The Gateway de la Vega looked toward the river lying to the west, and was the exit for agricultural workers to the gardens and fields on the meadowlands of the Manzanares.

Although this gate-exit was of prime importance in the production of foods destined for maintaining troops and the neighboring populace, it was not, however, the most important exit-way. Two outlets to the military centers exceeded it in use, - Alcalá de Henares and Guadalajara, - for any routing through Cuesta de la Vega, rough and difficult, was not really feasible for movements of troops and cavalry.

The gateway of most important service, then, was the Arco de la Almudena, located on the present-day Calle Mayor, fronting on Calle Factor.

There are many reasonable grounds that support this statement, since that gateway was situated, during many centuries, in what was called Real de la Almudena, and through which came and went military chieftains of the Moslem period and royal retinues of a later time.

It was the easiest approach to all the areas of the fortress, and because the grounds were perfectly flat, could permit an easy movement for large numbers of troops, apparatus and wagons. As Madrid begins to grow, its growth will not be through other exit-ways but pushing out through this one.

To the north must have existed a third gateway, that de la Sagra, or de Al-Xagra, which should not be confused with the Gate de Valnadú, which formed part of the wall of Madrid in the 12th century. The Gateway de la Sagra probably opened out near the castle-fortress (Alcázar), at some point in the confluence of the modern street named Bailén and Plaza de Oriente.

This gateway must have had use that was preferentially military because of its immediacy to the fortress and because the housing of Arabic Madrid extended into areas opposite this, both of them separated by what later was called Campo del Rey.

It is almost impossible to imagine what this place was like, for important reforms and new works in the castle-fortress and its environs, effected by the Austrian-Hapsburgs at end of the 16th century and beginnings of the 17th, erased all vestiges of any primitive time.

The first wall of Madrid was constructed with flint-rock bound by cement made of lime, sand and water, a mixture that gained great popularity in the medieval world, by reason of its strength and solidity.

The height of the wall would have been slightly more than can be appreciated by the one and only section still remaining, that at Cuesta de la Vega.

The absence in the wall of a loophole, or barbican, is made known to us by tradition, and by the existence of a "coracha," a small section of wall that ended in the legendary Torre de Narigués, placed toward the margin of the present Calle de Segovia, near Viaducto.

Within the "almudena" area, of some nine hectares (22.24 acres) in size, the maze of streets, tortuous and twisting, judging by any typical Moslem city, and its civic buildings, must have been located at the south.

By what we can learn from the Texeira map, with changes inevitably effected in the 17th century, a picture is presented us that must show the essentials of the city layout of that Moslem Madrid of the 10th and 11th centuries.

No single way, or street, stands out, or if there was one, it would have had to be notable enough to unite in some twisting but clear, continuous way, the two principal gateways, the de la Vega and the de la Almudena, in what today is the last section of Calle Mayor, from the Hall of Captaincy up to the bit of the Arabic wall that does remain.

From that street, on its north side, two other streets came out, to the rear of the mosque, and then, united as one, led to the area that would be called Campo del Rey, and which on the Texeira map appears as Plaza de Palacio.

One of these two routes was named Santa Ana in the 17th century; the other on the Texeira map is without name.

It is difficult to be sure that the streets which we see in the map of later times correspond exactly to the Arabic streets, but their irregular lines, their swerves and turns, and hidden ways back of walls that they do show, indicate, even with changes, that those changes must not have been drastic.

But, what was the "medina" of Madrid like?. On arriving at this point in our discussion, it is well that some considerations should be entered at this point.

It should be made quite clear that, save for the section of wall of the 9th century at the Cuesta de la Vega, there is absolutely nothing remaining from that period excepting a few Moslem ceramics, that sometime or other have been found and which, indeed, do not originate in the area we understand as within the "almudena".

With this clarification and to imagine the city plan of the streets, houses and blocks, we must turn to the example of various Hispanic-Moslem towns, or to what may be seen in northern Africa, for characteristics similar to the original Arabic Madrid. Although Madrid has never ceased to renew itself, there are still numerous corners that still bespeak their Islamic past.

The small neighborhood of the Puerta de la Vega, with which we can get acquainted through land-plats, and photographs made at end of the 19th century, all present inviolate a surprisingly medieval aspect. But this was totally destroyed when in 1885, decision was made to locate in that area the Neo-Gothic Cathedral of the Almudena, recently inaugurated.

Even so, in the eastern zones, which soon would become suburbs, we can find an abundant number of twisting streets and silent hidden ways.

In spite of the passing of centuries and the renewing of housing, there scarcely exists in Madrid a house from the years before the 16th century. But Islamic "medina", with its otherworld aspect, its latticed windows, its curious carvings, its silence and its high walls, can give one some sense of the old times, if you were to take a stroll through the barrios of San Nicolás, San Justo or La Morería.

Another element related to the Islamic "medina", is that given by the baths, of which good examples have lived on in Spanish cities.

No known toponymy is extant for the baths in that small Moslem Madrid. And on this theme, a query could be launched: were those baths located within the "almudena" or were they in some exterior area?

THE PICTURES:
Moslem architecture and
Hispanic-Moslem characters.

- Moslem look-out, toward the 8th and 9th centuries.
Almost all cylindrical, with door of entry separated from the ground as a precautionary measure,
and surrounded by miserable houses of villagers. The houses are joined by a railing,
which served as much for defense as for a point of observation,
given that they were raised over hills and elevated areas.

- Hispanic-Moslem houses.
The one on the left has three rooms: one a living room, and the others are bedchambers;
that on the right, serves also as a storeroom. The central house is little seen in our cities.
It has two floors, independent kitchen, an irregularly shaped vestibule entry-way
to guard the intimacy of the courtyard, hall and set rooms.
The custom of coloring the lower part of exterior walls, is continued to our days
in many towns of the area.

- Remains of the old Moslem wall of Madrid.

- Hispanic-Moslem types.
The woman is wearing a small cloak and she covers her face with a kerchief.
The man wears a camisole and trousers.
Both of them use leathern clogs with wooden soles.

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