Alcala Gate is a Neo-classical monument to the North of Retiro
park. Its name refers to the old path from Madrid to the nearby town of Alcala de Henares. In the late 18th century Madrid was still a walled town. Around the year 1774, King Charles III commissioned his architect to design a gate in the city wall through which a larger road to Alcala was built. It replaced a smaller gate which previously marked that spot. Indecisive King Charles couldn't make up his mind between the two designs proposed for the gate so he chose to use both. Unlike most city gates it is not symmetrical. Have a look at the two sides and you'll notice the statues on top are different, as well as the columns and cornices. If you go really close to the arch you will notice there are giant hinges, these remain from the days when the gate had an iron grille where guards stood to control that entered the city. This custom is long gone but there is another which has stood the test of time. Since Alcala Street was always used a route for the migration of livestock, flocks of sheep cross through the Gate once a year.
Other great attractions nearby include Cybele's Fountain
and The Thyseen Bornemisza Museum
. Grab great hotels like Petit Palace Art Gallery
, NH Alcala