That is to say, Madrid in the 16th century, didn't have made an image, as Toledo or Seville, it seemed as a virgin place that it could be modelated according to the interests and objectives of the Spanish monarchy, and that was made, still with all the limitations of the time of the Austrias along.

Madrid was located among the main peninsular roads that crossed this area, those that came working from times of Rome and communicated Aragón with Extremadura, Levante with Castile, and Andalusia with the north.


Frequently ruinoises and often lifted up on areas of existent houses,
they had already a little decoration in their facades except the main gate,
almost always made in stucco and rarely in stone.

Recently, it was incorporate to a system of houses and real places, from Valsaín to Aranjuez. The origin of most of these real places was from the emperor Charles I to Philip's II period.

Consequently, as a clear conclusion, the transfer of the Court to the Village of the Manzanares was neither capricious neither improvised, but possibly part of Philip's II clearly Renaissance plan.

In May of 1561, the Madrilenian Town Council received the sovereign's Royal Identification, dictated in Toledo, being supposed the imminent transfer of the Court. This should already be in Madrid in the month of June, when the Royal Council took place.

The first and more urgent concern of the Madrilenian Municipality was the one of supplying properly the population with flour and meat, as not only the resident ones, but also the future inhabitants who would move along with the Court. So that, the demand would increase a lot, requesting license the Town Council to buy meat, being numerous economic difficulties to obtain the required quantities.

The Pardo Palace volumetry and main facade,
according to Luis de Vega's project made under king Charles I responsability,
that wanted to reform the old castle lifted up by king Henry III.

The Town council, supported by the Crown, began to elaborate ambitious and necessary projects that pursued the total modification of the city.

Alignment and enlargement of streets, new facilities of municipal supplies, reorganization of the Arrabal Square and demolition of wall pieces and gates, construction of a Royal Hospital, appropriate temples to the new capital condition, like a Cathedral or collegiate church in its defect, hospices, orphanages and other necessary equipment.

A plan was elaborated, headed by the architect John Baptist Toledo, who had been brought from Italy by Philip II.

If the plan had carried out in a short time without a doubt, it would have been an homogeneous and coherent urbanistic transformation, but it was carried out very slowly, and with all kind of urban, social and economic difficulties, with that the cost of such reformations were very decreased and finally impoverished.

One of the responsibles of this failure was the Crown that, after having spurred such reformations gradually ignored them, passing the whole responsabilities of the projects to the City Council. But the events were shot.

The Town Council was soon seen overflowed and unable before a city that grew in surface and population, not in an enormous way, but chaotic and nonsense. It lacked a legislation and enough human and economic means to put order and concert in an overflowed true Babel.

Two possibilities of the so called "Houses to the malice", because they only show
a single floor to the street while, in the opposed side, they had two floors
to get out of harboring court personnel.
Until well entered the 18th century, those houses will exist .

The most decisive agent in this virulent transformation of Madrid is the demographic one. In the first moments of the arrival of the Court, there is already enough population's percentage to unbalance the scale between village and neighbors: it is the floating court population that assists the king's services and of the Court.

Before reformations are conceived to adapt the Village to its new condition a royal problem arises, the one of housing that court population.

The Village different from Toledo, lacked enough taverns and inns, reason why Philip II was forced to promulgate a proclamation for which all the houses of Madrid which had more than one floor should give one of them to a family of the Court.

It is the famous "Room Bonus" that so many bubbles raised in the neighbourhood, already giving place to traps and stratagems to deceive the obligation - impossible distributions inside the houses, bribes, bought excuses, etc - opening this way the sad chapter of the Madrilenian picaresque in the whole time of the Austrias.

But, it would not be this necessity of court lodging the only social problem to be faced in the Village, transformed in a sudden into head of the empire.

Although the aristocratic nobility and certain social groups doubt of the definitive character of the court presence in Madrid, being reserved big expenses or being remiss to certain payments, as the matter of fact, those important contingents of town plain kept arriving in Madrid.

Any street of Madrid in the middle of 17th century,
with some of the most characteristic types in its human landscape.
From left to right side, a cripple that equal can be a beggar than a villain as the occasion,
a clergyman and a traveling saleswoman, a religious procession at the back,
two gentlemen and a couple of ladies covered with cloaks.

Bibs, servants, peasants, soldiers and mutilated people from war arrived in the new Court in search of work, placements or pensions. Madrid would have between 10.000 and 20.000 inhabitants in the moment of the arrival of the Court, in 1561. Soon, the number of neighbours, taken a census or not, would be shot.

Toward 1575, the inhabitants would be around 35.000 to 45.000 people and at the end of century, deceased Philip II, the figure was already located close or around the 100.000 souls.

This spectacular population increase, produced some social, economic and urban alterations in the city, which could be classified as tremendous, and with a negative impact in the city, because this growth was neither rational and staggered, or accompanied by the great political and urban reformations demanded by the new situation.

Another negative consequence in the new condition which Madrid was living through, was the cleaning and the aspect of its streets that soon degenerated into an enlarged rhythm. In Madrid there was already numerous rubbish in the periphery in 1561, and was increased with the years.

The dirt and the garbages were, appropriating from the interior of the Village that when lacking sewer system, mainly in the new neighbourhoods that arose unceasingly, invaded by the fecal waters of the new and grown population.

The smell, the dirt, the urban violations, the lack of a civic conscience and the inefficiency or desperation of some scarce or inapt municipal services converted Madrid, before 1600, in the dirtiest capital in Europe.

The pictures shows:

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