Madrid hides a lot of secrets, many of them are not known by the locals. Here are some of them:
El Rastro market is the best-known outdoor market in Madrid. The origin of its name is because, when some years ago, merchants and craftsmen dragged cows to tanneries leaving a “trail of blood”. In the beginning, tanners, bakers and stolen-goods salesmen worked there. In the nineteenth century, the first antique shops began to appear and stalls seling various objects such as coins or furniture.
Have you ever noticed the red building when you walked toward the Plaza Mayor? This is the “Posada del Peine,” or Inn of the Comb. Its story begins in 1610 when the father of a family decides to open a lodging place for travellers who were passing through Madrid. Every room had a comb, and it became a highly desired item. Customers kept taking the comb away with them as a souvenir so the innkeepers had to tie the comb with a rope to prevent its continuing disappearances.
If you walk around town you find grey and quiet people, do not be scared. Statues are tcreated by different authors who wanted to leave for posterity a bit of its history. In the Calle Mayor you can find the “Curious Neighbor”. This man is looking at a railing looking at the horizon.
The sweeper in Plaza de Jacinto Benavente takes sweeping relentlessly since 2011. It was commissioned by Mayor Alvarez Manzano to acknowledge the work of the sweepers of Madrid.
In El Retiro, hidden in the bushes, you can find a pixie. Its history dates back to the time of King Felipe V when couples of lovers went to the park in search of the elf because if they could see they would be lucky in love.
What does a fountain in the middle of the Opera Metro station? It’s called “Peral” and is the oldest in Madrid. It was part of the Arab baths that supplied water to the Royal Palace and was discovered while works were done at the Opera station in 1991.
If you walk through the Plaza de las Cortes at 12h or at 20h, the clocktower opens up and you will meet some nice figurines come out to the balcony. each of them is a statue of some iconic people of Madrid: Goya, the Duchess of Alba, bullfighter Pedro Romero, King Charles III and Manola, a typical woman in the city.
After reading this you know a little more of Madrid and have something to tell your friends from Madrid who certainly do not know ☺
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