World Heritage #1618 – Paseo del Prado

Last updated Aug 1, 2022 | Published on Mar 30, 2022Southern Europe, Spain, World Heritage Sites

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Let us go to Madrid and a heritage site with a very long name; Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, a landscape of Arts and Sciences.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes over a thousand properties. They have outstanding universal value and are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Official facts

  • Full name of site: Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, a landscape of Arts and Sciences
  • Country: Spain
  • Date of Inscription: 2021
  • Category: Cultural

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 1618:

Located at the urban heart of Madrid, this cultural landscape evolved since the creation of the tree-lined Paseo del Prado avenue; a prototype of the Hispanic alameda, in the 16th century. The avenue features major fountains, notably the Fuente de Apolo and the Fuente de Neptuno, and the Fuente de Cibeles; an iconic symbol of the city, surrounded by prestigious buildings. The site embodies a new idea of urban space and development from the enlightened absolutist period of the 18th century.

Buildings dedicated to the arts and sciences join others in the site that are devoted to industry, healthcare and research. Collectively, they illustrate the aspiration for a utopian society during the height of the Spanish Empire; linked to the enlightened idea of democratization of knowledge and exercised major influence in Latin America. The 120-hectare Jardines del Buen Retiro (Garden of Pleasant Retreat), a remnant of the 17th-century Buen Retiro Palace, constitutes the largest part of the property.

The site also houses the terraced Royal Botanical Garden and the largely residential neighbourhood of Barrio Jero?nimos with its rich variety of 19th- and 20th-century buildings that include cultural and scientific venues.

My visit

As a matter of fact I have only spent a weekend in Madrid. The post I wrote from the visit was very short. On the other hand, I do have a selection of photos from the Paseo del Prado. We actually took a bus down this very long and wide street, from the magnificent former Post office edifice to the Queen Sofia National Museum Art Centre.

For some reason I can’t recall why, we skipped the famous Prado museum on the way. We visited the Queen’s museum instead. Moreover, we never made it to the large parks and the botanical garden which UNESCO includes. To our possible excuse, this heritage site was not a world heritage site on our visit back in 2004.

Read about my visit

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