum. Once outside the city, Madrid now entirely surrounds the park.
The park was originally the site of a royal palace (Alcázar) built in 1632 under the reign of King Philip IV. Most of the palace was destroyed during the Peninsular War, leaving a space that was eventually opened to the public in 1868. The few remaining buildings of the palace now house museum collections.
Within the park is the Estanque del Retiro ("Retiro's Pond"), a large artificial pond. Next to it is the Monument to King Alfonso XII, featuring a semicircular colonnade and an equestrian statue of the monarch on the top of a tall central core.
Around the lake are many puppet shows greatly enjoyed by the children there. There are all manner of street performers and fortune tellers. Row boats can be rented to paddle about the Estanque. Many families in Madrid go there on the relaxed summer afternoons.
The park contains the Palacio de Cristal ("Crystal Palace"), a glass pavilion inspired by The Crystal Palace in London and projected in 1887 by architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco. Velázquez Bosco also designed the park's Palacio de Velázquez (named after him).
Another highlight is the Fountain of the Falling Angel, whose main sculpture is a work by Ricardo Bellver (1845–1924) inspired by a passage from John Milton's Paradise Lost, and which represents Lucifer falling from Heaven.
In the Retiro Park is also the Forest of the Departed (Spanish Bosque de los Ausentes), a memorial monument to commemorate the 191 victims of the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks. Also, the Park yearly features a Book Fair.
Real Jardin Botanico
This is a wonderful Botanical Garden in front of the Museo del Prado.
It has thousands of exotic plants from the five continents, but mainly from America since the times when that continent was our colony.
It was founded in the middle of the XVIII century by our king Fernando VI.
In its construction participated artists such as Sabatini (the king architect) and Juan de Villanueva (the same that erected the Museo del Prado).
Inside you will find pavilions, statues, fountains and nice promenades. The distribution of the plants follows the classification established by the Swedish naturalist Linneo (one of the most important botanist in History).
- Museum Visits
- Budget Travel
El Real Jardín Botánico
This was a cheap attraction (2 euros) but it was nonetheless disapointing.
Maybe because we were at the beginning of July, most flowers and a lot of plants were faded already.
So if you're in another time of the year, try it; otherwise, I'd skip it.
Little of the Moorish Mayrit (the original Arabic name for Madrid) remains today. Though by chance in the 1950s, a section of the Moorish fortified wall and other Moorish ruins dating back to the 9th century were discovered just to the south of Catedral de la Almudena. The Muralla Arabe (i.e. Arab Wall) and the other Moorish ruins are now nicely displayed along Parque del Emir Mohamed I, a park named after the founder of the Arab Mayrit.
- Historical Travel
Campo del Moro
Campo del Moro (the arab garden) is a hughe park situated at the food of Royal Palace. It was orriginally the place where the Arab army was located in the old days as in the 12 th century, later on it got cultivated and served as a gareden where the royalties let their children play. The park ws then build as acoording to the example of the English style of gardens. Its a very hughe complexand its open to public now.
FAUNIA thematic zoo
Faunia is a thematic zoo recently opened outside Madrid. They have several pavillions, each one dedicated to a determined habitat (Jungle, Poles, Desert, Night beasts...)
It is a perfect place to spend a day in Madrid with kids, though it may be interesting for adults too.
Entrance 20€ adults, 12€ kids. Under 3 free.
- Theme Park Trips
It is a real pleasure to wander around these attractively landscaped gardens. You will see examples of a wide variety of plants from all five continents - 30000 different species in total. They are all labelled with their Latin and Spanish names. Among them are medicinal herbs, sweet-smelling plants and flowers, food-bearing plants, and a collection of roses. There is also a greenhouse with tropical, subtropical and desert plants. The gardens have been open since 1791. Under tens get in free.
- Family Travel
On the other side of this iron fence...
out on the sidewalk beside the Real Jardins Botanico and the Prado Museum, sat a lone accordianist, filling the air with the nicest sounds. It was a scene from some movie, I was walking, I heard quiet strains of music, I tried to follow them, determine their source, the music grew louder, until voila! there he was. I wanted to stay and listen longer...but then hehehe, the tunes began to repeat, and I knew it was time to head on over to the museum. This was however, another pleasant Spanish moment. Fleeting. Again. The best ones always seem to be.... ;-)
Before or after your Prado expedition...
..don't bypass this pleasant diversion next door. Across the square actually. The Real Jardins Botanico, sure it costs an extra 1.50 euros but that just helps to keep the freeloading riff-raff out. Pick a shady spot and enjoy lunch. Aaaaahhhhh. This is Spain. Savor the moment. It is fleeting. ;-)
The botanical Gardens
2003 was not the best year for nature lovers, as it failed to rain for a very long period, water was subject to rationing in some areas.
The botanical gardens in Madrid, much passed over by tourists because you have to pay an entry fee (1.50 Euro) were a little tatty looking, but the aromatic plants section was great and I loved the tropical greenhouse (and believe me, when it's 40? outside you've really got to WANT to go into a tropical greenhouse)
- Budget Travel
El Prado is an exceptional museum, and sometimes you'll find impossible that you will ever get bored of walking down its hall, admiring masterpiece after masterpiece...though chances are that after a whole day doing that, you'll eventually be. So if you feel like giving your feet a rest, I'll suggest a visit to the Botanical Gardens, which are placed next to the museum.
It is simply the most charming and beautiful garden of the city, a fresh place in which to spend a sunny evening and an absolutely lovely visit during spring, when Mother Nature wears its more spectacular colors.
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