All posts by talkmadrid

Real Fábrica de Tapices de Santa Bárbara

2018_052609_0312_057Want to see how things are done inside Spain’s premier tapestry and weaving factory? The site is right here in Madrid, and is known as the Royal Tapestry Factory, or in Spanish, La Real Fábrica de Tapices de Santa Bárbara. And like the name says, it is a factory cum workshop that churns out tapestries, rugs and carpets that are not just beautiful, but also has tell rich stories to tell, mainly because the factory has been in operation since 1720.

Its almost 3 centuries of existence make it a living museum, where everyone who wants to learn more about how Spanish weaves and tapestries where made and evolved thru the ages. Real Fabrica de Tapìces gives guests the opportunity to see and observe how the factory’s craftsmen create and repair tapestries, and go about their tasks as commissioned by companies, organizations, and private individuals.

It was a project by then King Philip V that’s meant to produce these luxurious tapestries and carpet items within the Spanish capital. It was intended to replace the Gobelins Factory of France, in order to meet the supply requirements of the different Spanish courts.

Did you know that once involved in the Royal Factory was the young Francisco Goya? He was asked to create beautiful tapestry designs for items that were used to decorate two popular Madrid royal palaces, the El Pardo and El Escorial palaces. Such designs are known as cartoons, and a great number of them are found today at the Prado Museum.

2018_053018_5351_273Workers busy weaving and creating beautiful tapestries for various clients

2018_052609_0238_191Looms are an indispensable component, but there are a variety of tools as well, that are necessary in the creation of a intricately woven tapestry

Philippine Tapestry Exhibit at Real Fabrica de Tapices

I was a guest at a recent event on Real Fabrica that was in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy in Madrid. I witness the launching of the launching of the Piña-Seda, a series of exhibition that featured Philippine Weaving and Embroidery. It was realized thru the efforts of the Philippine National Museum, a number of Philippine local governments, namely Kalibo, Aklan, and Lumban, Laguna.

2018_060314_0838_071Philippine Ambassador to Spain Philippe Jones Lhuillier was proud of the untiring and continuing works of the Filipino embroiders and weavers that ensured the preservation of the piña-seda.

The ambassador expressed his gratitude to the Real Fabrica de Tapices for working with the Embassy to ensure the realization of a Philippine tapestry and weaving exhibit. He acknowledged that the event will place more attention and appreciation of people from this part of the world to Philippine textiles.

2018_052609_0229_087Visitors intently watch a Filipino weaver create beautiful fabrics, obviously appreciative of the highly artistic skills the textile artisan displays right in front of them

2018_052609_0248_373Typical Philippine weave instruments on display during the exhibit

2018_052609_0208_513An array of traditional Filipino shirts called the Barong Tagalog, intricately embroidered and woven by hands

Location

Calle Fuenterrabia 2 Madrid 28014

Nearest Metro: Menendez Pelayo

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday, 10AM – 2PM
You may join guided tours scheduled every hour. Tours at 12PM are conducted in English.

Admission Price

5 euros

Map

Madrid Park: Parque María Eva Duarte Peron

2018_052023_1826_070People might brand it as one of the lesser parks of Madrid, and in a way, because of its miniscule size compared to other parks, all of 3 hectares in area, there is an aorta of truth to it.  Still, I thought that the Parque María Eva Duarte Peron is a park of great significance, if only it boasts of a variety of physical exercise machines primarily for use by older individuals living within and around the park, and of course, by everyone who decides to visit the place.

The Eva Duarte Peron Park is dedicated to and named after the wife of ex-President Juan Peron, and this fact makes it a popular destination to the fans and admirers of the comely yet feisty South American lady. Affectionately called Evita, Peron is perhaps the most popular First Lady of Argentina because of her work with the Argentine women’s suffrage.

A major landmark at Manuel Becerra Park, you will find it along the busy Dr. Gomez Ulla, near Calle Alcala.

Did you know that its current location was a former farmland owned by Francisco Noguera of the Nogueras Estate — it was called the Quinta de los Leones. In 1951, it was converted by the Madrid City Council into a garden/park/recreational area. You’d see people – young and old — visiting the place, day in and day out, enjoying an afternoon stroll, playing with their dogs, letting their kids spend some lull time in the playground, picnicking, playing cards, and using its games and recreational facilities for sports such as basketball and soccer.

