Artistic patrimony of Madrid Community

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After the death of Charles II of Austria in the year 1700 took the throne of Spain, Philip V of Bourbon, nephew of Louis XIV of France, beginning the House of Bourbon reigns of a long journey that reaches to the present day.

The need to restructure the government and the economic resources of the Crown lead to the first Bourbons to make significant changes in all areas of the monarchy over the eighteenth century. One solution proposed centralizing policies and a growing reform plan that would affect almost every area of society (church, infrastructure, administration and territory, army, …), with quite uneven results and lower than anticipated.

Madrid as cutting the monarchy was no exception and began to count among their farmhouse with new public buildings, institutions, barracks and scientific institutions. In the old administrative machinery of the Austrias, which was concentrated in units of the Alcázar joined buildings of the Royal House Post Office, the Royal House of Postas, the Royal Customs — now the Ministry of Finance, the Deposit Hydrographic-building today annexed to the Ministry of Education, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando and, among others, the Royal Academy of History. In turn, the Crown sought to boost the economy by creating actual factories: Royal House of Glass and others such as the Royal Factory Deck and Spirits, then tobacco, and the Royal Porcelain Factory.

Along with the Crown other social sectors as the nobility began to build large and sumptuous palaces: the Marquis of Miraflores and Perales, the Earl of Tepa and the Duke of Ugena — current headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. And is that the construction of the new Royal Palace (1738–1764) not only served as a testing ground for the architectural and artistic currents from Italy and France, but also, was the main point of reference for the new mansions of the aristocracy.

The first pre-capitalist bourgeoisie madrileña also wanted to reflect their growing economic power with the construction of the notorious Casa de los Cinco Gremios Mayores.

Royal Palace of Madrid[edit]

It was once a fortress, then the old Alcázar or citadel, and finally the Royal Palace. It is the official residence of His Majesty the King of Spain, although he does not actually live here. Apart from its role as a museum, it is only used for ceremonial purposes on state occasions such as diplomatic functions and official events.

The origins of the palace date from the 9th century, when the Muslim kingdom of Toledo, wishing to defend itself against surprise attacks by the Christians, built a fortress which was later used by the kings and queens of Castile. In the 16th century a citadel was built on the same foundations.

On Christmas Eve, 1734, it was reduced to ashes by a fire. Soon after Philip V ordered a new palace to be built on the same spot. Work on the building was carried out between 1738 and 1755. It was designed as a vaulted structure made of stone and brick, and no wood or flammable materials were used in its construction. Charles III of Spain was the first monarch who took up residence there, in 1764.

Royal Palace of El Pardo[edit]

This area, one of the most extensive woodlands in Madrid, includes among other spaces, the Zarzuela Palace, the usual residence of their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain. The lush vegetation in the countryside around the Monte de El Pardo safeguards the privacy of the palace occupants.

These 16,000 hectares of woodland were used as a hunting estate for the monarchy. Since the Middle Ages it has been the site of a variety of buildings such as the Casita del Príncipe (Prince's House) and the convents of the Franciscan Concepcionista and Capuchin orders. This last convent was founded by Philip III, and conserves in its interior a figure of a recumbent Christ by Gregorio Hernández, and the Virgin of los Ángeles by Francisco de Rizi.

Atocha Railway Station[edit]

A significant project of the nineteenth century Spanish architecture is the madrileña station of Atocha (1888–1892), built by Alberto de Palacio, who met the dual capacity as architect and engineer. Its deck, in the form of inverted hull vessel has a glimmer of nearly 49 meters, a height of approximately 27 meters and a length of 157 metres, surpassing all the achievements that this wording had been made. Moreover, the hull, in which participated design engineer Saint James, introduced the novelty of being built on steel sheet, showing a strong resemblance to that Dutert and Contamin made for the gallery Machines of the Universal Exhibition of Paris of 1889 . A side of the great hall covering tracks and platforms are erected two eclectic buildings in brick.

In 1992 the Atocha railway station underwent a major transformation to integrate a station for the AVE. Rafael Moneo was responsible for new works and integrating the new building with the original one in a surprising way. The old platforms have been replaced by a large greenhouse.

Parks and gardens[edit]

More than 250,000 hectares make the city of Madrid one of the European capitals with most green areas. One more fact: 248,000 trees can be found on its streets.

Of these green areas, the most famous one is surely El Retiro Park, it covers 118 hectares However, this is not the only green area to be found in a region with a wide variety of parks and gardens. In the capital can be found Campo del Moro, El Capricho garden, Monte de El Pardo, the Botanical Garden, Casa de Campo, Dehesa de la Villa park and Juan Carlos I park. Outside the city are the internationally famous Aranjuez Royal Gardens.

El Retiro Park[edit]

El Retiro gradually became the heart of the city. At the beginning of the 20th century, the monument to Alfonso XIII was erected next to the pond. Countless statues, fountains and commemorative monuments have filled the park and converted it into an open-air sculpture museum. Worthy of special mention among them are the Artichoke Fountain, designed by Ventura Rodríguez ant the Fallen Angel, peculiar in that main statue is dedicated to the devil. The thirties and forties witnessed the creation of new gardens attributed to Chief Gardener Cecilio Rodriguez who designed and built "the rose bed" and his namesake gardens.

