Sparrows Cemetery In The Plaza Mayor

Sparrows Cemetery In The Plaza Mayor

This magnificent statue of King Philip III, located in Plaza Mayor of Madrid, was completed in Florence in 1616 by Giambologna and Pietro Taca.

It had been placed at several sites, the first in the Palace of Vargas in Casa de Campo (the large park on the West side of the city), where it remained until 1848. From that year, it was moved to the Plaza Mayor, by initiative of Ramón Mesonero Romanos.

In 1873, it was taken down from the pedestal, and stored for a year, due to the proclamation of the 1st Republic. After this year, and once the monarchy was restored with Alfonso XII, the statue was placed back in the Plaza Mayor in its current location.

A curiosity about this statue, which was unknown, is that during centuries, it has been a graveyard of birds, because they entered through the horse’s mouth, and could not get out. They could not fly to exit through the small slot, nor could they climb over the horse’s neck.

This death trap, was revealed when in the celebrations for the 2nd Republic, vandals began to deface the statue, and threw a firecracker inside the horse’s mouth, resulting in a fracture of the sculpture, that let out hundreds of bird bones, revealing the secret.

In its reconstruction, Juan Cristobal, closed the mouth of the horse.

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