Matadero Madrid: From Slaughterhouse to Venue for the Arts

imageMadrid‘s distrito de Arganzuela must be proud for being the site of beautiful Moorish-inspired complex that serves to foster art and culture in the city.  Red brick-and-tile edifices stand on a wide area of land in front of Plaza de Legazpi, sprawled along the riverbanks of the Rio de Manzanares. The complex is a must-visit after a morning stroll at the Madrid Rio Park.

Its name is Matadero Madrid; and yes, you guessed it right — it used to be the city’s slaughterhouse (hence the name). Apart from being the workplace for butchers, it also served as a market (I presumed all that slaughtered livestock went straight to this place to be sold).

The building was constructed under the helm of famous Spanish architect Luis Bellido during the early years of the 20th century, and was thought of as a major representative of Spain´s progressive, modern  architecture. The project ensured the buildings or pavilions were functional to the optimum.

Moorish Architectural style

Notice the unique architectural style used in the pavilions, I say unique in that it is different from the designs common in many city edifices and structures.

The design used in Matadero is Neomudejar, which is Moorish styled architecture. Proponents of this particular style push for its emergence in the modern Madrid architecturul landscape, with claims that Neo-mudejar is uniquely Spanish.

Transformation to a haven for art lovers

Matadero continued to operate as a slaughterhouse until 1996, with the city government voted for the conversion of the place into a venue for contemporary arts and culture. As it was an experiment during its inception as a slaughterhouse, it continues such a tradition by making non-conventional renovations and development of the complex. This is done to optimize its use as a major haven for the creators and lovers of modern Madrid art.

What to see in Matadero Madrid

1. Deposito de Especies

imageWhat used to be a water tank meant for the slaughterhouse now serves as an archive and memorial.

2. Plaza de Matadero

imageThe main square of the complex, where arts and performance events such as dance, concert, and even circus acts are held.

3. Naves de Espanol

imageOne of the main centers of arts, Naves de Espanol is a chain of three buildings along the Calle de Matadero. Small performances and theater acts are performed in this venue.

4. Cineteca

imageA modern center where films of documentary nature are screened for public viewing. The movie house also serves as the office for the prestigious Documenta Madrid film fest, the film body dedicated to the showing of documentary movies promoted and endorsed by the Madrid City Council and Cinetica.

5. La Casa del Lector

imageThis venue was meant to accommodate the readers, and was created thru the efforts of the Germán Sánchez Ruipérez Foundation. La Casa del Lector is a place for promoting reading of all forms and holding cultural activities such as reading workships, film exhibitions, and music performances.

6. La Casa del Reloj

imagePreviously known as Matadero’s Pavilion of Central Services and Municipal Market, it is now both a cultural center and the Office of the Municipal Board of Arganzuela.

How to Go to Matadero Madrid

Nearest Madrid Stations: Legazpi (Line 6), Principe Pio (you will have to go through Madrid Rio first, which involves a long, long walk)

Autobus Lines: Lineas 8, 22, 79, 123, 18, 19, 180, 45, 59, 148 (among others)


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