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The Bear and the Strawberry Tree

In Madrid’s Puerta del Sol stands a bronze statue of a burly bear standing on its hind feet as it searches for fruit among the leaves of a strawberry tree. This statue was created by the sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafé at the behest of the Spanish government and was inaugurated in 1967. It portrays an animal deeply symbolic to the city of Madrid and the subject of much local folklore.

The first known use of the bear as a symbol of Madrid occurred in 1212 when knights from the city charged into the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa against the Moors carrying standards emblazoned with a bear and the seven stars of the Ursa Minor constellation. But the bear and the strawberry tree as a heraldic emblem was first used a decade later when, in 1222, the image was included as a seal to sign a decree by King Alfonso VIII.

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About the source: Atlas Obscura

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