Plaza de Colón Madrid – Julia and a one-legged man

arts&culture
Art & culture
relaxing
Relaxing

"Plaza de Colón" in Madrid doesn't just feature Christopher Columbus' statue -- find the towering, serene Julia and the statue of 'half-man' Blas de Lezo.

Plaza de Colón (which is Spanish for Columbus - you can see him there, on top of his pillar) is an important junction in the centre of Madrid. Although the celebration of Cristóbal Columbus's "discovery" of the Americas is now recognised as politically incorrect, the memo didn't reach Spain, so for now, you can still visit this anachronistic festival of Hispanidad. This monument dates from 1892.

Julia, the serene, towering snowy-white head by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, at 12m tall dwarfing Columbus, is for some equally divisive. Personally, I adore her - she won’t be there forever, so catch her while you can.

In front of Colón are the Jardines de Descubrimiento, or Gardens of Discovery. Explore them and discover a few surprises, including a statue of Admiral Blas de Lezo, the scourge of the British Navy. He was known as the "half-man" after losing an eye, an arm and a leg in battle. Unveiled in 2014, it may seem strange to be commemorating an 18th-century hero, but his efforts could be seen as the reason why Spanish and not English is spoken in South America.

Don’t miss out on the nearby Fundación Mapfre while you're there.

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Plaza de Colón

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