While small in size compared to the major parques like the Retiro, it still offers ample areas filled with lush shrubs, tall trees, and all other forms of greeneries, well-maintained dirt pathways, tables and benches, and even fountains. There is even a church nearby. In one of the entrances you can see a stone bust bearing the likeness of Eva de Peron.

Needless to say, if you live near Alcala, and are a nature-loving person looking for a place to spend the day enjoying a bit of fresh air and sunshine, the Parque Eva Duarte Peron is the place to go.
2018_052118_5723_491The water fountain, one of the favorite features found in the middle of the park
2018_052118_5757_393I tried out one of the exercise equipment installed in the midst of the park
2018_052118_5820_865Having a hard time pedaling, until I realized it’s intended for use by the elderly2018_052118_5848_997People playing card games is a common sight inside Eva Peron Parque2018_052118_5833_954Children and toddlers may claim their special spot inside the Eva Peron Park, where they can play to their heart’s content while their parents or guardians watch over them2018_052118_5902_654Dirt roads radiate from the middle of the park onto surrounding major streets2018_052118_5925_331A smaller fountain can be seen near the main gate by the Covadonga Church2018_052118_5938_353Dogs lovers love to bring their pets in the park for an hour or two of canine recreation2018_052118_5948_098Drinking fountain also located near the Church of Covadonga2018_052119_0103_787Took a picture of one of the machines — it is meant to exercise one’s hands, perhaps to maintain the dexterity of the fingers

2018_052119_2127_124Parroquia Covadonga de Madrid

Location:

Dr. Gomez Ulla 9
Barrio Guindalera, Salamanca

How to go:

Metro Station – Manuel Becerra

Map:

Instituto Cervantes: Prime Promoter of the Spanish Language

2018_050917_5320_801Walk along Calle de Alcala in Centro Madrid, and you’d be amazed how it is lined with so many beautiful buildings scattered along its length. Quite a number of them are concentrate near the start of this history-rich road, which is at the Puerta del Sol. Green and contemporary, art deco, Grecian, Neo-classical, Neo-mudejar — here is where you could find structures built using all sorts of major designs.  The most popular edifices that are sure to capture one’s imagination are the Palacio de Cibeles, Banco de Espana, and Edificio Metropolis.

2018_050917_5253_599Still, another captivating building, standing in the corner of Alcala and Calle Barqillo, is the Instituto Cervantes, or the Cervantes Institute in English. Named after Spain’s foremost literary man, Miguel de Cervantes, the writer of Don Quixote, the Alcala-based institution was built using the caryatids or pillars of stones carved to represent a female figure, with the design done by prominent Spanish architects Antonio Palacios and Joaquin Otamendi. Previously, it was used as the office of the Central bank of Spain.

2018_050917_5238_153It is an organization created for the public by the Spanish government to foster the love and usage of the Spanish language. It started its operation in 1991, and since then it has continued its goal of promoting and disseminating the language of Spain as well as Spanish and Latin American art and culture.

received_1318114028290630The Instituto at Alcala Street is one of the two central headquarters, with the other one located at the nearby Madrid town of Alcalá de Henares. Instituto Cervantes also has branches all over the world. For instance, there is one in my own hometown, in Central Manila. I am proud that the branch in the Philippines is considered a Centro Cervantes, or a full-fledged Centre. The smaller schools are known as Aulas Cervantes, Centros Acreditos, and Centros Asociados.

2018_050917_5303_965Are you serious about learning the Spanish language the right way? The best choice is the Cervantes since it offers diplomas and certificates in behalf the Ministry of Education of Spain, ones meant for non-natives that are officially recognised by the country.

While the institution is focused on a clear mission which is to propagate the use of the Spanish language, it is also engaged in a wide variety of cultural activities for general public such as exhibits and workshops for both adult and children.

