Plaza de Cibeles

Plaza de Cibeles is one of the finest squares in Madrid, and as a result of its beauty, it has managed to become a major symbol of the city. The imperial majesty of Spain's capital city is on display at this busy plaza, with buildings such as the Palacio de Comunicaciones and the Banco de Espana figuring among the most architecturally appealing structures in the entire city. In the center of it all lies the attractive Cibeles Fountain, which is a major symbol of the city in its own right. The immediate area in general boasts an enticing appeal that is simply hard to deny, and some of the best Madrid views can be enjoyed from any number of vantage points.

No visit to Madrid would be complete without a stop at the Plaza de Cibeles. You can find this attractive plaza in the eastern part of the city where the Paseo del Prado intersects the Calle de Alcala, and there is no shortage of fantastic attractions close by if you are interested in exploring the area. These attractions include some of the city's best museums and the large and inviting Retiro Park. As for the Plaza de Cibeles, it is actually part roundabout and part plaza, so the atmosphere is usually pretty lively. Cars and pedestrians are typically found whizzing about, and when the weather is nice, as it usually is in Madrid, vendors selling things like t-shirts and paintings are usually found close by.

The Plaza de Cibeles has an array of landmarks that architectural enthusiasts won't want to miss when visiting Madrid. The crowning jewel in the plaza's architectural crown is the Palacio de Comunicaciones. Built between 1904 and 1917, this former post office headquarters is now the city's official city hall. Almost palatial, the Palacio de Comunicaciones has Gothic and Renaissance features, as well as an overall belle époque style. The design was heavily influenced by the monumental style of architecture that was going on in the United States at the time, and it is nothing if it isn't splendid.

One of the other buildings that architectural buffs will likely enjoy checking out on a visit to the Plaza de Cibeles is the Banco de Espana. Work on this colossal edifice started back in 1884, and several additions were made over the years, with the last expansion occurring in 1975. Spain's central bank is headquartered at this large building, and you might be interested to know that a healthy amount of gold is stored underground. In terms of architecture, the building is quite ornate, keeping in line with the tendencies of the Bourbon dynasty.

As for the Cibeles Fountain, it is named after the roman goddess of nature and depicts said goddess in a chariot. Pulling the chariot are two lions. Found in the heart of the Plaza de Cibeles, this eighteenth-century fountain is more than just your average Madrid fountain. When the Real Madrid Football Club wins a major match or tournament, one of the best things to do is head to the Cibeles Fountain and the surrounding plaza en masse to celebrate. It's quite the scene, and if you are town for such an event, you might wander over to get a look at how fervent the Real Madrid faithful really are.

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