Category Archives: Madrid Monumentos

Ermita de la Virgen del Puerto, Arganzuela, Madrid

image Standing on one side of the sprawling Madrid Rio Park, along the Virgen del Puerto road, you will not miss seeing the beautiful hermitage of the same name. In my case, I never fail to appreciate its beauty whenever I ride the C2 autobus, which passes by the vicinity. Indeed, it is such an impressive edifice that the first time that I saw it from afar, I mistook it for a small castle.

Declared as a national monument in the year 1957, Ermita de la Virgen del Puerto is found inside the Madrid Rio Park, along the street of the same name. While many hermitages in Spain are simple and austere, Virgen del Puerto can be described as impressive and solemn at the same time. I often cast glances at the hermitage every time I pass through the paseo, along the length of Madrid, and I must say that it is one of the most stunning building within that area.

Virgen del Puerto hermitage was one of Spanish artist Pedro de Ribera’s edifice-masterpieces, the architect who is also responsible for the creation of other major Spanish Churches such as the San Jose Church, San Cayetano Church, and Nuestra Señora de Montserrat Church.

imageUnfortunately, the holy edifice was not spared during the Spanish Civil war, and it was damaged considerably. To bring it back to its former condition, restoration work was done during the 1950s.

Every year in the month of September, devotees perform a pilgrimage to the hermitage, where many of the participants are city residents of Galician origin. People from all over come to the site of Virgen del Puerto primarily to sell melons. It is for this reason why the pilgrimage feast is also called La Melonera.

Buried within the premises is an important Spanish royalty, the Marquise of Vadillo, who was the mayor of the place during the early 17th century. It was during his term that the hermitage was constructed. The beloved virgin is also recognized as the patroness of the District of Arganzuela.

Nearby Madrid Attractions you can also visit

1. Principe Pio commercial center and Madrid Metro
2. Palacio Real de Madrid: The official residence of the Royal family of Spain.
3. Jardines de Sabatini: A large, beautifual garden nearest the Palacio Rea.
4. Plaza Espana: One of the main squares of the city, near Edificio Madrid and monuments of Cervantes and Don Quijote.
5. Real Teatro: The Opera House of the Spanish capital.

How to go:

imageThe hermitage is easy to reach since it is set strategically within the central area of the city. Its exact address is at Paseo de Virgen del Puerto 4 Madrid. Take the C2 autobus and you can get off at the stop located right in its front. Other EMT Buses that pass through the paseo are 25, 33, 39, 41, and 50.

If you’re not in a hurry and would like to enjoy some leisurely promenade, you can take the Metro Train, and via Linea 6 (Circular Line), alight as you reach the Legaspi station. From here, you will have to enter the Matadero. Here is where you start your trek of the Madrid Rio until you reach the hermitage, which is located more or less halfway thru the park. You may also opt to take the Linea 10, and get off at Principe Pio, which is on the opposite side.
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Ejercito del Aire, Moncloa-Aravaca Madrid

imageOne of the most important buildings or monuments within the district of Moncloa is the Ejercito del Aire. It was formerly called the Ministerio del Aire or the Air Ministry of Spain. I never miss it whenever I ride the C1 autobus since calle Romero Robledo is part of its route. I also pass through it whenever I travel to nearby towns that could be reached via buses stationed at Moncloa.

imageCurrently the main headquarters of the country’s Air Force, the military agency’s office was previously responsible for the country’s civil and military air force, particularly during 1939 up to 1977. In the same year, under the reign of Adolfo Suarez, the then Ministry of Defense consisted of the Navy, Army and Air Force.
image The Cuartel General of the Air Force prides itself of having its headquarters within one of Moncloa District’s most impressive palaces, which stands near the Moncloa Gateway or the Victory Arch. It sprawls along the end northern portion of Calle de la Princesa.
imageImpreesive facade of Oficina de Atencion al Ciudadano of Moncloa-Aravaca’s Línea Madrid, right in front of the Victory Arch, or Arco de la Victoria and near the Air Force Headquarters

imageIt is also known as the Monasterio del Aire, because of its resemblance to the edifice found in a popular say trip destination, San Lorenzo El Escorial. Notice in the photo how people are everywhere; there is obviously a dense traffic of pedestrians within the vicinity. It is because not only is Moncloa filled with public and business offices, but it is also known as a university district.

