Museo de San Isidro Madrid of course!

And again on the Madrid beautiful trail of our recent visit. In continuing my “education” with my 3 young men sons I passed them by many places even myself have not been to lately , several years. One of them was the super historical Museo de San Isidro or St Isidore’s museum; this will remedy my forgetfulness!

The San Isidro Museum, or of the Origins of Madrid, (Museo de San Isidro o Origenes de Madrid)  is a cultural institution of the Madrid City Council, located in the Plaza de San Andrés, 2. It was inaugurated on May 15, 2000. The permanent collection comes mostly from the disappeared Archaeological Institute and the Municipal Museum of Madrid. It shows the history of the city from prehistory to the establishment of the Court through archaeological pieces, models and engravings.

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The building, the so-called Casa de San Isidro, was a 16C palace, owned by the Lujanes family, built on the Vargas palace, masters of San Isidro Labrador (Patron Saint of Madrid) ,and Santa María de la Cabeza (his wife). Subsequently, the palace was occupied by the Apostolic Nuncio after the transfer of the Court to Madrid. Later, and until the 19C, the palace belonged to the counts of Paredes de Nava and, later, to the marquis of Peñafuente. In 1986 it was acquired by the Madrid City Council.

It has integrated original elements, such as the Chapel of San Isidro (built in the 16C in one of the places where tradition says that the saint lived and died), the well where the son of San Isidro felled , which was saved by the saint’s prayer, or the courtyard, with the shields of the Lujanes family.  The chapel was built in 1608, it was renovated in 1663 and then again between 1783 and 1789, when the current decoration dates back. The central oval represents the apotheosis of San Isidro, and in the vault of the nave two angels appear who hold a laurel wreath while two others present a band with the inscription: “I did dormivit in domino” (“Here he slept in the Lord” ), referring to the tradition according to which the saint died in this place. The altarpiece is from the 18C, painted wood imitating marble. A knitted arch houses a polychrome wooden sculpture that has been in the chapel since 1663. In addition to the well and the chapel, it is worth noting the reconstruction of the 16C Renaissance courtyard, which was dismantled by the ruin of the building, and that It has been rebuilt in part, being a unique piece next to the courtyard of the Imperial College on Calle de Toledo , with a very interesting perspective from its galleries, and a beautiful garden in the center.

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In walking and seeing the museum you go thru several sections. The first section you can see which animals lived around the Manzanares and Jarama rivers before the arrival of man. Elephants, mammoths, rhinos and other extinct or missing species inhabited this area. The remains of the first settlers, ancestors of our species, are shown. They were hunters and gatherers as evidenced by some of the tools found in Madrid’s archaeological sites.

The second section of the San Isidro Museum is dedicated to the foundation of the city and its evolution until in the 16C when king  Felipe II moved his court to Madrid. The foundation of Madrid by the Muslims had a military character. A watchtower and a wall were the starting point of what is now the capital of Spain. Some of the pieces on display are from that era, such as jugs and other everyday objects. You can also see what a house was like inside then.

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The third section of the Museum is dedicated to San Isidro itself. Here is the 17C Chapel, with an anonymous carving of the saint and the frescoes of Zacarías González Velázquez. In the sacristy you can know something about the life and miracles of San Isidro, which were many. In this part there is also the Well of the Miracle, star piece of the Museum. According to tradition, San Isidro saved his son from drowning , who had fallen into the well by accident. With his prayer he raised the water level to the brook to recover it.

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The Renaissance Courtyard of the House of the Counts of Paredes is preserved in very good condition Inside pieces of Madrid monuments are stored, such as the bear and the dragon that served as pipes in the Cibeles Fountain. The Archaeobotanical Garden shows an exhibition of documented plants in medieval Madrid. One of the sides is formed by the gothic apse of the Bishop’s Chapel.  The Visitable Warehouse, in the basement, is an outstanding curiosity of the Museum. Save a large number of archaeological pieces that do not fit in the main exhibition, but organized so that they can be visited. They are more than a thousand pieces organized by cultural periods and exhibited in showcases.

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In total 700 pieces are shown on the upper floors of the Museum and another 1,000 more in the basement’s visitable warehouse, of the total of more than 300,000 pieces of the museum funds!

Tourist office of Madrid on the San Isidro museum

City of Madrid monuments webpage : http://monumentamadrid.es/AM_Edificios4/AM_Edificios4_WEB/index.htm#ingra:inmana.03597

There you go another dandy you should not missed while in Madrid to soak in the history of the city of my best souvenirs, enjoy the Museo de Sain Isidro as we did. This is Madrid !

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

 

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