Madrid's Official Symbol: The Bear and The Strawberry Tree
Oso and Madrono
Located in Madrid's most famous and most central square, La Puerta del Sol, sits one of Madrid's most important statues, El Oso y El Madrono (the Bear and the Strawberry Tree). The Oso and Madrono is the official symbol of the city.
No one seems to know exactly why the bear and the strawberry tree are the city's icons except that there used to be many bears in the fields around Madrid, and the strawberry tree might actually be representative of the hackberry tree that once was in abundance around the city. Another theory is that following a 13th-century dispute over hunting rights on the land that was owned by the church, an agreement was reached that the church owned the soil, but the people of Madrid owned everything above the ground, namely game. Then, the symbol of Madrid was born -- a Bear (the church's emblem) sniffing a tree. The 20-ton bear statue was constructed in 1967 by sculptor Antonio Navarro Santa Fe and is a popular gathering spot.
Planning a trip to Spain? Click here to find out how I can help make your vacation a unique postcard in your travel scrapbook!