"Wander Around Orient Square" Plaza de Oriente Tip by DanielF

Plaza de Oriente, Madrid: 34 reviews and 57 photos

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This large crescent-shaped garden separates the opera and the Royal Palace and, therefore is one of the most popular spots of Madrid with tourists. It is believed that its name refers to the fact that the square faces the Eastern façade of the Royal Palace. Oddly enough, the Royal Palace has become known as Orient Palace for assimilation with the Square's name, despite the fact that it is located in the Occident of the city.

The present configuration of Orient Square was laid down in the 19th century by Narciso Pascual. It is presided by a 17th century bronze statue of King Philip IV by Pietro Tacca, which is said to be the first equestrian statue where the horse stands only on two hooves.

In the gardens, you will also find some rather crude statues depicting various early Spanish Kings. They are locally known as the Goth Kings, but some of the first Christian Kings after the Reconquista are also represented. Not that the artist who sculpted them were not skilful enough, but they simply were not designed to be observed from the ground perspective. They make part of a collection that included all the Spanish kings, intended to decorate the roof of the adjacent Royal Palace. For fear that the structure of the building would not support their weight, the sculptures were recycled for the "ornamentation" of different gardens and parks in the city, including Orient Square, the Sabatini Gardens and the Retiro Park.

Address: Between Royal Palace and Opera House
Website: http://www.gomadrid.com/sights/plaza-de-oriente.html

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 13, 2008
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