Park of El Retiro: 6 must-sees

By | 29 July, 2014 | 0 comments

If you come to Madrid, especially when the weather is nice, we recommend that you reserve at least one afternoon to visit the park of El Retiro. Here you can sunbathe, enjoy a stroll, go on a boat and see many different street artists, from puppeteers to musicians of all kinds, as well as jugglers and clowns.

This green area of 291 acres was designed in the 17th century as a recreational area for Spanish kings. Inside you can find many paths, gardens, monuments and even a large pond.

1) Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal)

Palacio de Cristal

Designed by the architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco in 1887, the Crystal Palace is a beautiful structure made of glass and metal inspired in its London counterpart.

This building and the location it is at offers wonderful views of sunsets, especially in autumn.

2) The pond and monument of Alfonso XII

Estanque del Retiro

If you enter the parc through the northern gate, you will find this large artificial pond that is where you can go on a boat. Anyone can rent a boat and row around the pond without having to worry about any accidents happening: the maximum depth is of six feet.

A semi-circular colonnade dominates the complex dedicated to King Alfonso XII, with an equestrian statue of him in the centre. More than twenty sculptors took part in its production and the complex is 99 feet tall, 282 feet long and 190 feet wide.

3) Parterre Gardens

Ángel Caído

In the Parterre Gardens we can find a sightseeing curiosity: the statue of the Fallen Angel, made in 1877, which they say is the first monument in the world that depicts the Devil. Ricardo Bellver, its author, was inspired by a work by John Milton that depicted the fall of Lucifer from the skies.

4) Fountain of the Alcachofa

Fuente de la Alcachofa

Built in 1782 and originally devised to decorate the vicinity of the Puerta de Atocha, it is popular for the sculptural elements that decorate it: as well as the artichoke (alcachofa in Spanish) that gives it its name, we can see two puttoes, a few tritons and a siren.

5) La Rosaleda

Rosaleda del Retiro

This is a place that you will fall in love with. Made in 1915 and inspired by the rose garden of Bagatelle in Paris, this rose garden is made up of different roses brought from the best gardens in Europe.

6) Paseo de las Estatuas

Paseo de las Estatuas

Its real name is Paseo de la Argentina but it is known popularly as the Walk of Statues, due to the many statues of Spanish kings that flank it.

These sculptures were ordered originally by King Fernando VI to decorate the cornice of the Palacio Real but King Carlos III ordered to take them away. Not all of them came to El Retiro: there are many of them in the Plaza de Oriente and in the Sabatini Gardens.

Among the most illustrious kings that we can see here are the emperor Carlos I, Sancho IV of Leon and Castile, and Doña Berenguela of Castile.

Categories: Guías Madrid

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