The Cibeles Fountain is one of the most photographed sights in Madrid, sitting on square named Plaza de Cibeles in of area of Madrid called Paseo de Recoletos.
The fountain is named after Cybele, a goddess who was greatly worshipped in Anatolia, present day Eastern Turkey and was also highly regarded in Rome where she was known as the “Great Mother”. The fountain in Madrid that is dedicated to her has Cibeles sitting in a carriage pulled by two lions. The lions represent the mythological characters Hippomenes and Atalanta, two lovers from Greek mythology.
The design of the fountain was by Ventura Rodríguez and it was built between 1777 – 1782. Rodríguez, although designing it never created it, Francisco Gutiérrez made the goddess and the chariot whilst Roberto Michel carved the two lions.
When the fountain was originally built it was next to the Buenavista Palace and it was moved to its present location in 1852. When it was moved to its present location it actually faced in the direction of the Fountain of Neptune, and Neptune faced her. In 1885 both fountains where turned around to face the city centre.
The fountain when it was originally created was not only an artistic monument, it was also very usefull to the citizens of Madrid. It had two standpipes, that were in operation up until 1862, where one pipe provided water for the water carriers to take to the nearby houses and the other was for the general public. The trough around the base was also used as a water trough for horses who drank from it.
The fountain has been adopted by the Real Madrid Football Club who, along with their supporters, go there to celebrate any victories in major competitions.