Location: Calle de Alcalá 49 28014

Entrance: Free

Official website; Email address: informa@cervantes.es

How to reach:

Autobus- M2, 1, 5, 9, 14, 15, 27, 34, 45, 46, 51, 52, 74, 146, 150

Metro Train: Banco de España (Nearest), Sol, Sevilla

Library is from from Monday to Friday, 9AM to 3PM

For various activities and events, please consult its website.

Map

Great Attractions to Marvel at in Calle de Alcala of Madrid

2018_050219_5203_936Calle de Alcalá of Madrid is known as the longest street in Spain, and if only for this distinction, I had always been fascinated by it, what with all the shops, establishments, cafes and others dotting it, especially around the Goya area. In fact, I already walked a good portion of Alcala a number of times, from as far as Retiro down to my place in El Carmen. Every time, it was a thrill doing so.

Needless to say, this stretch of road, historically important as it is, is filled with some of the most fascinating and breathtaking sights and attractions you can find. You won’t just find shops, but a lot more. There are magnificent edifices, an imposing arch, a church, a huge park, a theater, and even a bull ring stadium.

1. Puerta de Alcala

imageThe Puerta de Alcalá is one of the most important Madrid monuments, and is  often compared to other major European arch structures such as the Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and the Arc de Triomphe of Paris, France. The city under the reign of Phillip IV was said to have been guarded and secured by this gate. The arch is so-called because it served as a gate to the road that extended all the way to Alcala de Henares. As in other Spanish puertas, the Puerta de Alcala exhibits strong Neo-classical design. Just a stone’s throw away, you’ll find the Retiro Park.

Location: Plaza de la Independencia

2. Palacio de Cibeles

imageCibeles Palace, that grayish-white coated building standing in the corner of Calle de Alcalá and Paseo del Prado. It houses the Centro Centro, the Center for the Culture and the Arts of Madrid. It has a public observation deck that, after paying 2 euros for entry, affords you a breathtaking view of the city, especially the nearby neighborhoods like Sol, Colon, and Atocha.

Direccion: Plaza de Cibeles 1

3.Edificio Metropolis

2018_050219_5223_036A Spanish edifice of immense beauty, it is no wonder that the Metropolis building is a much photographed building in Madrid. And like the Grassy Building (one with the famous Rolex clock in its topmost portion), it is one of the most iconic edifices within the Alcala and Gran Via areas.

Direccion: Calle Alcala 39

4. Instituto de Cervantes

received_1312324972202869Another impressive building along Alcala is the headquarters of the Instituto Cervantes, a Spanish-government cultural institution known for fostering the learning of the Spanish language and culture. The institute was named after Miguel Cervantes, one of the greatest literary minds of Spain.
Official Website

5. Nuevo Teatro Alcalá

2018_042921_4830_598Also known as the Alcala Palace and Pardiñas Coliseum, this performance center is a watering hole for avid theater goers in Madrid. The Nuevo Teatro Alcala is a huge favorite, attracting musical show and play lovers, night after night, in droves. Currently being shown is Billy Elliot. I wonder when the Los Miserables musicale will be featured here next.

Where to buy your theatre tickets

6. Casa Arabe

2018_042921_4853_903
If you want to learn anything about the Arab world, its culture, arts, and way of life, the place to visit is the Casa Arabe. The building was formerly used by the Aguirre schools of Don Lucas Aguirre y Juarez until it was turned over to the Arabic institution to be used as its headquarters. Open to the public since 2008, the center maintains its goal of strengthening friendship between Spain and the Arab countries.

Dirrection: Calle de Alcala 62
Website: Casa Arabe

7. Iglesia de San Manuel y San Benito

2018_042921_4902_204Churches abound in Madrid, and so, it isn’t surprising that you can also find them in Alcala Street, like the Church of San Manuel and San Benito, a work of art by Tremanti and Fernando Arbós.

8. Banco de España

2018_042921_4925_105Formerly called the Banco Nacional de San Carlos, it was constructed in 1782 under the reign of Carlos III as the latter’s solution of attaining 18th-century Spain’s financial stabilization. Today, it operates as the country’s Central Bank. This magnificent edifice is a veritable landmark, and together with the Palacio de Cibeles, is a crowd drawer not only because of its outstanding beauty in design but because of its rich history.

