Archive for September 8th, 2019

September 8, 2019

Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid of course!

So why not the streets? or squares? of my beloved Madrid! We tend to come into a city and look for monuments etc I guess that is what most folks look at in your posts. However, for me the walking the streets of a city gives me the inspiration to soak in all its culture , see the architecture and know better its history. This is what I do and in Madrid is multiply.

It is really a walker’s town, and we did it again using the public transports sparingly we walk a lot all over , sometimes into the outskirts of the city. However, this time I will like to tell you about a wonderful spot to walk and stay in old Madrid, the Plaza de Santa Ana!


The Plaza de Santa Ana  is a trendy square where you can have a drink and taste some tapas in the many bars and restaurants that line it. The streets of Núñez-de-Arce, Prado or Principe can go to this pedestrian square. The Plaza de Santa Ana was built in 1810 on the initiative of King Jose I (Napoleon brother) . At that time, the Santa Ana Monastery stood at this location. It was destroyed to make way for the Plaza of the same name. This convent was destroyed during José Bonaparte’s time. But the square has not always been known under this name. It was previously named Plaza del Principe Alfonso.


Located in the heart of the so-called Barrio de las Letras, (sse my post on it) its space is delimited by the Calle Principe, to the east, Calle del Prado, to the south, giving only street numbers to its west and north flanks, where the Plaza del Ángel and the Calle Núñez de Arce ends.

This square is also surrounded by historical monuments, such as the Teatro Español, built in 1735. This theater, the oldest in Madrid and the most emblematic of the square, has hosted the plays of the greatest playwrights in the country.  The Plaza de Santa Ana square also has two statues representing great Spanish artists. One is in the image of Pedro Calderón de la Barca, a playwright who lived in the 17C. This statue was completed in 1879 and shown public in 1880 ; On whose base the symbols of Tragedy, Comedy and the Angel of Fame have been gathered, in addition to bas-reliefs with scenes of Life is a dream, the Mayor of Zalamea, the hidden and the cover and the Dance of Death. On the pedestal you can read: “Life is a dream, but not its glory”.


In front of the theater, fans can also admire the statue of Federico García Lorca, a poet and playwright who lived in the early 20C. He was killed during the Spanish Civil War by the Nationalists.  The statue is from 1986.

The Plaza de Santa Ana square is located in the space of the block that until 1810 occupied the church, monastery, gardens and orchards of the convent of the Barefoot Carmelite religious of Santa Ana, founded by San Juan de la Cruz in 1586, the project of the convent was the idea of Teresa de Jesús and the priory were managed by Ana de Jesús with religious from the Ocaña convent. The monastery church was not completed until 1611.

In 1860 it was baptized from the Plaza del Príncipe Alfonso, son of queen Isabel II, but eight years later, during the Democratic Sexenio, it took the name of Vice Admiral Topete. For the people of Madrid the name Plaza de Santa Ana, kept the name of the patron saint of the disappeared convent, although for some mayors it was the Plaza de la Cerveza or square of the beer!. Officially, the Second Spanish Republic, granted it in April 1933 the name it retains in the first quarter of the 21C as of today.

In 1925 it became the first pedestrian square in Madrid. In 2001, the structure of the parking lot and its accesses was renewed, which meant the loss of almost all the remaining gardens, leaving a colossal central corridor that occupies the square in its entirety today.

In this historic Plaza de Santa Ana it was notice the presence since the 16C of the comedy pens of La Pacheca ,circa 1568, and the Principe c.1582, and then Teatro del Príncipe c. 1745, and finally  Teatro Espanol since 1849. Today the Plaza de Santa Ana covers most of its surface with terraces. Among them, the Cerveceria Alemana, establishment of 1904, frequented throughout its history by officials of the American embassy, ​​bullfighters such as Luis Miguel Dominguín, or artists and writers such as Ernest Hemingway; or the cafeteria La Suiza founded in 1879 and famous for its leche merengada or meringue milk. Another unique establishment of the 1930s is the old flamenco tablao Villa Rosa, which retains a striking and valuable interior and exterior tile work. The Simeón Building occupied the site where the palace of the counts of Montijo and Teba used to be, built around 1811 and during its last period the headquarters of the Military Casino of Madrid built between 1919-1923, with an eclectic style and modernist touches, would make famous for being the luxurious inn of the most popular bullfighters, Manolete among them, who for some kind of superstition always reserved room number 406. In 1986 it became the Reina Victoria Hotel, named in honor of the wife of King Alfonso XIII.

