The old part of Madrid - the centre area
today - was built in the times of Philip IV (1621-1655). Its origins date from
the second half of the 9th century - from the moslem conquest by Emir Muhammad I
(860-886), who built the "alcazaba" or moslem fortress and the first
walled enclosure of Madrid: the Almudena.
When it became part of the Kingdom of
Castile was used as a place of rest by the Castilian kings. Moslems, Mozarabs,
Jews, Christians and Mudejares inhabited medieval Madrid. It became the court in
1561 for the first time, in the reign of Philip II (1556-1598) and in 1606
became definitively the capital in the time of Philip III (1598-1621). In the
17th century, Madrid with the court and its convents was full of baroque
1 - Sun Gate: the
true "heart" of Madrid. It was built in 1478 as a gate of the wall
around the Arrabal Square. From the square, the most important 17th century
streets of Madrid lead off: Alcala and Saint Jerome streets. The Post House
built in the reign of Charles III, is still preserved and is today the seat of
the Presidency of the Autonomous Community of Madrid. The shape of the square as
it is today dates from the 19th century.
2 - Saint Gines
Church: a former parish church of the Arrabal with the same name used to
stand there in medieval times. Today's church is from the 16th-17th century.
3 - Isabel II Square
or "Opera": called Hontanillas Ravine in medieval times, was
used to be the moat of the wall in the 12th century. Especially outstanding
today is the Royal Theatre, built by Antonio Lopez Aguado, in 1850.
4 - Christian Wall
Tower of the XII century: In Escalinata Street, the former moat of the
12th century wall, stands this tower attached to the dividing wall of a 19th
5 - Saint James
Church: in the square of the same name. Used to be a medieval church
built by the Castilian conquerors belonging to the military order of Saint
James. Today's church dates from the beginning of the 19th century.
6 - Factor Street:
The former parapet walk of the Almudena wall (9th-10th century).
7 - Almudena:
the first walled enclosure of Moslem Madrid. By its site it is located the
Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Almudena, whose construction began at the end of
the last century by the Marquis of Cubas.
8 - Moslem Wall:
practically the only remains of the wall still preserved in Madrid. The section
belongs to the first walled enclosure or "almudena", built by Muhammad
I, at the end of the 9th century.
9 - Uceda Palace:
Was built in the first half of the 17th century by Philip III's favorite, the
Duke of Uceda. It is one of the best examples of palace architecture of the
post-Herrera style and was built by Juan Gomez Mora. Today it is the Military
10 - Sacrament
Church: It was built next to the convent for the Bernardino Nuns-
vanished today - by the architect Bartolome Hurtado, in the second half of the
17th century. Today it is the Military Chapel. Inside, there are 18th century
11 - Saint Nicholas
of the Servitas Church: The oldest church of Madrid; a 12th century
Mudejar tower, a nave from 15th century and a portal from 17th century. It
stands inside a former parapet walk.
12 - The Villa
Square: A Moslem market place in the Upper Middle Ages turned into a
square, during the reign of Henry IV of Castile (1454-1474). Seat of the Madrid
Municipal Institution (in the Saint Salvador Church, vanished today). It used to
have the jurisdictional stone column of the City and the market place all
through the Middle Ages.
13 - The Villa House:
The first building especially built to house the Madrid City Council. It was
built in the second half of the 17th century by Juan Gomez Mora, in a
post-Herrera style with late baroque ornaments in its portals.
14 - The Lujanes
Tower and House: They are the oldest buildings of the Villa Square and
dating from the 15th century, Mudejar period. Today, they house two 18th century
institutions, The Royal Economic Society of Madrid and The Academy of Moral and
Political Science, apart from municipal installations (the old Municipal
15 - The House of
Cisneros: Originally it was a plateresque palace built in the first half
of the 16th century. Today's building is the result of Luis Bellido's
reconstruction, between 1910 and 1915. Part of the original facade is preserved
in Sacrament Street.
16 - Cord Square:
Its name comes from the palace on the square, where a franciscan cord appeared
on the facade.
Copyright © 1998 - 1999
by JLL & JRP
All rights reserved.