Royal Botanical Garden[edit]

Since the garden was created, the teaching of Botany has flourished, expeditions to the Americas and the Pacific have been funded, great collections of plants illustration plated have been commissioned, and the extensive herbariums established there have served as a basic for discovering new species. In 1857, with Mariano de la Paz Graells serving as director of the Royal Garden, important improvements were made that can be seen even today, including the greenhouse bearing his name, and the remodelling of the upper terrace. Also of note during the Graells era was the installation of a zoo, which was moved to the "Jardín del Buen Retiro" twelve years later under the orders of Miguel Colmeiro. In the first third of the twentieth century, research in the field of mycology began to be seriously undertaken, and was especially intense in the specific area of micromicology. In 1974, it was closed to the public in order to carry out major refurbishment to restore it to its original style and appearance and re-open in 1981, coinciding with the bicenntenial of its relocation. The modern greenhouse exhibition was opened in 1993.

Campo del Moro (Moor's Field)[edit]

The "Campo del Moro" (Moor's Field) Gardens are so known because it was at this spot, between the Manzanares River and the Royal Alcázar or castle, that Almoravid Chieftain Ben-Alí set up his camp in 1109, in his futile attempt to reconquer the Alcázar and the city of Madrid from the Christians. The gardens flank the north-western side of the majestic palace building.

Madrid Zoo / Aquarium[edit]

Located in the Casa de Campo, 300 metres from the Amusement Park, the Madrid Zoo/Aquarium is considered one of the world's most important.

The Madrid Zoo/Aquarium was inaugurated in 1972. Since then it has been extended several times. Special mention should be made of the construction of the Dolphin Tank in 1987 and the Aquarium, which opened in 1995.

There are more than 500 species to be seen, and the 6,000 animals on site live in their natural habitats. The Zoo/Aquarium is a place for leisure, but is also a centre for research and for assistance to different animal species.

Madrid's districts (barrios)[edit]

Madrid is divided into different "barrios" (districts) which have their own distinct and unique features.

The natural starting point is the "Puerta del Sol" with its famous "km cero" – the curious thing about the km cero is the fact that all roads in Spain lead to this point. Madrid's km cero is a busy square with street vendors, some tourist shops, the central shopping area which stretches out between Sol and Gran Via. km cero is the popular meeting point.

The most appealing "barrios" of Madrid are all situated around Puerta de Sol: Sol, Huertas, La Latina, Chueca, Malasaña, a little more to the south the colourful Lavapiés and to the north the students´ quarter Moncloa / Argüelles.

Nuevos Ministerios / Cuatro Torres Business Area[edit]

Nuevos Ministerios or Azca Financial Center is an area located along Madrid's large avenue Paseo de la Castellana, north of the city center, traditionally considered the financial district. It is populated by skyscrapers including Torre Picasso, Edificio BBVA, Torre Europa and Torre Windsor. The El Corte Inglés department store made up of three interconnected buildings is also there. The area is directly linked to Barajas Airport by metro.

Madrid's new business district, Cuatro Torres Business Area (CTBA), construction recently, on the other hand, is seen as the new and "hip" financial district, boasting modern skyscrapers designed by internationally famed architects.

Besides the Caja Madrid Tower, the other three buildings in the complex are the recently completed 236-meter Torre Sacyr, designed by Enrique Alvarez & Carlos Rubio; the topped-out Torre Espacio, designed by I.M. Pei and planned to be 236 meters; and the under-construction, Cesar Pelli-designed Torre de Cristal, which is supposed to be only 89 centimeters shorter than Caja Madrid.

Salamanca / Serrano / Goya[edit]

This "barrio" has the major thoroughfare of Velázquez and Serrano running from North to South and Goya from East to West. It is primarily a wealthy residential area for madrilenos with many of the expensive designer stores flanking the wide streets.

Malasaña / Tribunal[edit]

Calle Fuencarral which leads from Gran Via to the area of Malasaña has somewhat of a London-like appearance. Hip clothes and a variety of funky shops give an introduction to this somewhat alternative quarter of Madrid.

Chueca[edit]

Chueca is probably best known for being Madrid's gay and lesbian district. During the day lots of the many good bars and restaurants are open. The centre of the barrio is the Plaza de Chueca. At night the quarter converts into a lively area frequented by all types of people partying and dancing in the streets.

Argüelles / Moncloa[edit]

The proximity of one of Spain's most traditional university campuses makes the Moncloa-Argüelles area, located in the north-west of Madrid, especially youth oriented. Argüelles is especially known for the "Bajos de Argüelles" (the Basements of Argüelles) where can find many discos, bars and clubs located in the basements of local buildings. Near to this area is the "Parque del Oeste" as well as the "Museo de America".

Madrid de las Austrias - Opera[edit]

The name "Madrid de las Austrias" refers to the period when the Habsburgs were in Spain and many of the buildings with their architecture reflect this period of history. It's a very stylish district which houses many of the city's major sights.

Sol / Huertas[edit]

The two barrios Sol and Huertas are situated quite close to each other. Sol is the area just around Puerta de Sol, Huertas describes the area which stretches out to the south of Sol.

La Latina[edit]

This is one of Madrid's historic neighbourhoods. Its streets still conserve their traditional atmosphere. Close to Puerta del Sol Square, with a varied array of establishments. On Sundays the Rastro is open in La Latina.

Lavapiés[edit]

Lavapiés is quite probably the most multicultural "barrio" of Madrid heavily influenced by African, Arabic and gypsy cultures. The plaza of Lavapiés marks the centre of this "barrio". [1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Madrid Histórico.". Madrid Histórico. February 2008.