Public space is something Madrid does exceptionally well. Often, beautiful parks and fascinating art and architecture go hand-in-hand, sometimes with an incredible sunset thrown in, just for fun. A short metro ride south to the neighbourhood of Usera is the lovely Parque Lineal del Manzanares, a peaceful and equally pleasant alternative to the overcrowded Retiro or Parque del Oeste. It is also the home of one of my favourite sculptures in the city, La Dama del Manzanares.
This 8 tonne, 13 metre high bronze and steel sculpture, created by Valencian artist Manolo Valdés in 2003, sits atop a pyramid-shaped artificial hill providing one of the best viewpoints in Madrid. Although La Dama del Manzanares has no face, I still find her beautiful. Her wild hair kind of reminds me of Caravaggio’s Medusa, although she’s far less intimidating. She faces north, towards the urban centre of Madrid and keeps watch over the city and the Manzanares River, to which she is dedicated.
Sunset is the perfect time to come and visit La Dama del Manzanares. Not only will you get a natural light show in the sky, but she will come alive as well. In 2005, projectors were installed and her lights change colour with the season. Although La Dama del Manzanares is located at the top of a hill, it’s an easy walk to get up close to her. Take a seat and keep her company while she guards the city and enjoy the amazing, unobstructed views of Madrid, day or night.