How to go:

Address–Calle Romero Robledo 8 28008 Madrid

It is easy to reach the Ejercito del Aire ministry building. Such is massive and imposing that it is hardly to be miss whenever you are within the vicinity. The best way is via the Moncloa Metro train, the main station of which is right in front of the building. An access gate to the Metro is located right in the sidewalk of the Ministry.

Nearby Moncloa Madrid attractions

1. Museum of tthe Americas – Where museum lovers will be thrilled to find a great variety of arts and archeaologicw finds and ollections coming from the Americaw.

2. Arco de la Victoria – gateway to the city built by Francisco Franco, a monument that symbolizes Franco’s victory in a battle during the country’s civil war, 1936 Ciudad Universitaria battle

3. Faro de Moncloa – located in Avenida Reyes Catolicos with Plaza de Moncloa, it is also called The Faro de Moncloa is also known Torre de Iluminacion y Comunicaciones de Madrid.

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Palacio de las Cortes de Espana – Home to the Spanish Congress of Deputies

imageGreat things abound that make Madrid a place to marvel at, they include the beautiful and majestic public offices found all around the city. Tall, sprawling, and possess impressive architectural designs — these are the qualities that the country’s government buildings have in common.

A fine example is the headquarters of the Congreso de los Diputados or the lower chamber of Spain’s legislative beanch, located at the Carretera de San Jeronimo. The Congress of Deputies in English, this branch of the Spanish Parliament is housed at the Palacio de las Cortes de Espana, the single most important edifice at the Plaza de las Cortes,

imageIt boasts of a grand design highlighted by the six columns in its entrance that lends strength to its dacade. The building is touted as one of the best examples of the city’s neoclassical architecture.

It is relatively new compared to other buildings in Madrid, having only been constructed in 1843 under the helm the Spanish architect Narciso Pascual Colomer and during the reign of Reina Isabel II. Still, the palace boasts of interesting stories about it, like its location being the former site of a convent. Needless to say, the Congress headquarters is one of the reasons the Carretera de San Jerónimo enjoys an influx of tourists throughout the day.

imageRenowned architect Pascual y Colomer is responsible for the neoclassical style of the building, while the attractive relief found in the upper front is a creation of sculptor Ponciano Ponzano. The most popular portion of the relief is the depiction of a lady with a girl on her side. Ponzano is also responsible for sculpting the two bronze lions found by the building’s staircase. His other creations are figures that represent various aspects of the state, such as Justice and Peace, Agriculture, and Fine Arts.

It is easy to reach Palacio de las Cortes since it is connected to Puerta del Sol via San Jeronimo street. It is also near other important tourist spots of Madrid such as Prado Museum,Puerta del Sol, Atocha station, Reina Sofia Museum,Plaza de Espana, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Cibeles Palace.

Opening hours:

Lion in front of Palace of the CourtsIndividual visits: Congreso de los Diputados is open to the public during Saturdays. Visiting time is from 10:30AM to 12:30PM. Schedule may change during the month of August, depending on the official activities.

Group visits: Guided tours are scheduled from Monday to Friday, 9:00AM to 2:30PM and 4:00PM to 6:30PM. Time of visit may change during August, depending on scheduled official activities. Reservation is a must for guided tours.

Address:

Calle de Floridablanca, 28071 Madrid

How to Reach:

Long shot of Palacio de los CortesThe best way to get to the site is via Madrid Metro, with Sevilla, Banco de Espana, and Vodafone Sol as the nearest stations

Autobus: 3, 5, 9, 10, 15, 20, 34, 37, 45, 46, 52, 53, 203, 150

Admission

Enttance is Free, however visitors are required to present and ID or passport.

Map:

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Madrid Attraction: Biblioteca Nacional de España

imposing national museum of SpainThe library’s facade turns yellow when kissed by the rays of the afternoon sun. If you’re someone with a great fondness for beautiful edifice, the biblioteca is one you will marvel at.

Have you ever been to the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid? If you’re going to the direction of Plaza de Cibeles and Barrio Atocha via Paseo de la Castellana and Recoletos, you certainly will not miss it due to its sheer size and magnificence. The National Library of Spain in English, it is the largest library of the country, and one of the largest in the world.

