Madrid’s improbable palace near the Fuente de Cibeles (“Cibeles Fountain”) is a relative newbie. The Palacio de Cibeles began its life as the city’s main post office and its telegraph & telephone headquarters—the Palacio de Comunicaciones (“Communications Palace”). Construction was started in A.D. 1907 and the building officially opened in A.D. 1919.
But construction was controversial. The palacio was erected on the site of old gardens in the Buen Retiro, the city’s beloved public park. The project ran vastly over-budget (12 million pesetas in the final reckoning). And one can only imagine the traffic jams that resulted from the delivery of 1,500-2,000 tons of iron and 7,000 cubic meters of stone.
Due to its monstrous size—more apt for a cathedral than a post office—the Palacio was nicknamed Nuestra Señora de las Comunicaciones (“Our Lady of Communications”) by bemused locals.
The building sustained some bullet wounds in the Siege of Madrid, but escaped relatively unscathed. It now houses offices of the Madrid City Council.