Every metropolitan city has its own central museum, which welcomes millions of peering visitors each year. What the British Museum and the Madame Tussauds is to the Brits, the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay to the Parisians, same does the Museo del Prado and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía to Madrileños. In fact, Madrid is home to many of the masterful artworks, from fine arts to architectural frameworks and monumental sculptures, which you may not be able to see anywhere in Europe. Below is a compilation of such best-kept secrets of Madrid City.
This is one of the most famous oil paintings of Pablo Picasso, depicting the Spanish Civil War in all its anguish. What it is to the naked eye is one apiece horse, lamp, and a few people, all acting somewhat chaotic. When you are in Museo Reina Sofía, you can see the mural that the Spanish Republic got in 1937 from the artist. However, during WWII the painting went places as per his wishes, including the Museum of Modern Art in NYC where it stayed for close five decades. The painting returned to Spain in 1981 and was entered into one of the best museums in Madrid in 1992.
The Garden of Earthly Delights
This painting by Dutchman Hieronymus Bosch has been a permanent figure in the Museo Nacional del Prado since the late 1930s. The triptych painting traces back to the 1400’s and depicts a worldview of humans, the children of Adam and Eve, on the left panel. The middle shows an open garden full of fruits and pastures which brings a sense of joy. The right portion shows a chilling depiction of the purgatory or hell, making tourists wonder what Bosch meant.
La Fuente De Cibeles
In this painting, Cibeles Goddess sits on the chariot featuring lion cubs, one apiece dragon and bear. The fountain cum statue residing right in the heart of Madrid was constructed in the 18th Century at the behest of King Carlos III. Ventura Rodríguez was the architect who designed the ‘Cibeles Fountain’ and Francisco Gutiérrez Arribas was the sculptor. You would certainly visit this place in the city capital out of sheer luck and some sort of camaraderie.
Puerta de Alcalá
This neoclassical gateway cum national monument is Spain’s answer to the Arc de Triomphe in France. It was opened in 1778 and was constructed by Francesco Sabatini at the behest of King Charles III. The Italian Architect commissioned to work in the city capital constructed a design comprising of 5 arches, 3 in the middle and 2 at the sides like an architrave. It was placed at the gateway of the city adjacent to the eponymous Alcalá de Henares road, now the Plaza de la Independencia square.
This 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez is a popular artwork featured in the Prado Museum in Madrid. The western painting depicts the Royal Alcazar of Madrid of King Philip IV of Spain alongside the royal family. Look at the backdrop and you can see Velázquez himself holding a brush and playacting as the painter painting the highness, Infanta Margaret Theresa, alongside her maids, bodyguard, gnomes, and a dog. He is the painter from the Spanish Golden Age and this is his tour de force work.
Palacio de Cristal
This glass cum metal structure resides at the Buen Retiro Park in Madrid. It was conceived in the year 1887 and was designed by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco with cues from a similar-looking palace constructed in London. The park is also home to recreational activities like paddle boating and the ‘Monumento a Alfonso XII’ commissioned by Queen Regent María Cristina and constructed in tribute of King Alphonse XII.
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
The home ground of Real Madrid Football Club is a must-visit especially when on walking tours of Madrid. Like many of the football stadiums in Europe, this one too gives you an opportunity to see the ‘Galaticos’ their glorious past and the immortal present on the stadium tour. Who wouldn’t know about the likes of Christiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and even Kaka, Roberto Carlos, and Zinedine Zidane going back a few years.
Below are some extra fun facts, which recycle the compilation in a nutshell so that you get some groundwork regarding them prior to your visit.
- Pop Singer Katy Perry performed the cult song “Firework” at the Puerta de Alcalá in 2010 on the occasion of the MTV Europe Music Awards.
- The Madrileños and the ‘Galaticos’ often come to La Fuente De Cibeles to celebrate the victories of Real Madrid FC as lately as last season when they won the La Liga for the 33rd time.
- The Reina Sofía and Prado feature rivaling contemporary artworks and are two of the most visited museums in Madrid City as of now.