Welcome to Madrid
Cibeles Fountain has been standing in this emblematic square since 1782. One of the city’s most famous landmarks, it depicts Cybele, the Great Mother of the gods and Roman goddess of fertility, atop a chariot drawn by two lions.
It stands in the centre of the Plaza de Cibeles, the square to which it has lent its name and which marks the start of Madrid’s avenue of art, the Paseo del Arte. The fountain is flanked by four magnificent buildings: Buenavista Palace (the Army’s General Headquarters), Linares Palace (which accommodates the Casa de América cultural institution), Cibeles Palace (previously the main Post Office, it now houses Madrid City Hall and CentroCentro cultural centre), and the Bank of Spain. Commissioned by King Charles III it was designed by renowned Spanish architect Ventura Rodriguez, the man behind Liria Palace and Neptuno Fountain All three figures were made with purple marble from the town of Montesclaros, in Toledo, and the rest of the monument was carved from stone from Redueña, an area 53km to the north of Madrid, close to the La Cabrera mountain range.
When it was first erected, the monument was not only intended to be decorative but also functional, providing water for the official water carriers – who would deliver water to houses – and for the general public. It was also used by the cavalry as a water stop for their horses. Today, as well as being one of the city’s famous landmarks (and having an identical twin in Mexico City), it’s where you should head to if you want to join Real Madrid fans celebrating their team’s many victories.