The origins of the gardens of Retiro Park in Madrid date back to the year 1630, when Count Duque de Olivares ceded to Felipe IV the lands that Duke Fernán Núñez had given him.
From that moment, the monarchy exclusively enjoyed the gardens until 1868, year in which they became public domain after the Glorious Revolution.
Considered as one of the main tourist attractions in the city, it houses numerous architectural, sculptural and landscape collections from the 17th to the 21st centuries, including the Alfonso XII Monument, the Crystal Palace, the Grande Estanque (Big Pond), el Parterre, La Puerta de Felipe IV, the Royal Astronomical Observatory and la Fuente de la Alcachofa.
The park is located in the very heart of Madrid and it is a peaceful oasis that shields us from the exhausting hustle and bustle of the city. It has almost 20 entrances and has an area of 118 hectares where there are 19 thousand trees of 167 different species.
We shared these 5 curiosities that you might not have known about this park
THE SECRETS OF THE ESTANQUE (POND)
The official name of the big pond is “Estanque Grande del Retiro”, it is one of the most visited places by tourists, in which we can take a boat ride. It has a depth of up to 1.80 meters and was commissioned by Felipe IV to recreate naval battles in which he loved to participate. In 2001 it was emptied and several types of things were found (chairs, mobiles, umbrellas, tables, ash urns, an empty safe, etc.).
In 1915 “La Rosaleda del Retiro” is built by Celio Rodríguez. Today it is composed of more than 4 thousand roses and the best time to visit them is between the months of May and June.
The Crystal Palace a beautiful structure of iron and glass that was built to host the Colonial Exhibition of 1887. Currently it holds art exhibitions and it is one of the sites of the Reina Sofía Museum.
THE DEVIL’S STATUE
The Statue of the Fallen Angel was carried out by the Madrid sculptor Ricardo Bellver in 1877. It is said that it is the only sculpture in the world dedicated to Lucifer, but it is not quite true. There are others in Turin and Quito. The statue happens to stand at 666 meters above sea level.
THE ANCIENT INHABITANT
The oldest tree in the Community is in Retiro: it is a bald cypress that we find by the entrance called Puerta de España on the west side on Calle Alfonso XII. It was planted in 1663.