advertisement

Another familiar Madrid landmark standing out as prominently as a ship's bow, is this French-built 1911 structure designed by the brothers Jules and Raymond Février for the Union and Fenix Insurance Company. Topped by the bust of a phoenix symbolizing winged victory, its ornate dome of dark slate and gilt towers above the junction of Alcalá and the beginnings of the Gran Vía. Colonnaded floors have statues representing trade, agriculture, industry, and mining. Now owned by Metropolis Insurance, it remains largely unchanged in appearance since the beginning of the century (though the phoenix was replaced by a newer one in the 1970s). Unfortunately the building is not open to the public, so its charms can only be viewed from outside.