Archive for September 1st, 2017

September 1, 2017

Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid

Another highlight building passed many times and even played at Plaza Colon since youth is the Biblioteca Nacional de España or National Library of Spain ,right on Paseo de Recoletos just below the Plaza Colon.

The official webpage is here:

To read the books here you need a batch and authorization but there is plenty of areas where you can have a guided tour. The Exhibition Rooms and the Library Museum, where various exhibitions and cultural activities are held, are open to all.

The library was founded by King Philip (Felipe) V of Spain in 1712 as the Palace Public Library (Biblioteca Pública de Palacio). All publications done in Spain needed to deposit a copy here first. In 1836, the library’s status as Crown property was revoked and ownership was transferred to the Ministry of Governance (Ministerio de la Gobernación). At the same time, it was renamed the Biblioteca Nacional.

The collections started with the king Felipe IV and V, and continue with requisition of others losers in the wars of succession and other private donations by nobles. By 1761, the library starts printing books and manuscripts as well. It continues to add books by taken over the closed out convents and private collections due to wars or disputes, and the Court of Cadiz in 1814. In 1836 the Royal Library change name to the National Library.

The library due to wars and conflicts changes place several times. First, in  1809,under the occupation of Joseph Bonaparte it is located at the Convent of the Order of Trinitarians in calle Atocha. By 1819, it changes place again,  and is located a the Council where the sessions of the admiralty are held to avoid reclamation of rights by the Trinitarians after the return to power of king Fernando VII. Again, in 1826 it moved again to the old residence of the Marquis of Alcañices during the 19C , in what it is today the Calle Arrieta.

In 1866 the Queen Isabel II throws the first stone to the building Archieves Palace, library and museum at the Paseo de Recoletos site. The building is finally done in 1892, and it is open to the public in 1896.

By the law of 1901, the library takes charge of all libraries in Spain. By 1930, a national council is created to handle all matters of libraries in Spain.  During the Spanish Civil War, the library is closed and the precious cargo is taken to the Serranos Tower in the province of Valencia.

Advances and laws thereafter, the library suffered minimum if no damaged from the civil  war. By a Royal decree in 1985, all the different services and institution linked to publishing were integrated in the National Library , and the BNE  (Spanish National Library in Spanish form) is declare the superior library institution of the State and chief of the Spanish system of libraries! In 1996, the internet is open to the BNE! And since 1982, there is an additional site in Alcalà de Henares.

There are several rooms in the National Library including a open Museum which we took advantage this time. More on it from the tourist office of Madrid in English here:

The museum has free admission with different thematic areas and the Venezia expo going on right now.  More info on the vast information available is here:

More from the tourist office of Madrid on the museum here:

Just behind the Library is the Calle Serrano a chic fashion street that takes you to the Puerta de Alcalà gate, and crossing the street to the parque del buen Retiro park. Up street on Alcalà you can see the statue of Espartadero and onwards to my old living area in Calle Alcalà!

Enjoy the learning place of Spain, the National Library. Cheers!

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September 1, 2017

Basilica de Jesus de Medinaceli, Madrid

I have come by here several times over the years and taken some pictures but never enough and never a post. It is time this wonderful Church Basilica gets it’s worth from me. This is Madrid!

The Basilica de Jésus de Medinaceli is located at the Plaza de Jésus near the Westin Palace Hotel and the wonderful Cerveceria Cervantes and other spots in my previous posts.

This is one of five basilicas in Madrid, and is located on the site of the previous Convento de Trinitarios Descalzos de Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación ( convent of the barefoot Trinitarian of Our Lady of the Incarnation b. 1606) . It is ,also, the seat of the order of the Archicofradia Primaria de la Real e Ilustre Esclavitud de Nuestro Padre Jésus Nazareno de Medinaceli; b. 1710 , and given status in 1928 by Pope Pius XI; yes it is long ::) the fraternity of the Jesus of Nazareth for short.

The Church was consecrated in 1930, designated parish in 1966, and raise to Basilica minor by the Pope Paul VI in 1973. The current Basilica has three nave with the larger one in the middle, all done in a baroque style. There is a statue of Jesus of Nazareth in the corner of the building facing the street.

