El Dragón de la Elipa in Madrid, Spain

Built in 1981, this peculiar dragon was once the focal point of a popular playground in Madrid. Generations of local residents enjoyed the slide that protruded from it’s mouth. When the city council deemed the mythical beast unsafe for children, members of the neighborhood were too attached to allow it to be demolished. 

Although the surrounding playground may have been remodeled, the scaly green giant still dominates it. The dragon is still used by the boys and girls of La Elipa, albeit in a different way than their parents did years ago. The dragon of Elipa has already become a symbol of the resilience of neighborhood groups that are able to preserve what has always been theirs despite the pressures of the powers that be.

After years of a slow descent into decay and an almost certain disappearance, this simple element has become a source of pride for this area of ​​Madrid. In September 2013, a group of neighbors decided to take matters into their own hands and restored the dragon, removing the dirt and graffiti that covered it in recent years. They say the dragon smiles because he managed to survive.

There is no doubt that the symbolic value that this dragon has acquired has a lot to do with the feelings and the many memories that it still evokes in the people of the neighborhood.

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