Palacio de Comunicaciones, MadridCategory: Madrid
Are you traveling to Madrid, Spain in the upcoming future, either for business or a family holiday, and looking for some interesting things to do and see while you’re in town? Are you a fan of Spanish architecture, particularly structures that were built before or around the turn of the century? The city of Madrid is one of the most unique metropolises on the European continent, in that its architecture reflects both its modernity, as well as its interesting and storied history. One area of the city in which this history is on display is the Plaza de Cibeles, a large centrally-located city square where, among other structures, you will find the Palacio de Comunicaciones. In the article below we have provided a brief overview of the Palacio de Comunicaciones, as well as some information regarding some of the other structures that also call the Plaza de Cibeles home.
Palacio de Comunicaciones
The Palacio de Comunicaciones, or in English, the “Communications Palace,” is a cathedral-like landmark, built by the Spanish architect Antonio Palacios Ramilo in 1909, that reflects elements of both the Baroque and romanticist styles, a style that was just burgeoning in Spain at the turn of the century. For most of its history, the building served as the Central Post Office in Madrid, and was later transformed into the Postal and Telegraphic Museum. Sadly for tourists, the museum was closed and renovated in 2007, and today the old Palacio de Comunicaciones, which in 2011 was renamed the Palacio de Cibeles for the square in which it is located, is now home to the Ayuntamiento de Madrid, or Madrid City Hall.
The architect responsible for designing the Palacio de Comunicaciones, Antonio Palacios Ramilo, was very well-known throughout Spain and is responsible for a number of the country’s architectural works. Some of these include the Hotel Florida in Madrid, the Garcia Barbon Theatre in Vigo, and many other works in those cities and other places, such as Mondariz, Baiona and his hometown, O Porrino. Along with a handful of other brilliant architects, Palacios helped to modernize Madrid’s image with some of the most symbolic buildings of the city, including the Circle of Fine Arts, Rio de la Plata Bank, Banco Mercantile Industrial and Maudes Hospital, a joint venture between he and architect Joaquin Otamendi Machimbarrena. Palacios even constructed the first lines of the Metro de Madrid, a subway system that today is still heavily relied upon by commuters.
When visiting the Palacio de Comunicaciones you can also get a glimpse of one of the city’s most prized monuments, the Cibeles Fountain, which stands in the square just outside the new city hall. Above the fountain is a statue that depicts Cybele, the Greek goddess of fertility and nature, grasping a scepter and key, while being pulled by two lions on a chariot. The pull of these wild and majestic lions is said to represent the sheer power of nature and the goddess herself.
As we mentioned in the introduction, the Palacio de Comunicaciones is just one of several historical buildings you can visit when touring the Plaza de Cibeles. The most significant of these can be found on the other three corners that delimit the plaza, including the Palacio Buenavista, a building erected in 1777 that is now home to the Spanish army’s headquarters; the Palacio de Linares, a late 19th century (1877) structure now owned by the Casa de America organization; and the Banco de Espana, built in 1884 and now the headquarters of Spain’s national bank.