Archive for May 17th, 2011

May 17, 2011

Some news from Spain VIII

Well here I am ready to go out but not without letting you know a bit of my old street Calle Alcala in Madrid.  Temps there will be from 9° to 25°C in the next few days.

I lived right on Calle Alcala for four years, it was magical, times never to be forgotten. It is with nostalgia and pleasure that I will tell you some bits of history and things to see right on it.

First you have the magnificent Real Casa de la Aduana (Royal customs house) at no 5,7,9,and 11. Built in 1645 on the Léña now call Calle de la Bolsa. It was in 1761-1769  that king Charles III ordered Sabatini to built the one on Alcala street. It was dotted with 3 huge patios of which 2 were made apart by a huge hallway that linked with a star of two tears and had large rooms that later served as warehouse . In 1848 the ministry of Hacienda ( treasury) . In 1944 new additions were done, and as of today the Treasury dept of Spain is still there.

The Palacio de la Equitativa or Banco Español de Credito at Calle Alcala no 14. Banks were growing in Spain and by the 1882-1891 right around Calle Alcalá  and Calle  Sevilla, it was built the Sociedad de Seguros La Equitativa (insurance company la equitativa or equitable) .  It went thru several occupants until 1910 it was housing the dependancies of the Casino de Madrid; later it housed the Embassy of Japan , and finally the seat of the  Círculo de Bellas Artes until its transfer to the new building in Calle Alcala. then in 1920 it was the  Banco Español de Crédito .

Casino de Madrid, calle Alcala 15, it opens its door in January 16,1837 at Calle de la Visitación no 7,and rooms adjacing to the Café del Sólito. In 1840 it was translated again to calle del Príncipe,next to  Teatro de la Comedia. Then it was moved to the corner of calle de Alcalá and Calle Sevilla in the same building as the  Café Suizo. Shortly afterward razed to built the building of the Banco de Bilbao. The casino was moved again in 1891 to a building at the corner of the before mentioned Sociedad de Seguros La Equitativa, at the same area. in 1903 the company of the Casino bought land to the  Veloz Club at Calle Alcalá 15, and on 1905 the construction of the new Casino was begun.

Banco de Bilbao, Calle Alcala no 16 corner with Calle Sevilla.  Built from 1919-1923. Banco Central built in 1925 at Calle Alcala 49. Banco Mercantil Industrial at Calle Alcala 39 built 1933-1945. Banco de Vizcaya, Calle Alcala 45 where it was once a convent or  Convento de San Hermenegildo, built between  1733-1742 , then Teatro Apollo in 1873 to 1929, here the most famous zarzuelas and opera plays of Madrid were first shown such as La verbena de la Paloma, La revoltosa, Doña Francisquita, that gave it the name of Cathedral of the small genre.  The new buiilding dates from  between 1931-1934.

Edifico de La Union y Fenix Español at Calle Alcala,23 next to the church of Calatravas, and the building done from 1928-1930.  The tower is shown with an ave Fenix or a bird fenix on top, and has American building characteristics such as glass in its concrete design.

The Casa del  Párroco de San José  at  Calle de Alcalá, 41  corner with Calle del Marqués de Valdeiglesias. Built between 1910-1912.  To give a line to the new Gran Via that was to be built. Part of the church of same name.

Perhaps the most famous building of all is the Metropolis at Calle Alcala 39. The insurance company La Unión and the Fénix made a contest to Spanish and French architects for the building of its head office. They had acquired land between the Calle Alcala and Calle  Caballero de GraciaThe French team won the contest and building began in 1907 with a Spanish architect finishing them in 1910.  It is beautifully done with a tower or  torreón,in which second floor has a wonderful rotonda of pairs of corinthian columns holding a third floor decorated with statues and artistics designs.The dome  was crowned by a ave fenix that represented the company that owned the building but in 1975 a new company replaced it with victory symbol.

Teatro Alcazar, Calle Alcala  20 built in 1921, in 1924 it is shown the work of Madame Pompadour, and from 1940 its a cinema. (the one I went the most in my youth) . Nuevo Teatro Alcala, Calle Jorge Juan 62 ,corner with Calle Alcala, done in 1925 and it was here that the theatrical work of Jesus Christ Superstar was first shown in Spain. Today it serves as a cabaret with very modern equipement.

The Aguirre School at Calle Alcala 62, built from 1881-1886 , by 1911 the school stop, and today it has out offices of the Mayor of Madrid, mostly for statistical information departments.  Real Academia de Bellas Artes, Calle Alcala 13. modeled after other fine arts academies in Europe king Felipe V (born in Versailles and grandson of  FRench king Louis XIV) founded the one in Madrid in 1744. king Charles III, transfer the academy to its present location in 1773. In 1873, during the First Republic it took the royal out of it calling it  Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, and when the royal restauration of king Alfonso XII it change the name to the one today as Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.  However ,the building was built in 1725.

Some building to note in addition to those mentioned in my previous posts here in paris1972.

One eternal favorite and old standing now gone  is the  El Parnasillo, Calle Principe 33  at the Cafe del Principe, next to Teatro Español , the site of gatherings of some of Spain literary gentiles from 1829. Some of the names you might recall are José de Espronceda, Ventura de la Vega, Patricio de la Escosura, Mariano José de Larra, Ramón Mesonero Romanos, Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch, José Zorrilla, Enrique Gil y Carrasco,Fermín Caballero, Bravo Murillo, Juan Donoso Cortés,Madrazo, Rivera, Villamil,  and the theater entreprenur Juan Grimald amongst many more. Today you can continue this tradition at Cafe El Parnasillo, Calle San Andres 33 ,no web ,Tel +34  91 447 00 79 ;almost corner with Calle de Carranza at metro Bilbao ,lines 1 and 4.

The market of San Anton ,in the popular district of Chueca has reopened after four years of renovations. 38 stands now offering anything from flowers to fish to meats. parking for 80 cars, and even a supermarket.  Located between the streets of  Barbieri and Augusto Figueroa near Plaza de Chueca and metro Chueca. line 5.

There is one more game remaining in the Spanish Liga, with Real Madrid vs Almeria and Barcelona vs Malaga in week 38 and last. the Liga has been decided in favor of Barcelona, but but Real Madrid has shown some good vibes finally. The Liga will end only four points behind, the Champions we went this time to the semifinals before been robbed, and the Kings cup was won against the same cules, so all in all , its a good year under wonderful new coash Mourinho of Portugal. Muito obrigado.

And lastly, wont be surprise to hear nonsense coming out of Spain especially the Madrid area where elections are heating up and canditates use all form of tourist or cultural mediums to tell their broken stories of old.  The show is in the huge demonstration been carry out at Puerta del Sol by many young people tired of the same routine and no jobs, etc  etc. chao por ahora.

Hasta pronto. cheers

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