The building is right in the corner of the paseo immediately after crossing the Plaza de Colon. In front is the Museo de Cera and Colon Metro Station.

Wealth of resources at Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid

The library boasts of large collections of books, documents, and reading resources. More than 26 million items are found in its keep;these are mainly 15 million books, thousands of “revistas” and journals, and various forms of manuspcripts and printed materials. It also possesses numerous items in different medium types such as audiovisuals, sounds and music scores, and electronic-based documents.

The library’s collections are overflowing that the items which could not be accommodated here are sent to an extention library located in Alcalá de Henares campus. The latter must be an appropriate choice for the library’s extenstion site since Alcala de Henares is considered to be the university town of the Communidad de Madrid.

Enjoy the Services of the National Library of Spain

While most public libraries in Madrid, and Spain as a whole, offer loan privileges, this is not the case with the National Library. In order to enjoy access to designated books and various library resources, you need to obtain a reader’s or researcher’s card.

Q1. What is a Readers Card?
Once you acquire your own Card, this affords you the basic privilege to borrow books.

Q2. What is the validity duration of the card?
It is valid for 3 years.

Q3. What are the requirements when applying for one?
You must present any of these legal documents: national identity card, residence permit, valid passport, driver’s license.

You can also apply for a card thru its website. Upon the approval of your application, you may claim your card at the library upon presenting any of the required ID’s.

Needless to say, Biblioteca Nacional is no ordinary library; but clearly, it reaches out to as many would-be users as possible, ensuring its easy accessibility via its Reader card.

Library Museum

Did you know that the Library has its own museum? 

Known before as the Book Museum, its task is to aid the library in providing the maximum educational, cultural, and recreational benefits to users and visitors. It also offers the public valuable information on the library’s history, operations, and various resources.

The museo’s collections include a number of valuable artistic and cultural pieces such as paintings and sculptures, and items that pertain to books, reading, and education, like typewriters and equipment used in the making of books.

imageThe library was built in 1712 during the administration of then King of Spain Philip V

imageThe Statue of Alfonso X, or Alfonso the Wise, stands on the entrance staircase of the building. He was the 13th-century ruler of Castile and Leon

imageBeside Alfonso X’s statue is that of San Isidoro. It is advisable to secure your own reader card to take full advantage of the benefits of being a borrower

imageIf you are a bibliophile, Spain’s national library is the best place for you to hang out and enjoy any of the immense reading resources that offers

Nacional Library of SpainOne of the two main gates of the building in front of Paseo Recoleto

How to go to the extention site:

Direccion: Meco, Alcalá de Henares, 28805 Madrid

By autobus: In Madrid, take bus number 227; upon reaching the town, take autobus 12, 250, 2

By Train: Ride the Renfe Cercanías Lines C2 and C7

Horarios:

Library hours: Mondays to Fridays: 9AM to 9PM; Saturdays: 9AM to 2PM

Museum hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays: From 10AM to 9PM; Sundays: 10AM to 2PM

Please refer to the website (by clicking at the link below) for any possible changes in the opening hours.
Admission: Entrance is Free

Library’s Website

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Casa de la Villa, Ayuntamiento de Madrid [Old Town Hall]

imageWe all know that the Palacio de Cibeles is the City of Madrid´s current Ayuntamiento or town hall, where its administrative functions and duties are performed. However, not many might be aware that the original town hall of the city is found near the Puerta del Sol, along Calle Mayor. It’s name is Casa de la Villa — and it is often referred to as the Old Town Hall of Madrid.

It is easily the most visited building among those found within the Plaza de la Villa, and early in the morning, throngs of people would already flock to the square and appreciate this beautiful Juan Gomez de Mora-designed edifice. There’s no doubt that Casa dela Villa is very popular if only for its historical importance as the city’s former main headquarters and town hall.

