Tio Pepe Sign – Symbol of Puerta del Sol
In the old photos of the Puerta del Sol, for a long time it always appears the Tío Pepe sign on the same building. But why did they move it to antoher place?
A long time ago since 1936 one of the most representative emblems of the Puerta del Sol has been an enormous advertising poster that until April 2011 was located at the top of the square, exactly on the roof of one of the most luxurious, prestigious and elegant hotels in the capital: the Hotel Paris. On the rooftop of this building the sign announced a famous dry wine from Jerez, Tío Pepe that means Uncle Pepe.
And just below the mark of the wine was written the slogan: “Sun of Andalucía bottled” and below the poster there was Gonzalez Byass which was the very name of the winery. On the left side you can also see the nice logo that was represented by a bottle of Tío Pepe with typical clothes in the style of an Andalusian gentleman with his hat, a red jacket and a guitar. But there was a time that the square was so full of billboards and advertisements that they were finally forbiden by the municipal authorities so people could enjoy the real look of the square and its facades. But Tío Pepe’s billboard was not one of those, he had the pardon of Madrid Townhall,
Every effort made by the following mayors to definitively withdraw the poster was imposible since Madrid people felt that billboard like part of their city. It had become practically a symbol such as the others in the square : The Post Office clock or the Mariblanca statue. Therefore, although the bright poster could not defend itself from being dismantled by any law , it had undoubtedly become a non official national monument for the inhabitants of the city of Madrid.
The problem came when the old hotel Paris closed permanently on May 2006. After several years abandoned, a new owner bought it and carried out an important reform of the building. It was so important that on April 18, 2011 they dismantled our poor Uncle Pepe and took it out from the roof. Madrid citizen believed that once the works were completed, the Tío Pepe would be relocated in its place.
However the big surprise came when in mid April 2012 the new owner, the famous company Apple, announced that the billboard would never return to its original location. The news caused a strong impact among citizens who did not expect that decision. The City Council stated that no legal action against the owner could be taken,
But Tío Pepe Story will not end so sadly. The old sign came back to Puerta del Sol in May 2014 in a new location inside Puerta del Sol: the building that is right in front of the old post office. So nowadays the sun of Andalucía bottled continues shining on the square as it had always done it since 1936.
We hope you enjoyed the storie of Tío Pepe and so you will now feel encourage to discover more stories about Madrid. If you want to know more about it come any day from Monday to Saturday and do not miss our Free Tour Madrid . In it you will discover many more fun stories about this beautiful and interesting City!