The fountain of Cibeles is to be found on the stretch of Madrid commonly called the Paseo de Recoletos. It depicts the goddess Cibeles, the Greek goddess of fertility, who is seen sitting on a chariot and being pulled by two lions. On one side of the fountain of Cibeles, the Paseo de la Recoletos starts, heading north to join up with the Paseo de la Castellana. On the other side, the Paseo del Prado begins and heads off south, towards the fountain of Neptune, in the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo, and on until Atocha.
Up until the 19th century both the fountain of Neptune and Cibeles looked directly at each other, until the city council decided to turn them round to face towards the centre of the city.
Calle Alcalá is the street which intersects the fountain from east to west. Calle Alcalá starts in the Puerta del Sol and continues on to the beautiful Puerta de Alcalá. On the corners of the plaza de Cibeles ‘square’ you will find the headquarters of the Spanish Royal mail, housed in a stunning building which some people compare to a wedding cake. On another corner you will find the Bank of Spain and opposite it the military barracks. On the other side of the plaza, on the East side you will see the Palace of Linares.
The Cibeles fountain was built in the reign of Charles (Carlos) III and designed by Ventura Rodríguez between 1777 and 1782. The goddess and chariot are the work of Francisco Gutiérrez and the lions by Roberto Michel. The fountain of Cibeles has been adopted by the football team Real Madrid, and is often the meeting point for fans and the football players themselves, whenever the team wins the European cup, Spanish league or Spanish cup.
Metro: Banco de España (line 2)
Top 10 sites of Madrid
Walk the Paseo del Prado and Paseo de Recoletos