In the heart of Madrid, this vast green zone is an exceptional open-air museum that houses numerous works of art, sculptures for the most part, that blend in harmoniously with the floral landscape, the ponds and lakes, and the local population. Among the various sights of interest in these magnificent gardens, the Fountains of Alcachofa and Ángel Caido, a unique representation of the devil, are worthy of mention. Amongst the fountains, ponds and gardens stand two buildings: the Casón del Buen Retiro and the Military Museum, that used to serve as the Kingdom Hall, decorated with paintings by Velázquez and Zurbarán. Finally, the Crystal Palace, which was built towards the end of the 19th century, is a sort of glass house located in the centre of a large pond. It's one of the main representations of the glass and metal construction trend in Europe and in Spain. However, Retiro Park's main asset resides in the many visitors drawn here by the charming environment and the activities on offer, such a boating, puppet shows, concerts, shows, artistic events, etc. Many visitors also come here just to enjoy a small boat outing; a very popular pass-time in this lush and green park.
Inspired by the Crystal Palace of Hyde Park in London, it was built in 1887 for the Philippine Islands Exhibition. Contemporary art exhibitions are held in it.© Yulia Zablotskaya / 123RF
Originally built for a national exhibition to celebrate the mining industry, today it holds temporary exhibitions.© Frederic Prochasson / 123RF
The Palacio de Cristal is located at the edge of a lake. Some of the Philippine flower species that were planted here have taken root in the water.© Oleksandr Prykhodko / 123RF
At the time of the exhibition on the Philippines, a tribe of natives was ordered to settle into some huts along the establishment.© José Manuel Sánchez Guerrero / 123RF
It is possible to rent a small boat on the lake, so as to really enjoy the calm of the park. Ideal for a romantic stroll.© José Manuel Sánchez Guerrero / 123RF