The monument is easy to reach since it is in a stragetic location, being situated between two popular Madrid squares — the Plaza de Oriente and Puerta del Sol and just along a street tourists and locals must know. The square is full with rich history itself, acting as the site of various important events that occured during the ancient, Renaissance period of Madrid. Its former name is Plaza de San Salvador, after the Church that bears the same name.

imageStately facade of the Town hall impresses many visitors and tourists. Not only did it function as a town hall, but Casa de la Villa was once designated as a jailhouse for the city´s prisoners

Plaza de la Villa Madrid, SpainIn honor of the death of famous Captain General Alvaro de Bazan, a bronze monument was sculpted by Mariano Benlliure and erected in the middle of the square, right in front of the town hall. On its pedestal are words by Lope de Vega honoring him. Bazan was the Captain who commandeered the Spanish Armada. imageHouse of Cisneros used to  be a palace from the 16th century and was built under Jimenez de Cisneros, the nephew of Cardinal Cisneros. The latter was the founder and builder of the Universidad de Alcala, found in the Comunidad de Madrid town of Alcala de Henares. Various renovations were done in the property, which included connecting the building with the Old City Hall via a short enclosed walkway.
imageThe enclosed walkway between Casas de Cisneros and de la Villa, serving as a connection or bridge between the two edifices
imageThe bridge that connects the House of Cisneros to the Old Town Hall was built during the early part of the 1900’s. The narrow street that traverses between the two buildings and below the enclosed walkway is called the Calle Madrid. It is connected to other small streets; these are Calle del Rollo and Calle Duque de Najera

imageThe House and Tower of the Lujanes take pride in having two of the oldest Madrileno architectural designs — these are the Gothic and Mudejar styles. The tower is said to be the older of the two structures; it has been in existence since the start of the 15th century. Originally the home to Gonzalo Garcia, it was acquired by Pedro de Luján in 1450

imagePlaza de la Villa is considered to be of high historical value since it is the focal point of ancient Madrid, being the site of the seat of old city´s administrative power – Casa de la Villa. It was here where streets found in the city´s old and original layout are connected — Calles Madrid, Cordon, and El Codo

imageThe facade of the building that faces the Calle Mayor. On its immediate side is the Palacio Marques Canete, or the Centro Sefarad. Just nearby is the building of the Italian Cultural Institute.

Want to see Casa de la Villa?

If you want to know more about the monument and perhaps see its interior, the best time to visit is Mondays at 5 PM, when a tour is held for visitors, and conducted in Spanish and English.

How to find Casa de la villa

Direccion: Plaza de la Villa 5, Madrid 28005

The historic edifice-monument is easy to reach: From Puerta del Sol or the Opera, walk the length of Calle Mayor until you reach Plaza de la Villa, at Number 5. The site is near two Madrid attractions, which incidentally are both Palaces, or at least named as such. These are the Palacio Marques de Canete, or the Centro Sefarad Israel (located immediately after the Casa) and Palacio de Abrantes or the Italian Cultural Institute (right in front of it).

Nearest Metro Stations: Vodafone Sol (Lines 1 to 3); Opera (Line 2, Line 5)
Auto buses near the site: Numbers 3, 20, 33, 39, 50 to 53, and 150

Map:

Museo de America, Madrid (Museum of the Americas)

Across the upper portion of its distinct-looking facade is a large sign that bears its name. The building is every inch majestic that it is sure to catch the people´s attention, or just about everyone who passes by. It certainly got mine the few times the auto bus I was in passed through the area as I was en route to a few day trip destinations, like Segovia and El Escorial). Its grand and imposing edifice sprawled in a wide area of land along Ave. de los Reyes Catolicos is definitely worth a second look.

imageMadrid, indeed, bursts in so much art and culture, ready for everyone to experience and enjoy by way of the numerous museums scattered all around the city. The Avenue of the Catholic Kings is proud to be the site of one of the city’s major museums, the Museo de America, or the Museum of the Americas. Possessing a stately and solemn stance, I would have mistaken it for a basilica or a cathedral were ir not for the large name on its facade that identifies it.

The earliest collections procured and displayed within was initiated by Carlos III way back in 1771; this was the time when early excavations and archaelogical work were done in the American continent.

imageThe museum is one of the finest in Madrid to explore since it has within its collection countless pieces of artistic, cultural, archaeological, and even religious artifacts and valuable historical items, all of which come from every corner of the American continents.

