Arch Monuments: Magnificent Madrid Attractions

Madrid, Spain, like most other European cities, is rich in history, culture and arts. This is evident in the numerous significant monuments and and structures in various parts of the city, many are intended to commemorate a significant event or an individual in the distrito or barrio where they are found.  Others serve to represent or honor the place or the whole city itself. A popular type of monument is the arch, and the two most common reasons for being is to serve as a gateway to the city or celebrate a major victory in a battle.

The following are some of the popular arch monuments within the Spanish capital:

Puerta de Toledo

imageOne of the most visited Madrid attractions is the Puerta de Toledo, an impressive monument located in the heart of the city. It is near Gloriette de Embajadores and Lavapies. It took 15 long years for builders to finish this grand structure. Done in the early 19th century, it is actually considered as a new monument, since many others like it date as far back as the 1500’s. Still the Toledo Gate is special since it bears the official emblem of Madrid.

And like other important statues, a number sits on top of the monument – all of which represents the powerful reign of the kings of Spain during the medieval period. A fitting honor has been bestowed upon the well-loved structure – it was labelled in 1996 as a Bien de Interes Cultural.

How to go: The easiest way is via Madrid Metro. Like linea 5 and get off at Puerta de Toledo station. C2, C1 are two of the many auto-buses that passes through the monument.

Puerta de Alcala

imagePuerta de Alcala will surely pop up into one’s mind when asked which monument is most associated with the city of Madrid. Indeed, it strongly represents the city as far as Spanish history and culture are concerned. Finished in 1778 by Senor Francisco Sabatini, the architect who was also responsible for the Sabatini Gardens.

Where can the monument be found? It is right in the middle of the Independence square (Plaza de la Independencia), standing at the starting point of Calle de Alcala. It is also near the Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro), and so this Madrid attraction is good enough reason to drop by Alcala.

How to go:

Metro: Take linea 2 and alight at Retiro atation. From here, proceed to the park gate fronting the Puerta de Alcala.

Bus: Autobus No. 51 stops at the parade in Plaza de la Independencia, in front of the monument.

Arco de la Victoria

imageStanding proudly within the vicinity of Moncloa is the Arco de la Victoria – one of the majestic arch monuments of Madrid. Francisco Franco ordered the building of the structure in 1950, as a way of remembering the strongman´s victory in one of his battles during the Civil War of Spain, the Battle of Ciudad Universitaria, in 1936.

Also called the Puerta de la Moncloa, the Victory Arch of Madrid was not built to serve as a gateway to the city; but instead, it is triumphal in nature. It has a resemblance to the Puerta de Alcala, and was constructed by prolific Spanish architects Bravo Sanfeliu and Lopez Otero. Conspicuous among the sculptures on top is that of Minerva.

How to go:

Metro: Opt for line 3 or 6, and get off at Moncloa Station. You will find it standing in the middle of Avenida de Arco de la Victoria.

Puerta de San Vicente

IMG_0003Another brilliant work by Francesco Sabatini, acting as a significant gateway to Madrid is the Puerte de San Vicente. It is in the middle of the Glorietta de San Vicente, while the most popular landmark nearby is the Principe Pio Metro train station and shopping center. This 3-arched monument, which is also called Puerta de Florida and Puerta del Angel, displays the statue of San Vicente, hence the name. Pedro Ribera was commissioned by then mayor of 1726 Marquis de Badillo to build the structure as a replacement to a old gateway.

How to go:

The glorietta is just a stone´s throw away from the Principe Pio station and mall. It is also near the Jardines de Campo del Moro at Paseo Virgen del Puerto.

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