9. Plaza de Toros de las Ventas

2018_050214_0105_873The Alcala Street also has the distinction of being the site of the most famous Spanish bullring, the site where Spaniards enjoy their favorite traditional past-time. Las Ventas, for short, is famous for its Neo Mudejar or Moorish design meticulously done by Spanish architect Jose Espeliu. A gargantuan structure, it can accommodate thousands, and activities other than bullfights were held here. It was regularly used as a concert venue, where major artists such as the Beatles and Diana Ross performed. It was also used as a tennis game venue, with the bullfight arena transformed into a clay court so everyone could witness the games of Spain and the US in 2008. The Spanish team led by Rafael Nadal prevailed over their opponents.
Information about the ticket prices

10. Parque del Buen Retiro

2018_050122_3858_518The Park of the Good Retreat, in English, the Retiro Park sprawls in the heart of the city of Madrid, and the Street of Alcala happens to pass by it. It was actually a royal park in the beginning, being a property of the king. Eventually, it was converted into a park for use by Spanish commoners during the 19th century. Filled with varied attractions, a thousand varieties of flora and fauna, rose gardens, palaces, exhibit halls, jogging lanes, fountains, sculptures, and a man-made park lake — you’ll love to roam around and be lost, and stay awhile in Retiro as there is so much to see.

Location: 7 Plaza de la Independencia
Time Open: April to September: 6am to 12am; October to March: 6am to 10PM

11. Puerta del Sol

2018_050122_5841_790The Street of Alcala starts on this busy and boisterous square, one of the most visited in Madrid. Known to be the gate to the old city, the square is so-called because it faces the East, and hence, the rising sun. I intend to walk the length of the street starting at Sol square, at the store facing it which is the Apple store, up to the Plaza Norte at Ciudad Lineal. A mere 6.8 kilometers spans these two points,  and so, estimate I’d be able to do the task in under 1 and a half hours.

Estanque Grande del Buen Retiro: Park Lake of Madrid

2018_042719_1308_742Looking for some peace and quiet, or want to enjoy a boat ride right in the middle of the city of Madrd, your best choice is the Parque del Retiro. Inside the park, near the huge entrance gate located in front of the Puerta de la Independencia, is the artificial lake called the Estanque del Retiro. Officially, it is known as the Estanque Grande del Buen Retiro.

2018_042620_5558_026The waters of this vast pond, as well as the banks that surround it, occupy a strategic portion of the park, being proximate to a major entrance gate (Alcala).

While it is a veritable all-year-long, must-see segment of Retiro, it becomes even a bigger attraction during the summer and spring seasons when everyone looks to the pond as a fun recreational spot where he can hire a boat that can be navigated around. It is also the habit of people, young and old, to hang out by the banks, particularly the area where the huge statue of Alfonso X11 stands. Needless to say, the estanque was easily an important component of the park, as it provides a natural appeal that entices visitors to visit the place.

How much is the boat ride?

While many would love to lie around and sunbathe, or just leisurely walk around the banks, the most popular recreational activity is to hire the boat and row it to your heart’s conrent.

You may rent a boat, which accommodates a maximum of four people, any day of the week. Rental fee is higher during weekends, at 8 euros. Monday to friday, boats can be had at 6 euros.

2018_042620_5649_649The pont was built in the 1650s, during the time of King Philip IV. Eventually, the estanque, as well as the whole park itself, became properties under the administration of the city of Madrid. In its front stands the monument to Alfonso the Twelfth, looking mighty and proud while guarding the waters.
2018_042622_0456_846People love to spend their afternoon hours idling on the banks that surround the four sides of the pond IMG_1652I’ve been a witness to this scene a number of time I visited Retiro, where ducks in group swim and wade happily in straight or circular direction. The pond serve as their natural habitat, one that they claim as their own.

How to go to the Retiro Estanque

It is easy to reach the Estanque Grande del Buen Retiro. Take EMT Autobus No. 51; this bus passes by one of the main entrances of the park near the Puerta de la Independencia. Inside, look for Calle Nicaragua, which runs in front of the pond. Other buses that go through the park are lines 1, 2, 14, 15, 20, 26, 51, 52, 63, 152.

