Congreso de los Diputados

sights / Architecture

Lonely Planet review

Spain’s lower house of parliament was originally a Renaissance building, but it was completely revamped in 1850 and given a facade with a neoclassical portal. The imposing lions watching over the entrance were smelted from cannons used in Spain’s African wars during the mid-19th century. On the day that they were mounted outside the parliament building, one irreverent Madrid newspaper wrote ‘And what mouths they have! One might imagine them to be parliamentarians!’ It was here, on 11 February 1981, that renegade members of Spain’s Guardia Civil launched a failed coup attempt. Be sure to bring your passport if you want to visit.