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!

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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.

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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”.

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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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