Olmec Head Roundabout

Olmec Head Roundabout
This giant, ancient-civilisation-inspired head stands watch over a busy roundabout / Image: Monumenta Madrid

A giant-scale replica of the colossal stone heads that were a hallmark of the long-extinct Mesoamerican Olmec civilisation stares impassively from atop a pyramid, incongruously plonked in the centre of a busy roundabout. Designed by Mexican sculptor Ignacio Pérez Solano, it was gifted by the Mexican state of Veracruz in 2005. 

3 Plaza del Emperador Carlos V
Metro: Estacíon del Arte

Night and Day

Hyper-realist sculptor Antonio López García was inspired by his six month-old granddaughter to craft two vast identical infant noggins, one with eyes closed representing ‘night’, the other, awake, representing ‘day’. You'll find these baby bonces in the central Atocha train station. 

3 Plaza del Emperador Carlos V 
Train: Atocha station 

Costitx Bulls

Costitx Bulls
Bovines abound at the National Archaeological Museum / Image: Gonzalo Cases Ortega

Three life-sized bronze bull heads in the National Archaeological Museum come from the Mallorcan town of Costitx. Archaeologists have pegged them to the Talayotic culture, which flourished between 500 and 200 BC. The theory goes that these floating loafs tell of an ancient cult of bull worship.

13 Calle de Serrano
Metro: Serrano

Bust of Pablo Iglesias Posse

Pablo Iglesias Posse, founder of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, had his rabble-rousing features immortalised in stone by sculptor Emiliano Barral – the original was defiled during the Civil War, but a replica now sits on a plinth in the north of the city.

26 Avenida de Pablo Iglesias
Metro: Cuatro Caminos

Holes in Skulls

Among countless macabre trinkets at the Museum of Medical and Forensic Anthropology you can cringe at skulls from patients who endured the outmoded practice of trepanning – basically, drilling a hole in your head to relieve intra-cranial pressure. Ugh.

Plaza de Ramón y Cajal
Metro: Ciudad Universityitaria