All in all, 25,000 items belong to the museums collection, with some of the most valuable ones included in the collection of the Royal Cabinet of Natural History. Through the years, the museo became more established, and earned the reputation of being one of the most respectable Madrid Museums. As such, more and more donors from the far corners of the world contribute to making its collections richer and more diverse.

imageCeramics, vases, urns and similar vessels, helmets and headgears, paintings and other forms of artworks — visitors are assured of a wide variety of artifacts and antiquities to be seen and apprecated at the museum. Museo de America is certainly a must-see, whether you are an individual with a great curiosity on American antiquities or an avid history lover. Many of the items in the collections were donations from other prestigious museums and similar institutions.
imageIn the museum grounds stands a huge stone equestrian statue. You can see the museo in the background
imageYou can also find a rectangular pond with a statue of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa (with inscribed description, Discubridor del Pacifico, or Discoverer of the Pacific in English) standing on one end

Direccion: You may visit the museum at Avenida de los Reyes Catolicos 6, Madrid

Horarios: : Museo de America is open from Tuesday to Saturdays, 9:30 Am to 3:00 PM and closed on Mondays

How to go: The museum is a few hundred meters away from Plaza de Moncloa. You can take the Madrid Metro and get off at Moncloa Station, via Linea 3 and Linea 6 – Circular. Take Avenida Plaza de la Moncloa, along which you will also find the Faro de Moncloa. The site is at the corner of Avenidas Victoria and de los Reyes Catholico. If you want to go via auto bus, available EMT lineas are 2, 44, 46, 61, 113, 132, 133

Nearby Madrid Attractions and landmarks:

1. Arco de la Victoria - You´ll never miss this tall monument if you´re passing by Moncloa. It is also considered a city gateway like those found at Toledo and Alcala; hence, it is called La Puerta de Moncloa.

2. Quartel General del Ejercito del Aire – the headquarters of the Spanish Air Force, a major landmark within the Moncloa-Aravaca district

3. Faro de Moncloa – observe and marvel at the city via a bird´s eye view — this you can achieve by climbing up the almost 100-meter high observation tower called Faro. Be awed by various Madrid attractions from up high – such as the Palacio Real, the Columbus Towers, and even as distant as the mountain ranges of the Guadarramas. It´s definitely worth your time — try to drop by before or after you made your visit to the Museo de America.

Admission Prices: 3 euros (regular) and 1.50 euros (reduced price)

When is admission free?
Entry to the museum is free during Sundays, the 18th of April and May, October 12 (National Day of Spain, and December 6 (Spain´s Constitution Day). Minors, students, and individuals over the age of 65 can also enter for free

Official Website of the museum

Map:

Parque el Buen Retiro’s Monumento a Alfonso XII

In front of El Retiro Park, Madrid‘s huge and rectangular-shaped Estanque Grande del Retiro, which is also referred to as the Great Pond by the distinguished Spanish architect Cristobal de Aguilera, is the magnificent monument of Alfonso XII. 

The statue is located halfway of the pond’s side adjacent to Plaza de Maestra Villa, within its eastern portion. The statue towers over everything else and is seemingly looking over the wide expanse of the estanque. The latter itself is an important part of the park in that it boasts of a rich Spanish history that started from Phillip IV’s reign, where it served as a recreational venue for the royals and their court to ride the boats and fish.

It was in 1902 when the plan to build a monument to Alfonso XII was formed. Consequently, a contest endorsed by then Queen Maria Cristina that would determine the architect for the monument project was held, with architect Grases Riera as the eventual winner.

The equestrian statue of Alfonso XI is made in bronze and known to be one of the tallest and largest structures inside the park.  The middle of the last century saw the structure being neglected, allowing it to deteriorate. It was in the 80’s when restoration were done. A number of statues and figures nearby also had to be replaced as part of the restoration.

Visit Alfonso XII Monument at El Retiro Park:

Today, no visit to El Retiro Park should be made without visiting the monument. You will not miss it, in the first place, since the estangue is near the main entrance to the park, the Puerta de Alcala. Walk towards Calle Nicaragua, along which is the front portion of the pond. You will have to take either Paseo del Estangue or Paseo de Valenzuela to reach the statue on the other side.

Near Puerta de Alcala is the Retiro Madrid Metro of Linea 2, which is right inside the park itself. From the station is a short walk to Fuente de los Galapagos and Paseo del Enstanque.