There is also the Retiro Metro Station, which belongs to line 2. This station is right within the park. Take Paseo del Estanque, one of the nearest streets that will take you to the pond.

Map

Monasterios de las Descalzas Reales

2018_041413_2318_581If you’re a first-time traveler to Madrid, there’s no way that you will miss the numerous churches and monasteries scattered all around the city. One of the most popular, not only because it is located in the tourist-magnet Centro, but adjacent to the majestic Palacio Real, is the grand Cathedral de Almudena. The most popular iglesia in the early days until the Almudena was built, along Calle Arenal and near the Plaza Mayor, is the history-rich Real Iglesia Parroquial de San Ginés de Arlés.

Yet another nearby church near the Monte de Piedad Building, is the Plateresque-designed Monastery of the Descalzas Reales. It is certainly a must-visit, if only for the beauty and magnificence of both the intricate interior and solid facade of the edifice. A visit of the monastery is sure to make your tour of Madrid a meaningful one.

Former Royal Palace

Did you know that the edifice’s name literally means the Monastery of the Royal Barefooted, and that it was given the Royal title because it was a former residence of Empress Isabel and Emperador Charles V of Portugal. At present, its vast area houses a small church and an orchard.

History of the Monastery

2018_041413_2329_977Originally built for the Nuns of Poor Claire order as far back as 1559, it eventually admitted and cared for spinster women or widows. It was said that every woman who was taken in to the convent had to pay a dowry. This allowed the monastery to gain a huge amount of wealth, allowing it to become one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. 

What to Find Inside

If you’re an art lover, you would surely love to take a look on the interior of the Monastery as there must be tons of valuable art items, particularly paintings and religious artifacts. A beautiful palace in its own right, the monastery displays a great deal of Plateresque style, combined with Renaissance touch, particularly in its interiors. Renowned painters and artists like Luini and Tinian have their paintings adorning various parts of the convent and chapel.

Nearby Sites and Attractions

After a visit of the Monasterios de las Descalzas Reales, shopping might be in order next. A stone’s throw away is the El Corte Ingles, along Calle Maestro Victoria, and a host of many other shops and boutiques within the areas of Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, and Plaza Callao. And if you haven´t gotten your fill of things that are royal, visit the Real Casa de Correos in Puerto del Sol, the former post office and now the Ministry of the Interior, and the Royal Palace, the King of Spain’s Official Residence.

Need to grab something to eat? The perfect choice is the Mercado San Miguel, the food kiosks of which probably sells thousands of varieties of tapas. Other choices offering good eats are Museo del Jamon and Cerveceria Plaza Mayor Bar, both within the confines of the Plaza Mayor.

Hours of Visit

Tuesday – Saturday: 10AM to 2PM, 4PM to 6:30PM.
Sundays & holidays: 10AM to 3PM
Monday: Closed

Price of Admission

6 euros

Free entrance

Wednesday, Thursday: 4PM – 6:30PM

2018_041413_2309_161

Map

Gran Via – Madrid’s Premier Street [What to See]

2018_040114_0940_949Gran Via, or the Great Way in English, is one of the most popular thoroughfares in Madrid, and is even compared to Broadway of New York, which is why it is affectionately called the Madrid broadway. A bonafide tourist attraction, you will certainly enjoy a leisurely tread of ts sidewalks filled with people, from one end of the avenue to the other in under an hour, for it is quite a short stretch of highway. The street begins in the street of Alcala and ends at the Plaza de Espana. In between, you will be amazed at how the street is filled with impressive buildings serving various tenants in its ground and lower floors, such as shops, restaurants, hotels, casino, government agencies, and even a church, would you believe?

