are going to organize the path in a way that can be completed by
walking. There are only two points that are located a bit far from
the rest of the route--AZCA and the Puerta de Europa (KIO Towers)-but
they seem interesting enough to include, as they are examples of
the city's skyscrapers.
de Trenes de Atocha
start of this route can be placed in the Atocha
Railway Station, since it can be accessed from any mode of
transport (train, metro, or bus). One of the great novelties among
19th C. architecture was the construction of the majestic train
stations, employing new materials like glass and steel. Atocha was
inaugurated in 1851 in the presence of Isabel II and was the first
railway station in Madrid. A fire destroyed the original station
and it was rebuilt and reopened in 1892. It is a great hall of steel,
with a curved cover, and a crystal façade. Not long ago,
Moneo undertook its rebuilding, which was considered an example
of aesthetic and functional rehabilitation of the historic building.
In the main hall sits a tropical garden with its own microclimate.
the station, we shall take the Paseo del Prado, where on its first
stretch we can see the Apollo Fountain,
adjacent to the Prado Museum. The fountain was completed by Ventura
Rodriguez in the 18th C. and represents the god Apollo together
with four groups of sculptures representing the four seasons. A
bit ahead, we arrive to the Plaza de Canovas del Castillo, where
we find the Neptuno Fountain, from
the 19th C., in its center, also made by Ventura Rodriguez. In this
plaza, two well-known hotels, the Ritz
and the Palace, are located. What many
do not know is that one of the rooms of the Palace was recently
declared a symbol of national heritage.
this point we will take the Carrera de San Jeronimo, where we find
the Congreso de los Diputados (House of Representatives), which
followed the model of a Renaissance palace, and later incorporated
a grand Neoclassical colonnade. Keep going until you get to the
Plaza de Canalejas, so that later you can cross Sevilla Street and
down to Alcala Street. Going down this street, we find three buildings
worth mentioning. The first of these is the Casino
de Madrid, a private club of great beauty. A bit further
on is the Circulo de Bellas Artes,
built by Antonio Palacios in 1910, following the rules of design
of monuments. Finishing off the building is the outstanding sculpture
of Minerva, today a cultural center. Lastly, we find the Banco
de España, a building in the style of a Venetian Renaissance
palace. It contains an important collection of art which you can
visit during opening hours.
we have arrived at the Plaza de Cibeles,
which acquires its name from the fountain in the middle and dates
back to the 18th C. It is undoubtedly one of the symbols of the
city. The Palacio de Telecomunicaciones, currently the post office,
is also located in this plaza. It is a magnificent example of eclectic
down Recoletos, we find the Palacio de Linares. This beautiful structure,
of clearly French influence, is the current quarters of the Casa
de America. This palace became infamous not long ago for alleged
psychophonic manifestations (voices were heard and shadows were
seen at certain times).
will take the opportunity now to go up Alcala from Cibeles to see
the Puerta de Alcalá, another
of the symbols of Madrid, which dates to the era of Carlos III.
From here take Alfonso XII, where we find number 28, the Cason
del Buen Retiro, built in the 19th C. Originally it was conceived
as a Dance Hall for the Palacio del Buen Retiro, but throughout
time, it has experienced various improvements and different uses.
In the 80s, it was the home of Picasso's Guernica and other of his
sketches. Currently, it shelters a 19th C. Spanish painting collection
belonging to the museum, although it is temporarily closed for improvements.
Opposite the Cason del Buen Retiro, we find a gate to the Parque
del Retiro, where we find two relevant works of art: first, the
Estatua al Angel Caida (Statue of the Fallen
Angel), presumed the only one in the world dedicated exclusively
to the devil; there is also an important example of a 19th. Classical
structure, the Palacio de Cristal.
It was made to house the 1887 Philippines Exposition. Currently,
after its renovation, it is home to artistic and cultural displays.
el Retiro once again and going down Antonio Maura Street, we get
to the Plaza de la Lealtad. In this square we find the Bolsa
de Madrid (Madrid Stock Exchange), built toward the end of
the 19th C. by Enrique Maria Repulles.
this way, we see that we have made a full circle and are back where
we started. The order of the route, naturally can be suited to the
taste of each person. To see Madrid's most modern examples, the
best thing to do would be to take a bus, which also would serve
to see other buildings of this time. Number 27 serves us perfectly
for this route.
our trip, we arrive to Cibeles and continue down Recoletos. Past
the Palacio de Linares and before arriving to Plaza de Colon, we
see the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library)
on the right hand side, a great example of Neoclassical architecture.
Further on, we will see the outdoor museum of sculpture, located
below the Eduardo Dato Bridge. Afterwards, we will pass in front
of the Museum of Natural Sciences, just before arriving at our destination,
which would be the next plaza down. We will stop in the Plaza de
Lima, where the Santiago Bernabeu Football Stadium is located. You
can't miss it. On the other side of the street, we find the Exposition
Palace, whose façade was decorated by Miro. In front
of this, you see the AZCA complex. Here we can find the city's skyscrapers:
Torre Europa, Torre Picasso, and the BBV building.
famous Puerta de Europa is in the Plaza
de Castilla. If we do not want to have to go all the way there,
we can go up the AZCA in the Castellana. From this spot, and even
from quite a bit farther, you can see the inclined KIO towers that
make up the Puerta de Europa.