The Greek Gods of Spain

Greek and Roman Mythology Guide to Spain

Monumental Cascade Fountain

Location: Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona

This beautiful fountain is called the Great or Monumental Cascade (Gran Cascada, Cascada Monumental).

A golden statue of Aurora (Greek: Eos) in her Quadriga drawn by four horses can be seen at the very top of the monument. A quadriga (Latin quadri-, four, and iugum, yoke) is a car or chariot drawn by four horses abreast. It’s the Roman Empire’s equivalent of Ancient Greek tethrippon. It was raced in the Ancient Olympic Games and other contests.

Aurora holds a torch in her right hand, symbolising the light that illuminates the world every morning. The Goddess of the sunrise has been positioned above the fountain since 1888.

Aphrodite Apollo Poseidon Fountain Spain

 
The centrepiece of the backdrop to fountain monument depicts the birth of Venus (Aphrodite). The Goddess of Love can be seen standing in front of a giant clamshell together with a couple of Naiads. Neptune (Poseidon) can be seen on the right hand side closer to the water holding his three-pronged trident.

Climb the steps to the top platform to take a better view of the park.  I visited this magical fountain during a period of renovation and I was blown away by its beauty. The famous designer, Gaudi, is reputed to have worked here as an apprentice when the monument was under construction.

Four Griffons, mythical beasts (part lion and eagle) guard the upper water level.

Cibeles (The Titaness Rhea) Fountain

Location: Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid

Roman Myth Fountain in Spain

 
The mother of the Olympian Gods and Goddesses is honoured every time Real Madrid, Spain’s most famous football team, wins a championship. As you see below.

Apollo Fountain

Location: Madrid

Apollo Fountain Madrid
Luis García (Mod) – Wikimedia Commons

The 12 Labours of Hercules Mosaic

Location: National Archeological Museum of Spain, Madrid

Labour of Hercules Mosaic Madrid Spain
Carole Raddato – Flickr

Labyrinth of the Minotaur

Location: Terra Mitica – Partida del Moralet, s/n, 03502 Benidorm, Alicante, Spain

The Minotaur

Location: Coria

Minotaur Statue in Spain
DavidDaguerro de Madrid (Mod) – Wikimedia Commons

Pasiphaë 

Location: D’Adarró beach, Vilanova i la Geltrú – Seaside town in Catalonia (a few kilometres South of Sitges)

The statue visually represents the myth of Pasiphaë (Pasífae in Catalan). In Greek mythology, Pasiphaë was the daughter of Helios and the wife of King Minos of Crete. Poseidon sent Minos a bull as a gift to be sacrificed but he refused because of the bull’s prized beauty. Poseidon became angry at this disobediance and punished King Minos by making his wife fall in love with the bull. The myth says that Pasiphaë had a wooden bull constructed so that she could hide inside it to mate with the bull! She loved the bull dearly. I wonder if Eros got involved. If that wasn’t bizarre enough, the offspring was the monstrous Minotaur.

Minotaur Myth Sculpture in Spain

 
If someone can dream this construction into life, then I’m certain the Greek myth must be true.

Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Location: Aranjuez (50 km south of Madrid)

 
The gardens are filled with many reminders of Greek mythology. Hercules and the hydra, as well as Apollo stand out. Check out some more of the beauty within the fabulous Gardens at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez.

Cascada Nueva – La Granja

Location: La Ganja, near Segovia – 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Madrid

The 18-th century Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso (Spanish: Palacio Real de La Granja de San Ildefonso), known as La Granja, pays tribute to the Greek Gods and Goddesses.

Here you can see Andromeda, Apollo and Neptune (Poseidon) way back in the distance.

Andromeda Neptune Fountain Spain
Miguel Hermoso Cuesta (Mod) – Wikimedia Commons

Tower of Hercules

Location: La Coruña (Galicia, Spain)

It is the oldest working lighthouse in the world. Interestingly, Hercules is thought to have been buried in Spain. To have a lighthouse named after Hercules is impressive.

Tower of Hercules Spain
Contando Estrelas (Mod) – Flickr

Hercules

Location: Ceuta

Hercules Statue Spain

 

The Pillar of Hercules are on Spains doorsteps.

Spanish Goddess

 
A tribute to Patricia Yurena Rodríguez – Miss Universe 2013 – First Runner Up. You have to watch this unique Spanish swimsuit contest.

Medusa Sunbeach Festival

Location: Valencia

The Spaniards know how to party. The Medusa Sunbeach Festival has been held every year since 2014.