A major portion in the middle of the street is where you will find the Plaza del Callao, itself a major tourist spot and a point of entry to Puerta del Sol. The Callao portion teems with commercial establishments such as El Corte Ingles, FNAC, and the popular movie theatre, the Cine Callao. We can say that Gran Via is Madrid’s center of Cinemas as other major theater chains are found within the area, like the Cine Capitol, housed in the building of the same name, and the Cine Palacio de la Prensa, found at the opposite of the Callao Square. On the far end, near the Puerta de Independencia of Alcala, is the Grassy, the so-called Number 1 Buildng, the first tall structure to rise on this part of Gran Via.
2018_040114_0804_131This building serves as the headquarters of Fundacion Instituto Spiral. One of the monumental and imposing edifices that line up along the Gran Via
2018_041509_5550_660Hotel Realto is another cinema with the popular magical show El Mago Pop cuŕently being shown there2018_040114_0832_085Villa de la Reina hotel is the choice of tourist with discriminate taste, especially if he wants to own a temporary address in one of Spain’s most fascinating streets. The building itself is a beauty and always something for Gran Via passersby to marvel at.
received_1681762398558362La Adriatica Building, rendered glistening gold due to the setting sun, is one of the taller buildings that line up the Gran Via thoroughfare. It also covers a corner of Plaza Callao.
2018_040114_0912_410Most edifices are historic since they were built in the 1920’s and displays impressive style known as Art Deco — such design is evident in their facade.
2018_041509_5538_036Kiosks stand on many parts of the street selling just about everything — souvenir items, snacks and refrescos, posters, magazines, and hop-on-hop-off and day-trip tickets2018_041509_5621_159Located in the Edificio Carrion is the Capitol Cinema, another major theater chain in Spain
2018_041121_5018_410The lanes that are immediate both sidewalks have been pedestrianized. This has caused considerable traffic especially during peak hours, since the road has become narrower, but the move of pedestrianization, albeit partial, has become quite a boon to locals and tourists who now enjoy more space while walking along Gran Via.
2018_041121_4941_877Primark, known for its rock-bottom prices, is just one of the many popular department stores found along the famous avenue.
2018_040114_0856_732Home to the Telefónica Company — One of the pioneer edifices built during the construction of the road. Once recognized as Spain’s main communications hub, it stands 90 meters tall, making it one of the talkest buildings in those days. In fact, the Telefonica was patterns after the early skyscrapers of the US. And indeed, looking at it from down the opposite sidewalk, you could feel its imposing stance. Today, the building is home to the Telefonica Foundation, and the site to many cultural activities and exhibits.
2018_033100_1128_813The Carrión Edificio, a famous building frequented by tourists if only for the Scwheppes neon sign on its top, which when lit during the evening mesmerizes onlookers. The building is also famous for its theater of the same name.
2018_033100_1106_296Another prominent building is the Palacio de la Prensa, located within Plaza del Callao and was built by Pedro Muguruza architect in the 1920’s. Formerly the headquarters of the city’s Press Association, it is currently home to a popular multiplex cinema, enjoying brisk business because of the loyal patronage of movie lovers.
2018_040123_1310_351. Should you wish to stay and enjoy the comforts of a luxury hotel and be near the Gran Via at the same time, the perfect choice is the Hotel Tryp.  It boasts of being in striking distance to Madrid Centro’s other famous landmarks and attractions — like Plaza Mayor, Plaza de España, Puerta del Sol, Palacio de Cibeles, Museo del Prado, and Plaza Santa Ana
2018_040123_1322_126Hotel de las Letras, a masterpiece of renowned Spanish architect Cesáreo Iradier, was the former residence of the then Count of Artaza stands as building number 11. Today it is one of the city’s national treasures, and a protected building as designated by the City Council of Madrid.
2018_041509_5639_738Hotel Atlantico, being a century-old luxury hotel, is considered a major landmark and an easy choice of tourists who want only the best accommodation in this part of Madrid
2018_040123_1332_485The lanky Grassy building greets you upon entering the street, coming from the neighborhood of Calle de Alcala. It is right next to another famous building, the Metropolis, which is claimed to be one of the prestigious tenant buildings within Gran Via; actually, it stands along Alcala street. The building, with the neon sign Rolex in its facade, is named after a famous Spanish watch expert Alejandro Grassy.

Map:

Arco de la Victoria de Moncloa — Madrid’s Victory Arch

2018_032513_0630_156Spain, a country that has enjoyed immense world power and resplendence since centuries ago, is known for its magnificent landmarks and monuments, serving as testaments to such power. One of Spain´s more common monuments is the arch, an imposing structure that is known to stand as either a gateway to a city or a representation of a victory from a war or battle.

