The Cibeles Fountain - History and Facts | History Hit

The Cibeles Fountain

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

The Cibeles Fountain is an iconic monument in Madrid which was built under the orders of King Charles III.

Antara Bate

26 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Cibeles Fountain

The Cibeles Fountain (Fuente de Cibeles) is an iconic monument in Madrid that was built under the orders of King Charles III (Carlos III) in the late 18th century. Today it is often the site where football victories are celebrated.

The Cibeles Fountain History

The fountain was built during the reign of King Charles III (Carlos III) between 1777 and 1782. Associated with the classical myth of Cybele, the Roman ‘Great Mother of Gods’, the fountain features the goddess standing in a chariot drawn by two lions. The goddess holds a sceptre and the keys to the city in her hands.

In the second half of the 18th century, following the example of enlightened Paris, King Charles III embarked on a series of reforms aiming to improve Madrid. These included the introduction of pavements and gas street lighting as well as aesthetic additions to the city such as the fountains of Neptune and Cibeles that would later become symbols of the city.

The Cibeles fountain was designed by architect Ventura Rodríguez. The statue of Cybele and the chariot were made by sculptor Francisco Guitiérrez, the lion figures were worked on by Roberto Michel and the decorative elements were completed by Miguel Ximénez. In 1791, two pools with springs were added on to the sides of the fountain. In the form of a sculpture of a dragon and a bear, they were designed to fulfill the purpose of supplying the population with water.

The Cibeles Fountain Today

The Cibeles fountain, along with the Cibeles Palace behind it, has become a classic tourist image of Madrid and is one of the most recognisable sights of the capital. The site is well known for serving as the focal point for Real Madrid Football Club victory celebrations. When the football club wins a significant event, fans gather at the site and the goddess is adorned with a scarf or shirt of the club colours. The tradition follows from 1986 when Emilio Butragueño scored four goals in a World Cup game.

Getting to the Cibeles Fountain

The Cibeles Square is found at the intersection of Alcala Street, the Paseo de Recoletos and the Paseo del Prado and divides the districts Centro, Retiro and Salamanca. The sculpture is surrounded by a number of important buildings such as Banco de España, Buenavista Palace and Linares Palace. It is easily accessible via public transport and the nearest metro station is Banco de España.