Nearby park sites and attractions:

Palacio de Velazquez, Palacio de Cristal, Cecilio Rodriguez Gardens

imageSunny day, blue skies with wispy clouds here are there — it was indeed a perfect morning to visit the Monument of Alfonso XII at Buen Retiro Park in Madrid

imageI was lucky to have chanced upon the spacious area in front of the equestrian statue as still empty. I could only presume that as the day progresses, it will be filled with tourists excited to take shots of the monument and the pond.

imageI took this shot of the estanque and the monument of Alfonso XII one early morning, and so the quiet and tranquility in the place is still apparent. The estanque was said to have been a witness to a number of Spanish kings and their entourage proudly displaying their gondolas as they wade through them, while at the same time, music was being played.

imageIn this picture is one of the four lions carved out of stone materials, fine masterpieces by exceptional artists, Pedro Estany and Agapit Vallmitjana Abarca. They are placed near the steps that lead to the central monument. Also nearby are four mermaids in various positions; such statues are creations of Parera Saurina, Coll y Pi, Rafael Atche, and Antoni Alsina.

imageAt the back of the monument are ionic columns forming a  beautiful collonade that further enhanced the Alfonso XII monument. These structures were also constructed by Pedro Estany. The steps beneath the statue are often used by visitors and tourists to sit around and stay while waiting for the setting of the sun.

Map:

Hospital de Maudes of Chamberi, Madrid [Sta Maria del Silencio]

imageTravel blogs have lauded this former Madrid hospital for the labourers as one of the most eccentric yet beautiful edifices in the city. I definitely agree with them. Its name is long, Hospital de Jornaleros de San Francisco de Paula; this alone makes you feel it is special. Hospital de Maudes for short,  its impressive white-and-brownish hued facade and stately towers give off a royal vibe.

At least once a week, I never fail to take a short eight-minute (as how I timed it) walk that starts from El Corte Ingles at the corner of Paseo de Castellana and Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde and ends at Cuatro Caminos, or vice versa. And when I do, this building located midway always earns from me a long, bewildered gaze.

Is Hospital de Maudes really a hospital or a church?

I am at a loss about the true “identity” of the Maudes Hospital. Is it really one, when if viewed from afar, it appears to be abandoned? It doesn´t look busy like any typical hospital rendering medical services.

And so I thought I needed to do some sleuthing by visiting the building myself. Going there is easy — Glorieta de Cuatro Caminos, a busy roundabout, is four Metro stops away from Valdeacederas station, which is a few blocks from my place.

Upon reaching the Glorieta, I turned to Fernandez Villaverde and walked its sidewalk down to the spot where I could take some long shots of the building. I also had to take pictures from close range, which meant walking back to the glorieta in order to cross Villaverde street and access the opposite sidewalk.

As I approached the building, I realized it wasn’t a hospital but a church. However, since it was mid-afternoon, the gates were closed and the main front doors shut. I was almost sorry about the glum surroundings.

After taking pictures, I walked to the back of the building, and discovered that this portion faces a street called Calle de Maudes. It became clear that it was named after its location.

A large sign, “Comunidad de Madrid” is posted on the facade, and this got me more confused. Is it a hospital? A church? Or did they turn it to a government agency of sorts?

I noticed a security officer was around, walking and checking the premises, occasionally stopping in front of the gate to observe people passing by. I notice he looked at me as I took pictures from the outside, but he didn’t seem to mind my presence and continued his unhurried gait around. All the while I took shots, I waited for him to venture near the grilled fence.

Finally, he did. This signaled me to field my questions about the building, to which he graciously responded.

Parroquia Santa Maria del Silencio

He explained that the original building was constructed to serve as a hospital, providing medical and health services to the laborers of the city.

Eventually, the property was divided, the part facing Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde now serves as a church, known as the Parroquia Sta Maria del Silencio, the Parish church for the deaf. (This church primarily serves the spiritual needs of people with hearing disabilities.) The other half located along Calle de Maudes Site operates as a government office.

I thanked the security guy profusely for his efforts to enlighten me as far as Hospital de Maudes’s current function is concerned. [I couldn’t remember the number of times I uttered “Como” and “Mas despacho, por favor” as he spoke entirely in Spanish].

