The Madrid City Council has reopened this week what is known as La Montaña de los Gatos in the Retiro Park after twenty years closed due to water leaks, after having carried out some remodeling works in which a water gallery and the buttresses of the vaults.

The Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, accompanied by the Urban Planning, Environment and Mobility delegate, Borja Carabante, and the Councilor for Cleaning and Green Areas, José Antonio Martínez Páramo, visited the reopening of the mountain, a “privileged enclave” that the people of Madrid will be able to enjoy.

“It has been recovered with a landscaping that has been rehabilitated with the possibility of accessing its interior, with an exhibition space, with various galleries and archaeological remains and at the same time with a dome that from above you can see the entire interior”, has commented in statements to journalists in the vicinity of the mountain.

The mayor has affirmed that the architectural enclave was in a “very complicated” state from the point of view of conservation and has congratulated the action of the current government team, who understood that it was “a work that complements even more”. a place like the Retiro park.

It was King Ferdinand VII who built this artificial mountain in the 19th century, which is called Montaña de los Gatos because it was the usual space for the feline colonies that inhabited it, the Madrid City Council reports in a note.

Located at the confluence of O’Donnell street and Menéndez Pelayo avenue, it was conceived as a whim of an architectural garden, although the main use given to it from its opening to its closure, in 2004, was as a room of exhibitions.

From then on, landslides were recorded inside and the area reserved for exhibitions was closed, until 2005 when the entire complex was fenced off for safety.

After carrying out studies, the Environment and Mobility area detected that the landslides were due to water leaks. More than a decade later, after calling a public tender for the rehabilitation of the space that was left deserted, the municipal Government Board authorized a contract for the execution of the works, which started last October and have now ended.

The interior of the mountain consists of a vaulted space with an open circular plan with an upper oculus from which four vaulted galleries arise that run through the interior of the artificial hill: one in O’Donnell and the other three from the interior space, which advance under up the mountain in opposite directions towards the perimeter pools in search of the cascading water of the exterior cascades.

The works have consisted of eliminating the humidity produced by leaks registered inside the room and in the vault of the mountain itself, for which covering works have been undertaken, while in what affects the vault, it has been respected. the original construction, so the initial volume of 14 meters in diameter and 11 meters high has been maintained.

The mountain now has a series of ascending landscaped paths surrounded on the perimeter by a set of ponds over which three artificial waterfalls equipped with a hydraulic recirculation system flow.

In this way, the recovery of the waterfalls and the sheets of water has been carried out and an adaptation of the bushy areas and plant heritage has been carried out, while the interior layout of the mountain has been restored and the the pavement of the roads was renewed, in addition to renewing the lighting installations and the irrigation network.

Throughout the remodeling and maintenance work, a water gallery was found that led to a waterwheel from before the park was built, with archaeological remains that will now be visible to visitors through a glass screen.

Water trips were the system used until the middle of the 19th century for the transport and distribution of water through a network of underground galleries.

The original buttresses that have supported the vault since its construction have also appeared and part of them will remain visible to visitors from now on.

The Montaña de los Gatos was promoted by King Ferdinand VII in 1817, when the works began, which included a temple that served as an observatory in the beginning and was made up of three towers (one central with an octagonal plan and two cylindrical at the ends).

The plot on which it was built extends between the Puerta de O’Donnell to the adjoining flower beds and the Casita del Pescador del Retiro and was managed by Bernardino Berogán, who designed other buildings in the park, built by the royal architect Isidro González Velázquez .