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Madrid Retiro Park


Retiro Park is Madrid's most famous park, located just behind the Prado Museum, and it is an ideal way to finish (or for that matter start) any day in Madrid.

Retiro Park is a wonderful oasis of calm in the centre of Madrid. It has 130 hectares of woodland which form a green, tree-clad (more than 15.000 trees) island in the middle of an asphalt sea. One may enter it through any of its fine gateways. These are located in: Plaza de la Independencia, Calle de Alcalá, Calle de O'Donnell, and Calle de Alfonso XII.

It is Madrid's most famous park
, located just behind the Prado Museum, and it is an ideal way to finish (or for that matter start) any day in Madrid. Among other attractions the gardens house a working observatory, three exhibition halls, a rose garden, an artificial lake, fountains, Punch and Judy shows for children.....

is a specially attractive time of the year to visit the Retiro due to the great amount of trees of different species which display splendid colors for the enjoyment of the passer by.

The origins
of the Retiro park date back to 1630 when the Conde Duque de Olivares, minister of Felipe IV, decided to create a leisure complex with gardens, an artificial lagoon and a palace, in the terrains of the monastery of San Jerónimo el Real, where the kings had a retirement lodging (Retiro means retreat) for special solemn occasions. The palace and other installations were destroyed during the independence war in 1812. In the 19th century the park was opened to the public.

The Palacio de Cristal built in 1887 to house an exhibition about the Phillipines with plants, animals and real native population, is one of the most beautiful sites in the park placed by a small lagoon with a water jett. Made entirely of glass and iron, it is today a contemporary art showroom dependant of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Travelling art exhibitions are frequently housed there or in the nearby Palacio de Velázquez.

The Parterre, at the entrance by the Puerta de Felipe IV is a palatial garden with curiosly shaped bushes and some of the oldest trees in the park.

The artificial lake
is one of the oldest structures of the park, as it was part of the original 1630 park, naval battles were performed in it for the enjoyment of the royal family in the 17th century. Today the grand monument to Alfonso XII borders one side of its shores and a bongo playing crowd gathers there at weekends. Navigating the lagoon on the hiring rowing boats is an all-time tradition in Madrid.

Madrid is the only capital in the world which has built a monument dedicated solely to the devil. The fountain of the Fallen Angel (Ángel Caído) at the Retiro gardens, takes as its theme the expulsion from paradise, in which Lucifer is shown being banished and embodying the spirit of evil which has sway over him. Created by Ricardo Bellver and inaugurated in 1885, this monument leaves a striking effect of tension, expressivity and drama. Its lower base displays eight faces of evil in four groups of two, holding in their hand snakes, lizards and dolphins. In the park is also the newly-built ‘Hill of the Absents' – a mound constructed in memory of those who died in the Atocha bombing of 2004.

White stone figures of the Kings and Queen of Spain peep out from the avenues of lofty tees and thick bushes, the park has its rose garden, as well as the Cecilio Rodríguez gardens and many delightful secluded nooks where strollers can enjoy a little privacy.

It is very popular on Sundays for a leisurely stroll through its leafy paths. The park was once a palace garden, and it contains many majestic fountains. On Sunday’s you’ll also see Punch and Judy shows, tarot card readers and stalls selling candy floss in the area around the lake. There are several café-bars throughout the park where you may also have the pleasure of listening to the many talented musicians who serenade the crowds. It is an excellent place to relax, making it one of the very popular Madrid tourist attractions.

Plaza de la Independencia: Location on Google maps
Metro: Retiro (L2), Ibiza (L9)
Area : Salamanca

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