The "Alcalá Gate" (in Spanish, La Puerta de Alcalá) soon became one of Madrid's symbols and
it is one of the most well-known monuments. It is now classified as a National Monument.
It is a Neo-classical granite monument in the Plaza de la Independencia square. It stands near the city center and several meters away from the main entrance
to the Buen Retiro Park.
The square is bisected by Alcalá Street, although the street itself doesn't cross through the monument.
It was designed by Italian architect Francesco Sabatini in 1764 (with the King Charles III).
Charles III ordered it to be built in the city wall, which marked the eastern boundary.
The granite gate is 19.5 metres tall and is elegant and well-proportioned. With three large archways and two smaller
rectangular passageways. The façade features a number of decorative elements with groups of sculptures, capitals,
reliefs and masks, among others. Each of the archways is decorated with a lion's head, sculpted by
Roberto Michel. The construction of the gate took 9 years, it was finally completed in 1778.
The Gate was a real door, ie a door of one wall still standing well into the nineteenth century.
And was erected as a triumphal arch to celebrate the arrival of the King Charles III in the city of Madrid.
One curious piece of information about this Gate: It has some statues on top, representing four
cardinal virtues: Prudence, Justice, Temperance (or Restraint) and
Fortitude (or Courage).
The term "cardinal" comes from the Latin cardo or hinge; the cardinal virtues are so called because
they are hinges upon which the door of the moral life swings. In the Alcalá Gate, the cardinal virtues
are represented by four children:
• Justice – With her balance and scales.
• Temperance – With her stirrup.
• Fortitude – With her spear and shield.
• Prudence – With her mirror.
Also, there are some empty trusses located on the west side. The trusses appear "abandoned", as trophies.
They are allegory of the exaltation of peace.
Puerta de Alcalá
* Line 2
Plaza de la Independencia
- Retiro or Banco de España stations.