 

Hermes (Mercury) assists in the founding of Barcelona

Location: Plaça de Catalunya, Barcelona

Hermes the founder of Barcelona

 
Legend has it that Hermes (Mercury) helped to assist in the founding of Barcelona, together with Hercules. I wonder if he gave someone an important message?

Eros

Location: Parc del Laberint d’Horta, Barcelona

The 18-acre gardens are said to be the oldest in Barcelona.

Eros God of Love Laberinto

Spain has a labyrinth with Greek Gods and Goddesses to explore. How cool does this labyrinth look? I missed these beautiful gardens completely. Ignorance is hell.

At the entrance of the maze, you’ll find a relief of King Minos welcoming Theseus on Crete. In Greek mythology, Minos had a maze built to house the Minotaur.

It’s possible you’ll find Echo, the nymph who fell in love with Narcissus. Unfortunately, you won’t find the Minotaur here. Or can you?

Hermes

Location: Alcázar of Seville (Spanish “Reales Alcázares de Sevilla” or “Royal Alcazars of Seville”)

Pond and fountain of Gardens of Mercury (Hermes).

The palace is renowned as one of the most beautiful in Spain. The upper levels of the Alcázar are still used by the royal family as the official Seville residence. It’s the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe, and in 1987 it was registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Mercury Fountain Alcazar Seville Spain
Gab416 (Mod) – Wikimedia Commons

I can’t believe I missed out on going to the Royal Palace when I was in Seville. Another Palace. What could they possibly have in there, I thought. Well, I missed out.

Atlas holding up the world

Location: Royal Palace, Madrid

Greek Mythology in Spain Royal Palace

 
Atlas was punished and had to hold up the world as recompense. This Atlas seems to have it quite good in comparison.

Hermes (Mercury) residing on top of Spanish Bank

Location: Spanish Banking Group Building, Bilbao

Hermes (Mercury) is a major Greek and Roman God. He’s the patron God of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages, communication (including divination), travellers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves. He’s also the guide of souls to the underworld. There are Mercury figures all over Spain.

Mercury Sculpture Bank Spain
Arjan Richter (Mod) – Flickr

Triton

Triton Child of Poseidon and Amphitrite Statue Spain
El Coleccionista de Instantes – Flickr

Location: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Travelling from the southern resorts or the airport towards Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on the GC-1, stands a humungous statue of the Greek God Triton. He’s the love child of Poseidon (Neptune) and Amphitrite. The statue is approximately 10 metres tall.

The messenger of the sea can be seen blowing a conch.

Calder Mercury Fountain

Location: Joan Miro Foundation Building, Barcelona

At one point in time, the world’s greatest source of mercury came from the mines at Almadén, Spain. The mines produced some 250,000 metric tons of mercury over nearly two millennia of operation.

Mercury, also known as quicksilver, is a shiny metal that is liquid at room temperature. It’s also known to be very toxic.

Calder’s Mercury Fountain was built to be displayed at the Spanish Republican Pavilion for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris. It was situated in front of Pablo Picasso’s famous painting Guernica.

Amazingly the fountain pumps pure mercury instead of water.

Mercury Fountain Barcelona

 

The fountain is shielded by glass to prevent anyone from getting too close.

Perseus and Medusa

Location: Avenida del Mar, Marbella

Here’s a Salvador Dali sculpture of the Greek mythological hero Perseus beheading Medusa. There’s also a sculpture of Mercury (Hermes) on the same beautiful Avenida del Mar, next to “Plaza de la Alameda” in Marbella. Though Hermes is totally unrecognisable.

Perseus Dali Sculpture
Manuel González Olaechea y Franco (Mod) – Wikimedia Commons

Venus beach

Location: Playa de Venus, Marbella

Situated about 400 metres from the Marbella promenade. The sand stretches approximately 40 metres wide.

Melpomene

Fountain of Melpomene Bilbao Spain
Melpomene

Location: Bilbao

The Muse of singing.

Athena Nike

Location: Valencia

Athena Nike Statue Spain

The Spanish seem to be among the wisest when it comes to Greek mythology.

The Creation of the Milky Way

Location: The Prado, Madrid

The Milky Way was created by Heracles (Hercules), who was the son of Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene… When Hera realised she was breastfeeding an unknown infant, she pushed him away. The spurting milk dropped from the sky and created the Milky Way.

The Birth of the Milky Way

 
Many of these sights are easily missed in Spain if you’re not aware of them. I missed many of them even though I was so close and had time to fit them into my schedule, if only I knew. Check out what happened on my very own trip to Spain, where I pay tribute to the Minotaur.

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Greek Gods of Spain Statues