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Las cien caras de la Puerta del Sol

By | 31 January, 2015 | 0 comments

La Puerta del Sol hacia 1885

Since its creation, the Puerta del Sol has been subjected to numerous renovations, particularly in the last few decades. It is curious to observe how, with time, the same urban landscape and the same street outline can change so much in terms of aspect and main elements.

For example, if the clock of the church of Buen Suceso used to be the laughingstock of Madrid because it was never on time, today this temple has disappeared and been replaced by an Apple store. On the other hand, those who are looking for the time today turn to the emblematic clock of the Real Casa de Correos, the clock that everyone turns to on New Year’s Eve in Madrid.

In the Puerta del Sol there used to be trees that are no longer there not even in the memory of the younger locals, with the same going for the fountains that also disappeared. The two that we see are two twin fountains designed by Herrero de Palacios towards 1950, famously known as the dos de oros or los ceniceros (the ashtrays).

However, in another time there used to be the fountains known as Fuente del Chorro and Fuente de las Arpías or Fuente de la Fe. Of the latter, for example, only the statue of Mariblanca remains, a beautiful Neoclassical effigy that represents a woman whose identity is unclear with a small cupid at her feet. The goddess Diana? Venus? Faith itself reincarnated as a woman?

We do not know. But what we do know is of their busy journey around Madrid: when the fountain was dismantled in 1892, it was sent to the city storage and stayed there until 1912, the year when it was moved to the Retiro. In 1969 it was taken to Paseo de Recoletos and in 1984, after falling victim to a vandalistic act, it was kept forever in the Madrid History Museum. An identical replica was then made and placed by the Puerta del Sol, its original location. In 2009 it was moved again, this time in the square itself, next to Calle Arenal.

Something similar happened to the statue of the Bear and the Arbutus, the Oso y el Madroño, which has been moved around the square for 50 years. This sculpture, made by Antonio Navarro Santafé in the 1960s, was placed first between Calle Alcalá and Carrera de San Jerónimo; then it was moved in 1986 close to our hotel, at the top of Calle del Carmen; for the 2009 renovation, it moved back to the top of Calle Alcalá, where we can see it today… for now.

Categories: Madrid Turismo

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