Here there was a statue of Carlos V that was transferred to the Buen Retiro gardens in April 1826, passing to the royal collection, and still being preserved in the Prado Museum. On the water source of the Red de San Luis , there is no exact news of when it disappeared from the square, perhaps in the mid-1870s, when the pylon and plumbing were apparently used to place the small sculpture of the so-called  Fuente del Cisne or Swan fountain, that had been on the Paseo de la Castellana before.

There is no specific webpage for it of course, but I leave you for direction the English versions of the tourist office of Madrid and the Comunidad de Madrid region. Enjoy the Plaza de Santa Ana

Tourist office of Comunidad de Madrid on Madrid

Tourist office of Madrid

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


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September 8, 2019

Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid of course!

And while walking the narrow old streets of the Barrio de las Letras (neighborhood of muses or letters) ,I came upon a building had heard but never bothered to stop by. It is the recipient of the history of Spain which complicated as it is, has its detractors and accusations of favoritism on certain figures of our history. Nevertheless, it is interesting piece of architecture and history of my beloved Spain and my lovely Madrid.

I like to tell you a bit on it and keep as a memory in my blog. The Real Academia de la History or the Royal Academy of History in Madrid!

The Real Academia de la Historia is an institution in charge of the study of the History of Spain, «ancient and modern, political, civil, ecclesiastical, military, science, literature and arts, that is, of the various branches of life, civilization and culture of the Spanish peoples ».


Subsequently, they transferred their gatherings to the halls of the newly created Real Biblioteca (royal library) and requested the protection of King Felipe V, who granted it by officially creating the Royal Academy of History on April 18, 1738, and approving its statutes by Royal Decree on June 17 of the same year, where it was established that the purpose of the Academy was to clarify “the important truth of the events, banishing the fables introduced by ignorance or malice, leading to the knowledge of many things that obscured in antiquity or buried carelessness”. Since then, the Academy enjoyed royal protection like the other similar corporations, an institutional link that endures, being His Majesty the Patron King of all the Royal Academy created , all of them, from the illustrated action that, in the 18C, culminated in the foundation of the three oldest: Spanish, History and Fine Arts of San Fernando.


In 1785, king Carlos III ordered its transfer to the Casa de la Panadería, in the Plaza Mayor, where the library of the Royal Academy of History was already located since 1775. In 1836, the Mendizábal government granted the Academy large number of codices, documents and books, in addition to the mansion called Nuevo Rezado at Calle del León, no. 21, which had belonged to the Jeronimos monks of El Escorial until the confiscation of the assets of the religious orders, where they moved officially by Royal Order of July 23, 1837, although in practice it would not be transferred to the new location  until 1874.

Since January 1, 1938, date of its creation, it is part of the Institute of Spain. The palace of the Marquis de Molins and a small house on Calle de las Huertas were annexed in 1974 to the Nuevo Rezado house, thus completing the whole block between León, Huertas, Amor de Dios and Santa María streets. As it is today.

The official webpage in Spanish is here: Official Real Academia de la History in Madrid

And they publish a webpage where they say you can find all the personages of the history of Spain (however I try some who were not ::)) call the Diccionario Biografico Espanol or the Spanish Biographical Dictionary. Webpage here: Official Spanish Dictionary Biographical

There you go another off the beaten path trivial architecture and historical spot in my old lovely Madrid. Worth the detour if only to see the quant streets of this neighborhood. Hope you enjoy it as we did!

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

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September 8, 2019

Cinema and Theater, Madrid!!!

The cultural offering in Madrid is awesome on all levels not just the museum triangle; it is all over the city. There is no day that goes by without an opportunity to see something different for the night owls of the arts and cinema. Cinema is a craze for us we love it and go to them in force even in the times of digital techno advances.

Madrid has kept some of its jewels going on for years with great efforts and to be worthy of recogntion; we need to protect our cultural heritage or patrimonio cultural.  I have been to them at least once especially the cinemas and even thus time not permitted to see functions in them this time, I like to give them credit for what they are , a cultural wonderful part of my beloved Madrid.

