Plaza de España Square in Madrid
By Aurora Sánchez |
At Plaza de España in Madrid you’ll discover Hispanic literature’s masterpiece and the historical encounter between the Old and the New World.
VISIT THE PLAZA DE ESPAÑA SQUARE IN MADRID
The Plaza de España Square in Madrid (Spain Square) is one of the most important attractions at this destination; no wonder it’s the place where everyone celebrates the victories of the Spanish soccer team! It’s located in downtown Madrid where years ago there was a monastery built by King Charles III in the 18th century, which was later used as an armory by Napoleon’s brother.
As the city of Madrid expanded and the armory was destroyed, they created the Plaza de España Project in 1911, which gave birth to the urban-natural setting we know today.
This emblematic square is surrounded by some of the most important buildings in Madrid: The Torre de Madrid (Madrid Tower) built in 1954 and the Edificio España (Spain Building) finished in 1953 and considered for a long time the tallest building in Europe with its height of 117 meters. In the whereabouts you’ll also find other renowned buildings such as Saint Theresa and Saint Joseph Church, the Royal Asturian Mining Company, the Gallardo House and the Royal Palace, all of which you should visit on your trip to this cultural and touristic site.
MIGUEL CERVANTES DE SAAVEDRA
One of the main elements you’ll find at Plaza de España is the fountain and sculptures dedicated to Miguel Cervantes de Saavedra and to his main work, Don Quixote. The works were planned between 1915 and 1916 for the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the print run of Don Quixote’s second part and the third centenary of the passing of Cervantes de Saavedra.
The monument is 35 meters tall, but what’s more surprising about it is the literary treasure it portrays. On its main face there’s a sculpture of Cervantes holding a copy on Don Quixote in his hands. In front of him you’ll find this Spanish literature masterpiece’s main characters: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, represented as if they were riding their horses across the fields of La Mancha. Other sculptures you’ll find include those of Dulcinea del Toboso, at the left, and Aldonza Lorenzo, Don Quixote’s love, at the right.
Around the monument there are several other sculptures and engravings, including the coat of arms of Cervantes’ family. But one of the most interesting works you’ll find is the obelisk surrounded by five young characters. It represents the world and, each character, a continent. On its main face you’ll notice there are two characters holding a book that represents Europe and America, respectively. They symbolize the encounter between both worlds after the Spanish conquest; the way in which the Old World taught the New World its culture, its language and its literature through Cervantes’ work.
A secret about Plaza de España that few people know is that there’s a small China Town underneath the square. It attracts people who want to find a piece of the Eastern world in Madrid, so try to find it when you reach the square, following Gran Via avenue, one of the main avenues in the city. Another option, if you take the subway, go to Plaza de España station on lines 3 and 10.