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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by JLL & JRP
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