Now, I see the building differently, having learned about its history and function as well (a noble one at that). I don’t think of it now as a beautiful building gone to waste but a Palacios masterpiece that has more than served its purpose.

imageThe edifice is currently under the administration of the Comunidad de Madrid.

imageOriginally a hospital that served laborers and workers of the city, the part of the building complex facing Villaverde is now a Church, Santa Maria del Silencio

imageThe Maudes edifice along Calle de Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde

imageNotice how the towers of the buildings have a strong resemblance to those belonging to the Palacio de Cibeles, mainly because both buildings were creations of the same Spanish architect, Antonio Palacio

imageThe beautiful facade of the hospital / church, as seen from the steps of Calle de Ciceron

Facts and trivia

1. Antonio Palacios, the Spanish architect of Hospital de Maudes and Cibele Palace, had a significant part in the construction of a number lineas of Metro de Madrid, designing the entrances to the stations.

2. Year 2016 marks its centenary, since construction was finished in 1916. A beautiful website, Palacio de Maudes, is dedication to its 100-year celebration.

3. The government agency currently housed at the Maudes part of the building is the Consejería de Transportes, Vivienda y Infraestructura, or the Ministry of Transportation, Housing and Infrastructure.

4. The owner of the land on which the building was built is Dona Dolores Romero. She ordered the creation of a hospital specifically meant to welcome city laborers needing medical attention but didn’t have the financials means to pay for it. The hospital was tasked to admit and retain patients up to their full recovery and restored ability to return to work.

How to reach Hospital de Maudes

Hospital de Maudes is found in one of bustling neighborhoods of Madrid, a few hundred meters away from the Glorieta de Cuatro Caminos. Immediate streets are Bravo Murillo and Paseo de Castellana, both of which intersect Calle Fernandez Villaverde, the street where it is found. Important landmarks nearby are El Corte Ingles and the the Governnment office, Nuevos Ministerios.

Nearest Metro Stations: N. Ministerios, Bravo Murillo

Autobus paradas: C1, C2, 149, 40, 5, 27

Map:

(If you have to upload or embed the map of Hospital de Maudes on your own blog or website, don’t search the key phrase Hospital de Maudes, but go for “Santa Maria del Silencio” instead, which is how they refer to the building on Google Maps.)

Madrid Attraction: The Crystal Palace of Buen Retiro Park

imageI’m having a break from my day trip adventures, even if I admit I always have the best times whenever I go to these beautiful nearby towns, the last being Avila, Manzanares el Real and Chincon. These three Spanish pueblos are such fascinating Spanish pueblos I advise everyone to also visit and explore.

But for now, time to focus again on the city proper and feature yet another entrancing Madrid attraction. This morning, I found myself in front of the Puerta de Alcala, in front of the city´s premier park. Entering through the park’s entrance in front of the Plaza de la Independencia, I’m set to visit a popular edifice within — beautiful park attraction.

Palacio de Cristal de Retiro

Crystal Palace is located at Madrid, Spain‘s premier park and garden, the Buen Retiro Park. The edifice is located along Paseo de Cuba, and a popular venue for various exhibits featuring various forms of arts and culture. Its very first exhibit happened in the 1887’s international exhibition, when it housed a wide variety of plants and animals from the Philippines.

What is the building of the Crystal Palace made of?

Main construction components are metal and glass, with the latter abundantly used as walls and ceilings to allow sufficient sunshine to to pass through. Consequently, this provides ample natural lighting inside the palace.

If only for the glass-and-metal make of the building, this renders the Crystal as one of the most attractive spots of the Retiro Park. Needless to say, the edifice-monument is one of the reasons why throngs of people are enticed to visit the park every day.

imageThe lush flora, the fountain in the midst of the pond, the pond itself, and the tiny water falls in the background — they all add to the beauty to the surroundings of the palace

Because of the lush greenery that surrounds the area, as well as the pond found in its front, the outdoor surrounding of the palace is as enjoyable to walk around as its interior. The tall and thick flora provides cool shade for people to enjoy as they pass through the palace and its vicinity. The pond is home to some wild ducks swimming in its water, which is a warm, interesting scene to enjoy.

