A short walk from the Prado Museum is Retiro Park – a spectacular city escape filled with magnificent statues, whimsical gardens, and a lovely lake! For those looking for some interesting Retiro Park Madrid history, it was developed in the 1600s as a place for the Court’s recreational use (how royal!), before eventually opening to the public.
The entire place reminded me of something straight out of a fairytale. However, my favorite tidbit (despite it being slightly disturbing)… Located in the Rosaleda Garden lies the Fountain of the Falling Angel, erected in 1922. It represents Lucifer falling from Heaven. It’s said that this monument is the only known public statue of the devil. Weird, right?!
Anyway, for those NYC dwellers and lovers alike, Retiro Park in Madrid is very similar (to me at least) to Central Park. My favorite spot in Central Park is the Alice In Wonderland statue, and here in Retiro park, I’m keeping with my fairytale theme, with my favorite locale easily being the Crystal Palace – a glass pavilion inspired by the one in London.
The Crystal Palace was built in the 1800s, and while it was empty while we were visiting, it sometimes houses temporary exhibits, mostly consisting of exotic plants. Even its surrounding area was absolutely breathtaking.
Sitting on the steps of the Crystal Palace, dreaming away!
We left Retiro Park close to Madrid’s Arc de Triomphe (Puerta de Alcala), which is located near Independence Square. Now considered a National Monument, it was completed in the late 1700s. The gate was constructed to replace a smaller one from the 16th century. It’s pretty amazing looking, especially in person – the pictures just don’t do it the justice it deserves.
More from Madrid to come!