It is a difficult task to define the word "urban", a phenomenon of varied aspects and contexts. It is difficult but not impossible to reach the essence of the city, of Madrid, which has all kinds of possibilities for those who want to get to know more about it, about its history, about its people and about its streets.

The streets are part of the "soul" of the city and they are sometime like an open book which can be read with restraints... A lot has been said and written about those streets in Madrid. We only need to remember famous writers as Mesoneros Romanos, Fernandez of the Rios and Baroja, or more recent ones such as Umbral or Santiago Amon, who is no longer among us. All of them wrote extensively and well about the city.

The city grows from the dawn of medieval, Moslem and Christian times with its walls, caves and parapet walks, with its mudejar churches and large districts, where Mayor Street or The Villa Square took shape, to the days of the Austrian dynasty, when the sun did not set in the city either... watching with Texeira how the city is beautified with Mayor Square, Sun Gate or the Retiro Park.

The "new order" of the Bourbon kings is exemplified by the construction of the New Palace - The Royal Palace - and by the development of the so-called Prado Walk, with buildings of the Enlightenment along the edges, in a Madrid more of shades than of light, when kings were Lord Mayors of the city...

A city, was "enlarged" in the 19th century, with Carlos María de Castro, the bourgeois and proletarian areas of Recoletos, Chamberi, Lavapies and which reaches its cosmopolitan proportions in the late 19th century - La Gran Via -

The republican period with the rationalist Zuazo's , the hard times of the Civil War, the Madrid of "La Colmena" (i.e: the Beehive) by Camilo Jose Cela in the post-war period, the years of the "development" - and the shanty areas - the Madrid of the democratic elections in 1979, belong to the contemporary history of this contradictory city, full of life in our times, trying to be more human and comfortable, as well as friendly with its visitors.

The following itineraries may be an invitation to join into the life of Madrid, in its historical and cultural happening. Through these "living itineraries", Madrid reaches out to you.



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