You know we cannot be quiet so this weekend we took a walk through the Lavapies district of Madrid. Every time we like more, to be tourists in our own city!
We set out on a trip that we had wanted for some time. A tour of Lavapiés and admire the street art of the neighborhood, go up to Tirso de Molina, take a walk through the Puerta del Sol and the Plaza Mayor and end at the Rastro going down the Ribera de Curtidores until the Ronda de Toledo, and from there we go back through ambassadors and the Ronda de Valencia.
You can reed: Must Visit Places in Madrid
A walk through Madrid. Lavapiés, Sol and El Rastro
It is a considerable kick, but it is super interesting and it is worth it because it will allow you to get to know a good part of the historical center and the most typical of Madrid.
The District of Lavapiés
We started in the Ronda de Atocha, right next to the Reina Sofía museum, if you want you can take advantage and visit the museum.
Esta es una Plaza (this is a square)
Going down towards ambassadors we take the Mallorca street that goes up to the square that is in the street of Dr. Fourquet. It is a very particular square self-managed by the neighbors. You will find an orchard, an area for children, a kind of auditorium made with wooden pallets, a tent with tables to eat, among many other things.
The truth is that I think a great initiative and a place that is worth knowing.
We go down the street of Dr. Fourquet and we arrive at the Valencia street that goes up to the Plaza de Lavapiés.
One of the most curious things we think of this neighborhood is that it was the old Jewish quarter of Madrid. The converted Jews who lived in this neighborhood to demonstrate that they had been Christianized baptized their children with a very Spanish common name, Manuel, which is why this neighborhood was also known as the “Barrio de los Manolos”.
We are in the neuralgic center of what was known as the “castiza zone” where they walked through its streets, the “pimps”, the “majas” or “Los Manolos”. We are in what were called the “slums” of Madrid.
Tirso de Molina, Sol
We continue climbing up Lavapiés Street to Magdalena Street, and we arrive at Tirso de Molina Square.
Tirso de Molina is a place that has nothing special either. It was renewed quite a few years ago, more space was given to the pedestrian, trees were planted to provide shade and also some kiosks were installed to sell flowers.
It is not that it has any special monument or anything, it simply serves as a nerve center that links a lot of places in the center such as Lavapiés, El Rastro, Plaza Mayor, La Latina or Puerta del Sol.
From the Plaza de Tirso de Molina we take the street of Doctor Cortezo which continues on Calle Carretas which ends at Puerta del Sol.
Carretas street was and is, a very important street in Madrid. In it were the offices of the Philippine Company, the National Printing Office or the post offices.
In this street, most of its stores were bookstores and before this broqueleros (manufacturers of badges and shields), it was the Café Pombo, well known in its time for being the place where the best-known social gatherings in Madrid were held. and animated by the writer Ramón Gómez de la Serna. It was also one of the first streets to have “sidewalks” next to Montera Street.
La Puerta del Sol (The door of the Sun)
You arrive at Puerta del Sol. Puerta del Sol has undergone many changes and transformations. Between the Calle Alcalá and the Carrera de San Jerónimo, where today is the Apple Store, was the Buen Suceso Hospital, founded in 1438 to care for plague patients.
It was demolished in the 19th century and became the Paris Hotel, but its clock was saved, and you know where it was put? then in the tower of the Post Office that is the one that you can see all the ends of the year sing the twelve bells. But it is not the original clock, it was changed in 1866 by the one we know today, and that in 2016 it is 150 years old.
This Plaza has been the nerve center of Madrid for many years and has undergone many changes and transformations. In its beginnings the Puerta del Sol was a “wide street”.
The works of Puerta del Sol
In the mid-nineteenth century and with considerable controversy in between, it was decided to remodel the square and leave it with the shape it currently has. Works and improvements have been made in Puerta del Sol in Madrid. The second major reform is made in 2005 that leaves it with the look you can see today.
Main Square (Plaza Mayor). The Romantic Madrid
We go down the Calle Mayor, a few hundred or two hundred meters on the left, either through Calle Felipe III or Calle Siete de Julio you reach the Plaza Mayor.
The Plaza Mayor was born in the 15th Century, it was known as the Plaza del Arrabal, located on the outside of the walls of the Puerta de Guadalajara, which nowadays does not exist anymore and which was in the Calle Mayor, between the Calle Milaneses and the Cava de San Miguel and that was the main entrance of Madrid between the VI and XIII centuries. It was a square without the orderly form that it has today.
In the seventeenth century Philip III demolished the plaza completely and made a completely new one. Work began in 1617 and finished in 1619.
This square has lived many moments of our history and the history of Madrid, from the beatification on May 15, 1620 of San Isidro our patron, to executions, beheadings, fires, weddings, parties, bullfights, wars, coronations, etc.
In 1848 Mesonero Romanos requested the transfer of the statue of Felipe III to the Plaza Mayor, where it is today.
Path Of The Trail. A Castizo Walk
Toledo Street comes out of the Plaza Mayor, down which we go down until 150 meters on the left, where we continue to reach the Plaza de Cascorro where El Rastro begins.
Needless to say, on the way you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the shops that you will be encountering along the way. El Rastro begins at the junction of Calle de San Millan and Plaza de Cascorro.
If instead of going down the Calle de los Estudios you continue on Calle Toledo, on the left is Calle de Las Maldonadas, where El Rastro also starts. El Rastro exists since the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century. It is not very clear why the name of the Trail, although there are two theories that have the most weight.
Do You Know What Does “The Trace” Mean?
The first is that slaughterhouses and tanners or tanneries were located in this place, and due to the trace of blood left by the cattle when slaughtered, this area was called El Rastro. On the other hand, according to the RAE, Rastro means slaughterhouse or “place that was destined in the populations to sell in certain days of the week the meat wholesale”.
The Rastro ended up being a market in which everything was sold and sold, from antiques, to second-hand goods, new things, fakes or as Mesonero Romanos says “it is the central market where all the utensils, furniture, clothes and junk damaged by time, punished by fortune or stolen by the ingenuity of their rightful owners “.
Enjoy walking between the stalls, and watching the merchants and customers. When you go down the Ribera de Curtidores, you will see a sea of people, and walking becomes difficult, I recommend that you go through some of the neighboring streets on the right or the left, they are the streets of the antique shops and they deserve more than the own Ribera de Curtidores where the positions are all the same and sell the same things.
And so you go down the Ribera de Curtidores until the Ronda de Toledo, turn left towards the Plaza de Embajadores. From the Plaza de Embajadores comes the Ronda de Valencia, which is where you started today’s route.
It is surely a very good time to take something if you have not already done so. There are many terraces in the area or you can go back to the Lavapiés neighborhood where there are also many terraces and restaurants where you can eat or have a drink.
I let you rest for today and enjoy Madrid!
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