Welcome to my "Plaza de Oriente" description page, for photos & videos of this site click --> HERE.

A square between the Royal Palace and the Opera theater (photo page coming soon)and a stones throw away from the Jardines de Sabatini (Sabatini Gardens) that lie just west of the Royal Palace, the Plaza de Oriente is one of the biggest in Madrid. The rearing horse and rider statue of king Felipe IV (bronze, from 1640) in the center of the square maintains its difficult equilibrium due to the engineering skills of none less than Galileo Galilei: the hindquarters are solid and the front is hollow. The stone statues around the central part of the square are of "Spanish" kings from before Spain was really Spain. They were originally intended to go on top of the Palace (where some are located) but were so heavy that instead many were placed in the square. Some of the statues display a violence bordering on psychotic, funny on a sunny day but sort of spooky on a foggy night.

    While this square is solidly inside what is now considered Old Madrid, it was outside the first city walls (Arab, 9th century), included in the second walls built in the 12th century by the Christians. Back then, the Plaza del Oriente was part walled gardens, part gully from the stream that ran along what is now Arenal street; the gully was filled in to create Plaza del Oriente and Plaza Isabel II (photo page coming soon) and more building space for the growing city. Until the early 19th century what is now the square was also the site of palace buildings, torn down under French occupation to create more open spaces. During the 1990's, a controversial project excavated most of the square to build an underground parking lot and tunnel for Bailen street. While considerable pedestrian space was gained, many locals think that too much stone was used (the place is pretty hot in the summer); others wonder what archeological remains were destroyed while building the tunnel.

check out the panoramic

Plaza de Oriente of Madrid - jeremy's practical info
(you can click on the icons to see the line trajectories and a map of the metro)
Metro stop: Opera - lines click to see complete line trajectory, click to see complete line trajectory.
 
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