The Palaza De Cibeles in Spain
The Plaza de Cibeles is a square located in Madrid, Spain featuring a neoclassical design of marble sculptures and fountains. This iconic square features four prominent buildings, the Bank of Spain, the Palacio de Buenavista, the Palacio de Linares, and the Palacio de Cibeles. The Cibeles Palaces, along with the fountains, are symbolic monuments of the city.
The area of Cibeles used to be a wooded axis that separated the urban part of Madrid from the monastic and palace complexes. The first reform to this axis was done under Philip II in 1570, and a new renovation took place in the 18th century bt Charles III.
One of the most exciting and well known features of the Plaza de Cibeles is the fountain of Cibeles. The fountain was named for the Roman goddess of fertility, Ceres. She is one of the most important symbols in Madrid. The fountain features the goddess sitting in a chariot that is pulled by lions. The goddess holds a scepter, as well as the keys to the city. The fountain was built during the reign of Charles III. It was designed by Ventura Rodriguez from 1777 to 1782. The lions were sculpted by Roberto Michel and the goddess in her chariot was sculpted by Francisco Gutierrez. The entire fountain was created in white marble, and reaches 8 meters tall and 32 meters in diameter.
The roman goddess, Ceres, was considered to the Great Mother, or Magna Mater. There are religious cults belonging to this goddess all throughout Rome. They claim she was a key component in Romes success over Carthage in the Punic Wars.
The fountain was originally located beside the Buenavista Palace, but was moved to its current location, in the middle of the square, in the 19th century. Up until it was moved the Fountain of Neptune and Cibeles were looking directly at one another. The area of the fountain, and the fountain itself, has been adopted by the football club Real Madrid, as a place to celebrate its triumphs!
The Cibeles palace is the most prominent feature, besides the fountain, in the Plaza de Cibeles. It is a stunning work of architecture, a cathedral like landmark. It was built in 1909 by Antonio Palacios for the post office headquarters, and was the home of the Postal and Telegraphic Museum until 2007. At this time the building became the Madrid City Hall. The Bank of Spain is another main building in the plaza, the oldest part of the building borders Cibeles Square. The building was expanded in 1936, and again in 1937. 30 meters below the surface is where the gold is kept, and before modern security systems, the room was actually flooded in case of danger!
The Palacio de Linares had actually fallen into complete disrepair until 1992 when it was restores, becoming a cultural center and art gallery that focuses on Latin American Arts.