The Arco de la Victoria, located in Moncloa, Madrid, is a popular victory arch, and is considered to be one of the breathtaking Spanish arches.

While it is also referred to as the Puerta de la Moncloa, or the Gate of Moncloa, it wasn’t constructed to serve as the entry way to the barrio, much less Madrid. Albeit indeed, the huge arch looms over the area of one of the capital’s main entrance points, right in the midst of of Moncloa-Aravaca’s major thoroughfare, Avenida de la Memoria.

In fact, it was an ambitious project of Franco, the military general who ruled over the so-called Francoist Spain, as a way of reminding the Spaniards of one of his victorious 1936 battles that happened in the country’s then civil war — the battle of Ciudad Universitaria.

People compare it to two magnificent Puerta de Alcala Monument, albeit the latter has more arches, and the Arc de Triomphe of Paris, at Champs-Elysees. Franco commissioned Otero and Bravo Sanfeliu, two of the most celebrated architects of Spain during those times.

One will find on the apex of the structure the likeness of Minerva, riding a green chariot.

Visit the site:

2018_032513_0640_862You will find on the apex of the structure the likeness of Minerva, riding a green chariot

The best way to go there is via the Metro Station. Take either linea 6 or 3, both these lines stop at Moncloa Station. The station is found near the monument itself, along the Arco de la Victoria Avenue. .

What Moncloa landmarks and attractions to see after checking out Arco de la Victoria:

1. Museo de AmericaBe fascinated by this museum, where one can find the best and most extensive array of artifacts and art pieces from the USA and the rest of the Americas.

2. Ejercito del Aire Sprawled in a vast area of land strategically located within the Moncloa District is the former Air Ministry of Spain. Nearby is the Metro station and the observatory station, Faro del Moncloa.

Map:

7 Worthwhile Museums to See when in Madrid

Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Antoni Gaudi, Joan Miro — the list of great  artists of Spain is endless. This must be why there are countless museums in the country, for them to house all the precious works of art of these magnificent Spanish artists.

In fact, many are found in Madrid. Hence, if you’re bound for the city as a first-timer and plan to roam around and tour the place, remember to check out and explore its museums, even if only a few of them. Museum hopping is a must, as the city is known for its unique and exciting museums, each of which has numerous artifacts on display you can ever lay your eyes on. In fact, Madrid Museums boast of millions of art collections such as sculptures and paintings, not only the creation of Spanish maestros, but also artists from all over the world. Valuable archaeological discoveries are likewise on display, many coming from Spain, and others from Europe and Asia.

I’ve visited the following 7 Madrid museums, and was very much impressed that I got enticed to write this post, hoping that people will learn about them and pay them a visit as well. Admission to some are free every day of the week, others offer free entrance on certain days, and still others have free admissions on specific hours of the day. What’s true for all is that they are exciting ones that you must see and explore.

1. Museo del Romanticismo

2017_091022_0739_493A hundred meters or two from the busy Metro Station of Tribunal, in downtown Madrid, is the Museum of Romanticism, its accessibility of which makes it one of the most visited museums in the city. The museo occupies an 18th century edifice that’s a stone-throw away from the tourist-magnet stretch of Calle Fuencarral. The floors feature different rooms of a house or Spanish casa that’s typical of the olden days.

Direccion: Calle San Mateo 13 28004 Madrid

Admission is free on Saturdays, starting at 2PM

Regular admssion price is 3 euros

2. Museo de Historia de Madrid

History of Madrid MuseumAlso within the hip Chueca neighborhood is the popular Museum of the History of Madrid, housed within the former San Fernando Hospice building. And as its name implies, the museo boasts of valuable paintings and historical items that represent the  strata of society, ways of living, types of clothing, and means of livelihood of Madrileños from different eras. Visit the Museum and appreciate numerous artifacts from as early as the middle of the 1500’s up to the modern times.

Address: C/ Fuencarral 78 28004 Madrid

Admission: Free all days of the week

3. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

2017_072317_5046_898Part of the art promenade or the Triangle of Art, Thyssen’s permanent collection is mainly the history of painting coming from different European countries from the Middle Ages up the modern 20th century. Italian, Russian, German and American works of art are among the important displays with the museum.

