Whazzup With The Bear?

The Bear in Madrid, climbing a tree

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 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.

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Bears are even at the bank – logo for Caja Madrid

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 Madroño, known for its fermenting berries that bears loved. The berries are now used for a famous sweet liqueur. I vote for the liqueur and the bears and out with the Catholic Church.

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The Blog Dog

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 lo,t of little dogs on leashes in Madrid. Not my type. I like ’em big.”

1 Response

  1. riojerte says:

    I like the bear of the Puerta del Sol. It is a very great statue in Madrid

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