By Nancy Todd Comments by The Blog Dog
Motorcycles scream through the streets. People spill out of bars laughing loudly. With the liveliness of partying-down Madrid, whazzup with Madrid having a symbol of a bear climbing a tree? It is all part of the city logo, a Madrid attraction, with the bear plus a coat of arms that dates from 1222. Guess who had a role in this graphic decision that has lasted centuries? The Catholic Church-what a surprise. Picture Madrid hundreds of years ago. No trains, no tapas, but bears and other wild creatures roaming the territory.
Back in the bear carousing days, there was a dispute between the nobility and the Catholic Church over the region’s hunting, lumber, and herding lands. The nobility won the rites for hunting and lumber, the church had control over land for grazing animals.
The back legs of the bear are to represent the church’s dominion over the land, and we know that didn’t work. The bear’s front paws are to symbolize the nobility’s rule over lumber and hunting. And we know what a mess the present ‘nobility’ continues to make of our environment.
Native to the Mediterranean area, the bush/tree in the city emblem, is a madrono, known for it’s fermenting berries that bears loved. The berries are now used for a famous, sweet liqueur. I vote for the liqueur, the bears and out with the Catholic Church.
Related posts on The Spain Scoop: All that walking around looking at bears, have a tapa in Chenca, a very cool neighborhood in Madrid. For cool hostels in Madrid, we have The Scoop. You can find the bear in Plaza Mejor in Madrid and often in Madrid there are demonstrators in this Plaza. NPR has The Scoop.
Comments by The Blog Dog: “So enough bears. Why not use a dog as a city symbol? There are a lot, and I mean a lot of little dogs on leashes in Madrid. Not my type. I like ‘em big.”