Cibeles and CentroCentro Madrid of course!

And back at you again, bear with me please. This is Madrid! The subject today has many changes over the years, and one that I came to know early for not only the post office function but also to make long distance phone calls while in my Madrid of the early 70’s to the USA! Long story need to read my blog more lol!

The Palacio de Comunicaciones or central post office or the Palacio de Cibeles well you will get the idea. This is a Madrid landmark and will tell you a bit more on it that is already told in my previous posts!

 

The Cibeles Palace (also called the Telecommunications Palace) or Palacio de Cibeles or CentroCentro  is a complex consisting of two white-fronted buildings. They stand on one side of the Plaza de Cibeles in the Jerónimos neighborhood , district of Retiro, and occupy around 30,000 square meters of what were the former Buen Retiro gardens (Jardines del Buen Retiro). The building consists of five floors in total. The block in which the Palace building is located is limited to the North with Calle de Alcalá, to the South by Calle Montalbán , to the East by Calle Alfonso XII  and to the West by Paseo del Prado. You get here on metro line 2 Banco de Espana!

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A bit of history I like

The building’s first stone was laid in 1907 and it would be officially inaugurated on March 14, 1919, beginning its operation as a modern distribution center for mails, telegraphs and telephones. In 2007, it began to house the municipal offices of the Madrid City Council, moving its units from the Casa de la Villa and Casa de Cisneros, both located in the Plaza de la Villa. This reform of the early 21C in the building also included a cultural area called “CentroCentro”.

At noon on March 14, 1919, after twelve years of construction work, the one officially called “Cathedral of Communications” is officially inaugurated. The royal couple attends the celebration king  Alfonso XIII and his wife Victoria Eugenia, accompanied by various components of the government.

A bit on the architecture ok

One of the characteristic elements of the environment was the installation of the Cibeles fountain in 1794  designed  of Ventura Rodríguez right in front!. The current Plaza de Cibeles was called Plaza de Madrid, which was renamed Plaza de Castelar. The Buen Retiro gardens reached their extension to the Paseo del Prado. The inaugurations of the Jardines del Buen Retiro in 1876 and the Hippodrome de la Castellana two years later caused the traffic to travel to the confluence of the street of or Calle de Alcalá with the Paseo del Prado.

The main access gives rise to the Hall Principal or main hall, a large space in the heart of the Cibeles building in the form of a lobby. In this Hall Principal  the three communications services were arranged, distributed radially trilobite from the central dome, integrated in the Hall Principal  illuminated by the exterior windows. The natural lighting coming from the windows, instead of being artificial, allows saving while facilitating work inside. To the right of the entrance are the postal services, in the telegraph entry and in the left one, the telephone service. All services were in the same space: the Hall Principal. The set is divided into two buildings separated by the Pasaje de Alarcón passage , which is currently covered by glass vaults. The building that overlooks the Plaza de Cibeles is the Post Office, Telegraph and Telephone Central. The other building after the passage of Alarcon is the General Directorate. The mailboxes are arranged in a section located to the right of the Central Post Office, behind a porch. In this building a large mail room aka Sala de Batalla or battle room  with space for 400 postmen was arranged. In the Pasaje de Alarcón there was a distribution truck parking lot. The radial structure of telegraphic communications and its operation during 24 hours allows its use at any time. The telephone service area had twelve telephone booths for public service that allowed sufficient independence and isolation. In the General Directorate building, the administration of Telegraphs by Calle de Alcalá and Correos or post office by the Paseo del Prado is distributed. The design includes important technical improvements of the time such as the low pressure steam heating system, and natural ventilation systems.

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The new era of the Palacio de Cibeles as CentroCentro!

The Palacio de Comunicaciones or Communication palace becomes at the beginning of the 21C the new headquarters of the Madrid City Council and, in doing so, changes its name to Palacio de Cibeles. In 2003 it was decided that some functional areas of the building be transformed. This is the case of the sala de batallas or battle room, which is modified as in the Plenary Hall. On November 5, 2007, hosts the headquarters of the Mayor’s Office of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón being the first mayor of Madrid to occupy his position in that building . On November 29, 2011, the inauguration of the Plenary Hall of the building takes place with the presence of King Juan Carlos I and Mayor Alberto Ruiz- Gallardón.

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Now it opens the possibility of accessing the central tower of about 70 meters on floor no 8  that is opened to the public , and use it as a mirador or lookout of the city for 3€ .In the courtyard, at both ends, two social areas have been created, dedicated to citizen information and a reading room. There is now an exhibition space called CentroCentro, this space is incorporated with a couple of exhibition halls and an auditorium with capacity for a little more than three hundred people. In the central tower there is a huge electric clock face of about three meters in diameter that lights up at night ,and officially replacing the Puerta del Sol clock.

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Some webpages to help plan your trip here are

City of Madrid main webpage in Spanish

Official CentroCentro cultural program in English

Tourist office of Madrid on CentroCentro

And there you go another dandy and by now very much visited by all, it was packed! CentroCentro is very nice,and the lookout or mirador is a nice alternative at least once to see the city from above its tower at 70 meters or about 231 feet. Enjoy it as we did

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And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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