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Spain's complex capital

Once little more than a Roman way station and Moorish fort, Madrid owes much of its existence to the fickle patronage of the kings of Spain. The city’s transition from sleepy backwater to imperial capital and modern metropolis has been erratic, leaving Madrid with a complex personality. The crowded flea markets of the Rastro, the green spaces of the Retiro, the Habsburg pomp of Los Austrias and the bold vision of the new Reina Sofia museum are just some of the sides of this multi-faceted city.

Wattilisk - Queen Elizabeth II Law CourtsElliott Brown / CC BY-SA 2.0
Queen Elizabeth II Law CourtsElliott Brown / CC BY 2.0



Tribute to James Watt

Tribute to James Watt Editors' Note

Located in front of the new Queen Elizabeth Law Courts, the Wattelisk is a tribute to Birmingham’s industrialist and great contributor, James Watt. This monument is a modern sculpture that is often described as a totem pole.

The base of the Wattelisk is a large block of stone with a second block of stone, displaying a partially carved human head, stacked on top. The third block shows a progression in sculpting, with a head including more detailed carvings, and a fourth showing even more detail. The fifth is on top and portrays a fully carved head that can be recognized as James Watt—the final block of the Wattelisk.

Dalton Street, B4 7LX Birmingham