Tag Archives: Alfonso XII

Estanque Grande del Buen Retiro: Park Lake of Madrid

2018_042719_1308_742Looking for some peace and quiet, or want to enjoy a boat ride right in the middle of the city of Madrd, your best choice is the Parque del Retiro. Inside the park, near the huge entrance gate located in front of the Puerta de la Independencia, is the artificial lake called the Estanque del Retiro. Officially, it is known as the Estanque Grande del Buen Retiro.

2018_042620_5558_026The waters of this vast pond, as well as the banks that surround it, occupy a strategic portion of the park, being proximate to a major entrance gate (Alcala).

While it is a veritable all-year-long, must-see segment of Retiro, it becomes even a bigger attraction during the summer and spring seasons when everyone looks to the pond as a fun recreational spot where he can hire a boat that can be navigated around. It is also the habit of people, young and old, to hang out by the banks, particularly the area where the huge statue of Alfonso X11 stands. Needless to say, the estanque was easily an important component of the park, as it provides a natural appeal that entices visitors to visit the place.

How much is the boat ride?

While many would love to lie around and sunbathe, or just leisurely walk around the banks, the most popular recreational activity is to hire the boat and row it to your heart’s conrent.

You may rent a boat, which accommodates a maximum of four people, any day of the week. Rental fee is higher during weekends, at 8 euros. Monday to friday, boats can be had at 6 euros.

2018_042620_5649_649The pont was built in the 1650s, during the time of King Philip IV. Eventually, the estanque, as well as the whole park itself, became properties under the administration of the city of Madrid. In its front stands the monument to Alfonso the Twelfth, looking mighty and proud while guarding the waters.
2018_042622_0456_846People love to spend their afternoon hours idling on the banks that surround the four sides of the pond IMG_1652I’ve been a witness to this scene a number of time I visited Retiro, where ducks in group swim and wade happily in straight or circular direction. The pond serve as their natural habitat, one that they claim as their own.

How to go to the Retiro Estanque

It is easy to reach the Estanque Grande del Buen Retiro. Take EMT Autobus No. 51; this bus passes by one of the main entrances of the park near the Puerta de la Independencia. Inside, look for Calle Nicaragua, which runs in front of the pond. Other buses that go through the park are lines 1, 2, 14, 15, 20, 26, 51, 52, 63, 152.

There is also the Retiro Metro Station, which belongs to line 2. This station is right within the park. Take Paseo del Estanque, one of the nearest streets that will take you to the pond.

Map

Parque el Buen Retiro’s Monumento a Alfonso XII

In front of El Retiro Park, Madrid‘s huge and rectangular-shaped Estanque Grande del Retiro, which is also referred to as the Great Pond by the distinguished Spanish architect Cristobal de Aguilera, is the magnificent monument of Alfonso XII. 

The statue is located halfway of the pond’s side adjacent to Plaza de Maestra Villa, within its eastern portion. The statue towers over everything else and is seemingly looking over the wide expanse of the estanque. The latter itself is an important part of the park in that it boasts of a rich Spanish history that started from Phillip IV’s reign, where it served as a recreational venue for the royals and their court to ride the boats and fish.

It was in 1902 when the plan to build a monument to Alfonso XII was formed. Consequently, a contest endorsed by then Queen Maria Cristina that would determine the architect for the monument project was held, with architect Grases Riera as the eventual winner.

The equestrian statue of Alfonso XI is made in bronze and known to be one of the tallest and largest structures inside the park.  The middle of the last century saw the structure being neglected, allowing it to deteriorate. It was in the 80’s when restoration were done. A number of statues and figures nearby also had to be replaced as part of the restoration.

Visit Alfonso XII Monument at El Retiro Park:

Today, no visit to El Retiro Park should be made without visiting the monument. You will not miss it, in the first place, since the estangue is near the main entrance to the park, the Puerta de Alcala. Walk towards Calle Nicaragua, along which is the front portion of the pond. You will have to take either Paseo del Estangue or Paseo de Valenzuela to reach the statue on the other side.

Near Puerta de Alcala is the Retiro Madrid Metro of Linea 2, which is right inside the park itself. From the station is a short walk to Fuente de los Galapagos and Paseo del Enstanque.

Nearby park sites and attractions:

Palacio de Velazquez, Palacio de Cristal, Cecilio Rodriguez Gardens

imageSunny day, blue skies with wispy clouds here are there — it was indeed a perfect morning to visit the Monument of Alfonso XII at Buen Retiro Park in Madrid

imageI was lucky to have chanced upon the spacious area in front of the equestrian statue as still empty. I could only presume that as the day progresses, it will be filled with tourists excited to take shots of the monument and the pond.

imageI took this shot of the estanque and the monument of Alfonso XII one early morning, and so the quiet and tranquility in the place is still apparent. The estanque was said to have been a witness to a number of Spanish kings and their entourage proudly displaying their gondolas as they wade through them, while at the same time, music was being played.

imageIn this picture is one of the four lions carved out of stone materials, fine masterpieces by exceptional artists, Pedro Estany and Agapit Vallmitjana Abarca. They are placed near the steps that lead to the central monument. Also nearby are four mermaids in various positions; such statues are creations of Parera Saurina, Coll y Pi, Rafael Atche, and Antoni Alsina.

imageAt the back of the monument are ionic columns forming a  beautiful collonade that further enhanced the Alfonso XII monument. These structures were also constructed by Pedro Estany. The steps beneath the statue are often used by visitors and tourists to sit around and stay while waiting for the setting of the sun.

Map: