The Cibeles Fountain in Madrid (Spain). Totally not off the beaten track – this is one of Madrid’s most recognisable landmarks and a very-very-very busy cross roads. It is just not possible being in Madrid and miss it…. It also marks the border between the popular and down to earth Madrid and the posher one. If you are a football fan, you might have seen it several times before. Both Real Madrid and the Spanish selection, come here to the celebrate when they win and offer their trophies to the Goddess. It also the place where all the night buses start and end after hours, very appropriately called Búhos [owls].
The fountain itself, it shows Cybele, the Greek goddess of fertility and nature, in a chariot pulled by a couple of of wild lions on a chariot. On her hands, a key and sceptre. It delimited by four prominent buildings: The Bank of Spain; The Bank of Spain; the Palacio de Linares, hosting the Casa de América, a cultural center and art gallery focused mostly on Latin American arts; the Palacio de Buenavista, where the Army has its headquarters; and the Palacio de Cibeles, which used to be a post office and now is the City Hall. Under the Cibeles, the gold reserves of the Bank of Spain – or so goes the rumour. In the background, to the left, another iconic landmark, the Alcalá Gate [Puerta de Alcalá]