The following are those still standing from my youthful time there and worth visiting; Cine Dore, Cine Ideal and Teatro Calderon!

The Cine Dore is a movie theater since 1923. Since 1989, it houses the Filmoteca Española official screening rooms, organizes conferences, distributes old and foreign films in its original version and has a specialized bookshop. The Spanish Cinematheque or Filmoteca Española is an institution of the Spanish Ministry of Culture responsible for the preservation of Spanish film heritage. Its mission is to recover research and preserve the film heritage and promote it.

The Cine Dore was inaugurated on 19 December 1912 at Calle Santa Isabel , No. 3, behind  the Plaza Antón Martin, at the back of the Parish Church of St. Salvador and San Nicholas. It could accommodate up to 1,250 spectators and included a ground floor, two upper floors, a garden and a smoking lounge.

The existence of the Cine Dore was called into question by the decline of the district of Anton Martin, which ended up losing its main functions and was reduced to a set of services: markets, cinema, etc. From the 1930s, the Cine Doré became a room where success was repeated, with 2 daily sessions. Until its closure in 1963, it was a neighborhood cinema, better known as “Palacio de las Pipas” or palace of the smoking pipes.

In 1982, the Madrid City Council decided to acquire the Cine Dore as a building of architectural and environmental interest to be conserved. After its purchase by the Madrid City Council and the signing of a transfer agreement to the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the Cine Doré is chosen to serve as a permanent location for screenings of the Spanish Cinematheque.

More info in Spanish from the ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain here: Offical Culture and Sports Ministry of Spain on the Cine Dore of Madrid


The Cine Ideal , officially Yelmo Cines Ideal, is located in the Calle del Doctor Cortezo, near the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente. It is one of the oldest cinemas with permanent character of the Spanish capital. It was inaugurated on May 10, 1916. However, its current appearance hardly remembers the original. It had capacity for almost three thousand spectators. The neighboring Teatro Calderón (see below) had not yet been inaugurated, which it would do a year later

In 1932 the Cine Ideal was adapted to perform theatrical performances, specializing in zarzuelas and musical shows. Unfortunately, over the decades, the one that was presented in 1916 as “the most modern coliseum in Madrid” ended up declining and presenting symptoms of ruin. It’s last years were spent programming night marathons of fantasy and horror movies.

In 1990 the Cine Ideal  was acquired by the company Yelmo Cines, which completely reformed it to transform it into a complex of eight mini salons with a another one opened in 1996, specialized in the original version. It retains beautiful stained glass windows, restored in 2002, attributed to the Maumejean factory. It is an allegory of the cinema, in the form of a mysterious person who rests his face on a lit projector, flanked by peacocks and garlands.

The programming of movies is here in Spanish: Official Yelmo Cines on Cine Ideal Madrid


The Teatro Calderón (theater) is located at Calle de Atocha no 18 , just in front of Plaza Jacinto Benavente. On June 18, 1917, the Odeón Theater was inaugurated, today known as Calderón. It is surely one of the most beautiful buildings in the center of Madrid, both for its exterior architecture and for interior decoration. Good to take a peek if open for the decorations if no time for a program, we were passing by with the boys.

It has capacity for more than a thousand spectators. It occupies part of the site of the former Convent of the Trinitarios Calzados (footed Trinitarians). A year after its inauguration, it was transferred to the Centro de Hijos de Madrid (center of Sons of Madrid), and began to be known as Teatro del Centro (theater of the Center). It changed its  owner and name again in 1927. Being owned by the Duke of the Infantado, it finally became the Teatro Calderón.

Because of its great capacity, rather than the technical conditions of the stage,the Teatro Calderon has been a theater for lyrical shows for almost all its history. During the Second Republic it was an opera house and after the Spanish Civil War it was the favorite scene of the zarzuela lyric artists. The zarzuela has also been an intermittent constant of its programming. It also hosted the Madrid Symphony Orchestra. In recent years, it regularly programs large national and international musical shows. In 2012, the Caser Calderón Theater was renamed, by the Caser insurance company (its current owners).

Official Teatro Calderon

Tourist office of Madrid on the Teatro Calderon


And once again some marvels of my Madrid to enjoy its cultural side with the whole family. Hope you enjoy the trio of Dore, Ideal and Calderon, for me memories forever and hoping they do keep opens for eternity!

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



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