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How to go to Crystal Palace

The edifice is royal and stately in appearance, which is why it was named a palace, in the first place. I was utterly mesmerized the first time I went there. And since then, I’ve been to the site for as much as I can, whenever I am in the area of Alcala or Puerta del Sol. The tranquility of the surroundings, the  pond, the ducks floating in the water, the fountain, and the palace itself have a calming effect, and so, I always come out of the park as devoid of tiredness and totally refreshed. Take some time to visit the Crystal Palace yourself, I assure you it will be worth your while.

Direccion de Palacio de Cristal: Inside the Buen Retiro Park, you can reach the site via Paseo Republica de Cuba or Paseo Fernan Nunez

Nearby Retiro sites: Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez, Palacio de Velazquez

Horario: Open from 10AM to 10PM

Map:

Arch Monuments: Magnificent Madrid Attractions

Madrid, Spain, like most other European cities, is rich in history, culture and arts. This is evident in the numerous significant monuments and and structures in various parts of the city, many are intended to commemorate a significant event or an individual in the distrito or barrio where they are found.  Others serve to represent or honor the place or the whole city itself. A popular type of monument is the arch, and the two most common reasons for being is to serve as a gateway to the city or celebrate a major victory in a battle.

The following are some of the popular arch monuments within the Spanish capital:

Puerta de Toledo

imageOne of the most visited Madrid attractions is the Puerta de Toledo, an impressive monument located in the heart of the city. It is near Gloriette de Embajadores and Lavapies. It took 15 long years for builders to finish this grand structure. Done in the early 19th century, it is actually considered as a new monument, since many others like it date as far back as the 1500’s. Still the Toledo Gate is special since it bears the official emblem of Madrid.

And like other important statues, a number sits on top of the monument – all of which represents the powerful reign of the kings of Spain during the medieval period. A fitting honor has been bestowed upon the well-loved structure – it was labelled in 1996 as a Bien de Interes Cultural.

How to go: The easiest way is via Madrid Metro. Like linea 5 and get off at Puerta de Toledo station. C2, C1 are two of the many auto-buses that passes through the monument.

Puerta de Alcala

imagePuerta de Alcala will surely pop up into one’s mind when asked which monument is most associated with the city of Madrid. Indeed, it strongly represents the city as far as Spanish history and culture are concerned. Finished in 1778 by Senor Francisco Sabatini, the architect who was also responsible for the Sabatini Gardens.

Where can the monument be found? It is right in the middle of the Independence square (Plaza de la Independencia), standing at the starting point of Calle de Alcala. It is also near the Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro), and so this Madrid attraction is good enough reason to drop by Alcala.

How to go:

Metro: Take linea 2 and alight at Retiro atation. From here, proceed to the park gate fronting the Puerta de Alcala.

Bus: Autobus No. 51 stops at the parade in Plaza de la Independencia, in front of the monument.

Arco de la Victoria

imageStanding proudly within the vicinity of Moncloa is the Arco de la Victoria – one of the majestic arch monuments of Madrid. Francisco Franco ordered the building of the structure in 1950, as a way of remembering the strongman´s victory in one of his battles during the Civil War of Spain, the Battle of Ciudad Universitaria, in 1936.

Also called the Puerta de la Moncloa, the Victory Arch of Madrid was not built to serve as a gateway to the city; but instead, it is triumphal in nature. It has a resemblance to the Puerta de Alcala, and was constructed by prolific Spanish architects Bravo Sanfeliu and Lopez Otero. Conspicuous among the sculptures on top is that of Minerva.

How to go:

Metro: Opt for line 3 or 6, and get off at Moncloa Station. You will find it standing in the middle of Avenida de Arco de la Victoria.

Puerta de San Vicente

IMG_0003Another brilliant work by Francesco Sabatini, acting as a significant gateway to Madrid is the Puerte de San Vicente. It is in the middle of the Glorietta de San Vicente, while the most popular landmark nearby is the Principe Pio Metro train station and shopping center. This 3-arched monument, which is also called Puerta de Florida and Puerta del Angel, displays the statue of San Vicente, hence the name. Pedro Ribera was commissioned by then mayor of 1726 Marquis de Badillo to build the structure as a replacement to a old gateway.

How to go:

The glorietta is just a stone´s throw away from the Principe Pio station and mall. It is also near the Jardines de Campo del Moro at Paseo Virgen del Puerto.