El Capricho Park, declared Artistic Garden in 1941, traces its origins to 1787, when the construction of a recreation area started by the Duchess of Osuna, María Josefa Pimentel, one of the most important ladies of that time. However, the duchess died without seeing her garden completely finished, culminating in 1839 under the design by architect Jean-Baptiste Mulot.
The desire of the Duchess was to create a waterway that connected the garden to the ballroom, where they celebrated their parties, through different canals, and that way it was built. Although during the French invasion of 1808, Ms. Pimentel lost ownership of the land, when the war was over, it returned to her, ordering to plant hundreds of lilac, her favorite flower, all over the place.
After the death of the Duchess, ownership passed by various family hands until it fell into disuse. It was due to this fact that, during the Spanish Civil War, there were built in the garden several underground bomb shelters whose entries appear, still, as if from nowhere, in the walks of park's visitors.
Currently, El Capricho Park is an unexpected visit in Madrid, a place with a unique charm, a magic of another time. Strolling through the crowded paths of flowers, ponds, columns, sculptures and other art pieces on a spring evening is a real treat for the senses.
Thanks to its extensive construction period and since it passed through different owners over the years, the park has attractions as diverse as the Temple of Bacchus, beautifully located on a green hill; the Obelisk or the Wheel of Saturn; the Palace of the Duchess; the fountain of the dolphins and the frogs; the beekeeper; various monuments such as the one honoring the Duke of Osuna; the Swan Pond; the Casino, or small houses straight out of fairy tales such as Casa de la Vieja or de Vacas. In addition, the remnants of the Civil War are still present in the park at the shelter or bunker and its vents.
Since 2005, from the start of spring until autumn ends, the park also offers various shows on weekends, such as concerts, dance shows and theater, among other activities.
Hours: open from October 1 to March 31 (only Saturdays and Sundays) from 09h00 to 18h30 and from April 1 to September 30 (only Saturdays and Sundays) from 09h00 to 21h00. Access is allowed until half an hour before the park closes.
Directions: Bus with lines 101, 105 and 151 of the EMT; metro station 'El Capricho' on line 5.