The main webpage for it in Spanish is here:

The tourist office of Madrid has a bit on it in English here:

A must see is the Christ of Medinaceli done in the 17C with brilliant workmanship of venerable artists from Seville (high altar photo). The Duke of Medinaceli built a chapel in  1689 in honor of the statue. After the war of Independence in Spain the Church was almost destroyed and the Duke’s mother decided to erect a Church first in 1890 from which the Church grew and now Basilica. The image almost did not survive the Spanish Civil War, and needed to be taken out of Spain, even to France; the survival of the icon, despite its difficulties, has augmented its veneration.

A very nice Church Basilica that is really beautiful in its chapels and statues inside very venerable and one of the most visited by Madrileños; it will be worth your detour. Enjoy the photos; cheers.

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September 1, 2017

And I came back home …Madrid is it again !!!

And I did came back home to my Madrid. Ever since living there in the early 70’s in another era ,and coming back for visits often enough to know it very well. Coming with my girlfriend now wife in 1990, and later with our boys in 2003, and continuing luckily every year since , Madrid is big in my world map.

I came back home to Madrid again. We drove from our base in the Serrania de Cuenca along the A40 and into the A3 by Tarancon, and then up to Atocha and then right into Paseo del Prado up to our favorite parking at Recoletos (paseo de Recoletos past Cibeles). This is a great spot for transports as there is metro nearby and many bus routes pass by here including the Airport Express Bus stop at Cibeles and a nice BiciMadrid bike rental station.

We were to meet an old friend from Tenerife that was there to see the SuperCup of Spain football/soccer match of our Real Madrid vs Barcelona (we won 2X0! Champions!!!) , and had lunch with him at Terrimundi restaurant calle lope de Vega, 32 up from Paseo del Prado, where we had our fish soup, and octopus Galician style, and red wine from Rioja, well just superb and great company just to start our day in full swing. More on this nice restaurant chosen by him here:

We needed just to walk this Madrid , the best way to see a city any city and Madrid is marvelous to walk it. We came around Atocha and up Paseo del Prado passing the famous museums of Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza , and the Botanical Garden. Reaching Cibeles fountain and the great CentroCentro or Palacio de Cibeles now the city hall and events congress; seeing again the wonderful building of Banco de España, Circulo de Bellas Artes, and the entrance to Retiro Park, as well as my beloved Puerta de Alcalà down Alcalà street!!! The great Metropoli building at Gran Via and Alcalà!

The paying a thirsty return to Cerveceria Cervantes in Plaza de Jesus, and the visit to the house museum of Cervantes on Lope de Vega as well as the unique building of the Church Santas Eucaristas in same street, and further on the La Fàbrica with its famous souvenirs glasses of the great Mahou beers of Madrid, corner of Calle Jesus, and Lope de Vega.   The historical Fuente de Neptuno of the opposing team ::) by Plaza de la Lealtad. The nice building of the Real Academia de Historia (Royal academy of history) at Calle Léon.

The always wonderful Casa America, showing the best of Latin America and Spain links.  The helios horses status on top of the building Abanco in Paseo de Recoletos , visiting the Westin Palace Hotel ,the Congreso de Diputados (parliament) , the great Statue of Cervantes in Plaza de las Cortes across the street, the unique Plus Ultra Seguros insurance building next to the hotel with the figurines coming out and playing a tune at hour intervals just a nice touch, and had a light snack of small sandwiches or montaditos in the 100 Montaditos restaurant just across from the hotel; more on them here:

Visiting again the wonderful Plaza de Colon, with it’s underground centro cultural de la villa( a cultural center with restaurant underground) , the wax museum and the nostalgic Fénix hotel at calle Hermosilla, 2(today part of Mélia group) but we stayed there when visit the city in 1990 with my then girlfriend, today wife! We didn’t realized how expensive the hotel was and needed to share the cost (I try the macho effort to pay it all but it was veryyy expensive) lol!

Up the road in Castellana passing by the Plaza de Castilla and before that the great KIO twin towers leaning as if falling on you! The building of Nuevos Ministerios where normally I come in as others from the Adolfo Suarez Barajas airport on metro line 8. On our way out of the city from the north into the M30.

In all a wonderful day full of family memories, good company of friend, and well just walking these streets of Madrid is enough, already happy. Madrid to Heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!!! Well , I am lucky can still see on the ground at least once per year! You too will enjoy it , see all of Spain in one city, the whole Kingdom of Spain!

Enjoy the photos here as there is more to come. Cheers!

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