The Bear and the Strawberry Tree are well-known residents of the city of Madrid.
Though the statue dates back to only 1967, it represents a key element of Madrid’s coat of arms that bears a far longer history.
In fact, a bear has featured as a sign of the city since 1212. Whilst his initial appearance was on all fours and grazing, within around ten years he was raised to his feet and started nibbling at a tall fruit tree (it is not clear when it was accepted as a strawberry tree).
Since then, the emblem of Madrid has undergone a number of changes, but the bear and the tree and have remained, and they now feature on flags and many other signs around the city.
The statue that stands placidly in a corner of the Puerta del Sol, is the work of the Spanish sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafé (1906-1983). Made of stone and bronze, and resting on a granite pedestal, it weighs in the region of 20 tonnes and stands 4 metres tall. His size and appealing nature attract many visitors for a quick chat and, of course, a photo shoot.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 15 July 2017
Posted as part of Traces of the Past