Sometimes a monument has more history and symbolism than we think. That is the case of one of the most famous sources in Madrid. In fact, Surely you've seen more than one image of the Neptune red and white fountain. And if we say red and white it is because they are the colors of one of the city's soccer teams, which celebrates its triumphs in it. We talk about Atlético de Madrid. Do you feel like knowing her a little more?
Neptune, the red and white fountain from Madrid
This is one of the most admired and beloved fountains in the Spanish capital along with the Cibeles. The fountain is called Neptune because it has a huge sculpture of this mythological character. An imposing figure that wields a trident in a car pulled by two horses with a fish tail.
Historymmarftrejo / Flickr.com
The idea of this source arose in the year 1777. However, until 1782 it was not started and its construction was completed in 1786. The monument was part of the idea of Carlos III to beautify the city of Madrid to match it to large European capitals.
A project that the monarch commissioned Ventura Rodríguez. This source is of Greco-Roman inspiration, as are other monuments of that transformation project in Madrid. We talked about the Cibeles fountain and the Puerta de Alcalá.
Initially, he stood at the bottom of the San Jerónimo race, facing the Cibeles. But in 1898 it was decided to change its location. It then moved to the center of the Cánovas del Castillo square, where it can be seen today.
«Madrid is an excuse to tell stories.»
Font designHarvey Barrison / Wikimedia Commons
The realization of the fountain was entrusted to Juan Pascual de Mena, although he died before finishing it, so other artists would be responsible for the completion of the work. The material it is made of is white marble.
The design, as we indicated, revolves around Roman mythology. In fact, in the center of the pylon you can see the powerful figure of the god of the sea, Neptune, one of the most important divinities of Olympus. God grabs a trident with his left hand and has a snake curled in his right hand.
The car where the figure is located is a giant shell pulled by two other mythological figures: hippocampus. There are more sculptures accompanying Neptune. They are marine beings, such as seals and dolphins, that surround the car and launch water jets
Where is it located?Diego Delso - Wikimedia Commons
To visit the fountain you have to go to Paseo del Prado. We already said that it is in the Cánovas del Castillo square, although the roundabout has taken the name of the monument. Hence it is popularly known as the square of Neptune.
If you are in the center of the city, you should know that Walking from the Puerta del Sol will take you just over 10 minutes. Public transport is also simple, as many bus lines pass through it. And if you go by train, the Atocha station is also very close.
And once there, we recommend you to walk calmly to Cibeles. Or look for some of the treasures that are nearby. Jewels like the Prado Museum or the Thyssen-Bornemizsa Museum that, of course, you should visit.
Some curiosities of the red and white fountainFranz Van Pelt / Flickr.com
For the Atlético de Madrid fans this is a very special place. The rojiblanca source has been a silent witness to the glory moments of the club, as it celebrates its victories here since 1991. As is the case with Real Madrid fans with Cibeles.
But long before, during the Civil War, what hung on it was a poster on the neck of the figure of Neptune. On it you could read "Feed me or take off my fork." A curious way to protest against the hardships that a good part of the Madrid population was going through at that time.
And we go to 1914, year in which the god was without his bronze trident.The Madrid City Council put in its place a new one, of course, of iron dyed in gold. A way to avoid the actions of friends of others.