Category Archives: All about Madrid

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

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: