Paseo del Prado Boulevard

Paseo del Prado Boulevard

From Plaza Cibeles, we will be heading south, along the Paseo del Prado.

The Paseo del Prado is one of the most important boulevards of Madrid, and also the oldest historical garden, in the middle of the boulevard.

It runs North / South route from the Plaza de Cibeles, up to the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V (better known as Glorieta de Atocha). Close to the middle of the Paseo del Prado, we have the Fountain of Neptune, which is almost half of the way from Cibeles to Atocha.

Paseo del Prado Gardens
Paseo del Prado Gardens

In the Paseo del Prado, we have the most important museums of art of the city, which are known worldwide as El Prado, Thyssen – Bornemisza, and near the Glorieta de Atocha, about 100 meters south of Paseo del Prado is the Reina Sofia Museum .

Besides the museums, also very close to this walking tour, we have the building of the Madrid Stock Exchange, the Casona del Buen Retiro, the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid, the grand Retiro Park, the building of the Royal Spanish Academy, the SpanishCongress of Deputies, and the large luxury hotels, the Palace and the Ritz.

Neptuno Fountain in Cánovas del Castillo Plaza, better known as Neptuno Plaza.
Neptuno Fountain in Cánovas del Castillo Plaza, better known as Neptuno Plaza.

The Paseo del Prado, is named after what was called the Prado Viejo (Old Prado). These were the gardens surrounding the Monastery of San Jerónimo el Real, that made the eastern boundary of the town of Madrid.

With the Salón del Prado project (Prado Hall Project), during the reign of Carlos III, a series of reforms were made to this part of the city of heavily wooded areas. The idea was to integrate it with the palace gardens of the Buen Retiro (today’s Retiro Park). These works began in 1763.

Detalle de la Fuente de Apolo
Detalle de la Fuente de Apolo

The Salón del Prado, was designed as a longitudinal area, with large gardens and fountains, among which are the Cibeles, Neptune, and the Four Seasons or Fountain of Apollo.

The Salón del Prado, was projected to go from Cibeles to Atocha, and divided into three sections. The first is the Prado Apollo, who formed what is between Cibeles and Neptune fountains, with the Apollo fountain in the middle.

The second part, is the area from the Neptune Fountain, to the Royal Botanical Garden. Next to it, there still are the four small fountains, at the junction with Huertas Street.

Dos de las cuatro fuentes llamadas Las Fuentecillas.
Dos de las cuatro fuentes llamadas Las Fuentecillas, con el Jardín Botánico al fondo..

The third section, is from the Botanical Garden, across its facade, all the way to the Atocha Gate, and the Artichoke Fountain. In the picture below, you can see a copy of the sculpture La Alcachofa (The Artichoke), which is placed in the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, better known as the Glorieta de Atocha. It is in this square where the Atocha Gate was, which marked the end of the Paseo del Prado.

Fuente de La Alcachofa Reproducción en Bronce - Glorieta de Atocha
Fuente de La Alcachofa Reproducción en Bronce – Glorieta de Atocha

The original sculpture of the artichoke, is located very close to this point, in the Retiro Park.

In the engraving below, Puerta de Atocha (Atocha Gate), can be seen as it was one end of the Paseo del Prado. It was demolished in 1850, in order to begin the construction of the Atocha station. This station adopted the name of Puerta de Atocha, in honor of the missing gate.

English: View of Puerta de Atocha with the fou...
English: View of Puerta de Atocha with the fountain situated in the nearby at Paseo del Prado. Engraving by Camarón. Español: Vista de la Puerta de Atocha con la fuente que se halla en sus inmediacions en el Paseo del Prado. Grabado de Camarón. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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