Free Entry: Every Monday, limited to the Museum’s Permanent Collection between 12Noon and 4PM

Direccion: 8 Paseo del Prado 28014 Madrid

Regular Admission: 12 euros, covers at exhibits, both permanent and temporary

4. Museo de America

imageMoncloa is famous for the Victory Arch of Madrid, or the Moncloa Gate, and also the Spanish Air Force, or the Ejercito del Aire.  Likewise a crowd-drawer is the Museum of the Americas, considered to be one of the city’s major centres of culture and the art. Here  you will find numerous historical and archaeological items on display every day of the year. Many are not only from Spain and the US, but also from the Latin countries as well.

Direccion: Avenida Reyes Católicos 6 28040 Madrid

Admission: Free during Sundays. The rest of the days of the week: €3

5. Museo de los Caños del Perral

imageThe metro station of Opera does not only serve as an integral component of the city’s efficient transport system, but it is also home to a below-the-ground archeological museum — the Museo de los caÑos del Perral. Virtually a museum located underground, it displays valuable archaeological remains that provides efficient plumbing for fountains of the city, during the 1500 and 1600’s.

 Address: Within Opera Metro, Plaza Reina Isabel II

Admission: Free if you are a Metro train rider, 1.50 euros if you´re visiting from outside the Metro facility

The museum is open to the public on on weekends, Fridays to Sunday. Time open: 11AM to 1PM, 5PM to 7PM.

6. Chamberi Ghost Museum

imageWe have featured one metro station that’s permanent home to an underground museum. Still, there is another that doesn’t function anymore as a train station, but was converted into an actual museum- this is the Chamberi train station. For some reason, this station got closed down by the Metro administation. Eventually, it was turned into a museum, displaying artifacts that tell about the Metro’s early days.

Direccion: Plaza de Chamberi, Madrid

Admission is Free, but open only on Friday, 11AM – 1PM and 5PM – 7PM; and Saturday and Sunday, 10AM – 2PM

7. Prado Museum

imageStrategically located along the Museo del Prado is probably Spain’s most famous museum bearing the same name. It is a must-visit if you are a museum-phile as it contains a great number of art and painting work from and the whole of Europe. What was originally a museum intended for Spain’s Royal family, if only because of its rare collections, visitors will be enthralled to see some of the best Spanish art paintings and pieces like Goya, Rembrandt, Titian, and Velasquez.

Operational hours: 9AM to 8PM. Closed on Sundays.

Regular Admission fee: 6 euros

Free Admission: From 6PM to 8PM, Tuesday to Saturday; 5PM to 8PM, Sunday

Plaza Mayor of Salamanca – One of Spain’s Most Beautiful

2018_022523_3352_441Arguably, the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca is one of the most popular squares of Spain. I won’t hesitate to say that it must be the most beautiful plaza, even more than the Plaza Mayor of Madrid. If you’re Salamanca-bound, it is a must that you pass through this plaza – which is obviously humongous in area. During our visit last January, the square had our group in awe especially when we trooped to it during the evening, as it was a truly glowing spectacle.  Because of its beauty, grandeur and intricacy in decoration, the square was declared a major monument as early as 1936 — a beloved Spanish treasure.

Considered as the town’s major area where locals and tourists meet and gather, its most famous spot of the square is in the area of the building that features its clock. It is common for locals to refer to the spot underneath the clock as their meeting point if they get to meet inside the Plaza Mayor.

The porches on all four sides of the square is said to have been built as a means of protecting the sellers and owners of food stall during inclement weather, such as rain or snow. And like other major Spanish squares like that of Madrid, it was formerly used as a venue for bullfighting events up until the middle of the 1800’s.

2018_022523_3330_428The buildings surrounding the square glow like gold during the evening, brought about by the yellowish light coming from the numerous strong incandescent lamps trained on their facade. The bright hue is caused by the yellow silicon sandstone that makes up the materials of the wall. This glistening feature of Salamanca’s main square earns it the title of the Golden Square.

Direccion:

Plaza Mayor, 37002 Salamanca

Distance between Madrid and Salamanca: 212 kilometers

Travel time:

2 hours and 15 minutes

Map:

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