The Retiro Park in Madrid
Going to the Retiro Park is always a delight but when summer is getting nearer and days are warmer and longer is our favorite place in Madrid to relax and uind! In June the Annual Book Fair takes place within its boundaries becoming the center of the cultural activity in Madrid. Just another good excuse to spend the evening surrounded by trees and nature! For 15 days the park fills with book stands and people enjoy activities, books presentations lectures and book signing events!
The history of this park is linked to the monarchs that have reigned in Spain along the centuries, but we owe Charles III the aspect it has nowadays. The 118 hectares that occupies hold many interesting places to visit:
HOUSE OF BEASTS
Until 1972 there was a zoo inside the park. Known as the house of beasts there were monkeys, lions, ostriches a crocodile and even an elephant that was daily bathed by a keeper in a pond. In 1972 a bigger space for a Zoo in the city was built and all the animals left the Retiro. You can still see the monkeys pit and the building that once lodged the lions is now a public library.
One of the most beautiful buildings in Madrid looks like it has come out from a fairytale. Located in the middle of the Retiro Park is surrounded by trees and its façade is reflected in an artificial lake. It was built by Ricardo Velazquez Bosco inspired in the now disappeared Cristal Palace of London. In was opened to the public in 1887 with an exhibition about the Filipine Islands. Nowadays is used to hold modern art exhibitions.
THE FALLEN ANGEL STATUE
One of the most outstanding statues of Madrid is this one located in the park. The monument represents the exile of the angel Luzbel from paradise. The sculptor, Ricardo Bellver, was inspired by Milton’s verses “The lost Paradise”. Is one of the few statues of Lucifer in the world.
In 1760 there was a porcelain Factory in the place where now you can find the fallen Angel statue. Just a few minutes away there the only remains left: a restored mill. It was used in the process of elaborating plates and vases in that time. During the Spanish War of Independence (1808-1814) the French troupes used it as an arsenal and was destroyed in 1812.