Parque del Buen Retiro, MadridCategory: Madrid
Covering an area of 350 acres or 120 hectares, the Parque del Buen Retiro (Park of the Pleasant Retreat) is a huge ecological site at the heart of the Madrid. The park was the former location of the royal palace built in 1632 during the sovereignty of King Philip IV. After the Peninsula War, the palace was severely destroyed leaving a considerable space. A small number of the remaining structure of the palace is eventually converted to museums. In 1868, the park was officially opened to the general public.
The Parque del Buen Retiro is more than your usual park. It has a rich collection of history and Spain’s grandeur. Be sure to include one of these places on your itinerary and for sure you will come back again:
Retiro’s Pond (Estanque del Retiro)
The Estanque del Retiro is a large, artificial pond within the park. One can go for a nice boat ride or simply sit down on the side of the lake and enjoy the soothing environment.
Monument of Alfonso XII
Overlooking the Estanque del Retirois the monument of King Alfonso XII. It was constructed in 1922 through the king’s mother initiative. The monument features a semicircular colonnade with an equestrian statue of the monarch at the center.
Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal)
Located at the perimeter of the lake, Palacio de Cristal was initially used to accommodate exotic plants brought over from the Philippines in 1887. It is made of glass and steel. Today, this glasshouse is utilized for exhibitions and other events.
Forest of the Departed (Bosque de los Ausentes)
It is a memorial shrine to commemorate the 191 victims of the Madrid train bombings in March of 2004 and the special force agent who died after a bomb attack in April 2004. The monument has 192 olive trees symbolizing each victim and is surrounded by a channeled stream current.
Fountain of the Fallen Angel (El Angel Caido)
Designed and carved by Ricardo Bellver, it is a symbolism of Lucifer falling from heaven. The Fountain of the Fallen Angel was built in 1874 through the initiatives of Duke Fernán Núñez. It is believed to be the only statue in Europe dedicated for such purpose.
Palacio de Velázquez
The Palacio de Velázquez was originally built for the Mining Exhibition of 1833. It is named after its architect Velázquez Bosco. The exterior is presented with 2-toned brickwork and tiles surrounding a metal edge crowned by a dome.
Madrid Book Fair (Feria del Libro)
For bookworms, the Madrid Book Fair is your place to be. It is held for 3 weeks starting on the last weekend of May. It is an open-air affair generally made up of at least 350 stalls. There is no reason for you not find something interesting with a vast collection of books available in this event.
Performances and shows
The Banda Sinfónica de Madrid provides free concerts every Sunday beginning late May until early October. There are various entertainments during the weekends such as street theatre actors, jugglers, fortune tellers, painters, musicians and more.