PLAZA DE CIBELES, CIBELES SQUARE, A SYMBOLIC PLACE IN MADRID
• Sooner or later everybody who is visiting Madrid will discover the Cibeles Square. Plaza de Cibeles is a highly symbolic place for Madrilenians, and what is more, in its surroundings you will find several interesting places to visit.
Sight from Cibeles Fountain
• The square is located at the intersection of Alcalá Street (Calle de Alcalá), Recoletos Street (Calle de Recoletos), and Prado Promenade (Paseo de Prado). By the way, Alcalá Street is an avenue of enormous length which crosses a large part of Madrid from west to east, specifically from Puerta de Sol Square until America Avenue (Avenida de América).
• In the centre of the square you will find the famous Cibeles Fountain (Fuente de Cibeles), and in each of the four corners you will see very emblematic buildings such as:
– Communications Palace (Palacio de Comunicaciones), today occupied by the city hall of Madrid, in the south-east corner.
– Bank of Spain (Banco de España), in the south-west corner.
– Linares Palace (House of the Americas), in the north-east corner.
– Buenavista Palace, headquarters of the Army, in the north-west corner.
• Formerly Cibeles Square was called Madrid Square and was located close to its actual location, in a lateral street to Buenavista Palace. It was in 1900 when it was relocated to its actual location, and in this instance its name was changed to Castelar Square. Years later its name changed again to its actual in reference to its newly installed fountain, dedicated to the Greek god Cibeles.
• Originally the area of the actual Cibeles Square was a forested path or parkway which connected Madrid’s periphery from west to east and separated the urban Madrid from an area of palaces, monasteries and meadows such as meadow of Recoletos Augustinos (today’s Recoletos Street), meadow De Los Jerónimos (the actual Paseo del Prado), and meadow of Atocha.
• Felipe II and later Carlos III conducted different changes, realized by Ventura Rodriguez and José de Hermosilla. The ambition of both was the creation of an open space with parks and fountains, which would be escorted of buildings, dedicated to the diffusion of culture and science. The fountain, originally installed right next to Buenavista Palace at the Recoletos Street in 1782, was relocated decades later until its actual location at the intersection of Alcalá Street, Recoletos Street, and Prado Promenade. With this change its actual roundabout was installed in order to give space to the increasing traffic.
• The Bank of Spain opened its doors a few years before the relocation of the fountain, and the appearance of the square should change again just a couple of years later. In 1900 Linares Palace was inaugurated, and in 1917 the Communications Palace, one of the most characteristic buildings at the square.
• Cibeles Fountain originally was created to provide water to the citizens, although with the relocation to its actual place, it lost this function and is now only decoration. However, during the years different adornments, decoration elements and lights were added.
• Buenavista Palace was built in 1777 and was inhabited by the Dukes of Alba. It is located on a little hill and surrounded by a great amount of trees. Today it is the headquarters of the Army.
• Linares Palace was built in 1877 by Marquis De Linares. It is a beautiful building with an elaborated facade and a luxurious interior, decorated with pieces of art of different artists and styles. It has been renovated at the end of the last century and is now dedicated to the House of the Americas.
• The first brick of the Bank of Spain was placed by King Alfonso XII. The building was inaugurated in 1891. During its long history it has been amplified three times, last time by Rafael Moneo. However, the original architectural style has always been respected.
• The latest building at the actual Cibeles Square is the Communications Palace. The construction started in 1904 and was finished in 1917. Its extraordinary facade incorporates different medieval Spanish architectural styles.
HOW TO GET TO CIBELES SQUARE (PLAZA DE CIBELES)
• The easiest way is by metro. Take line 1 and get off either at Banco de España or Retiro. Both of them will leave you very close to the square. You can also have a look at, or download Madrid’s metro map. Underground Madrid
• Of course you can also take different bus lines in order to get to the area. Please have a look at the official page of Madrid’s bus lines. Bus line Madrid
• Walking is the best way in order to get to know downtown Madrid. Cibeles Square is easily reachable from Puerta de Sol Square, Prado Museum or Atocha. PLEASE HAVE A LOOK AT THE AREA PLANE BELOW: