Matadero, Madrid of course!!

Well I am going to update this post from our last visit to Madrid in August of 2019. It is unique me think and need to tell you more about the Matadero or slaughterhouse lol! Oh yes they can be creative there too. I have to admit , when lived in the city it was not done, when if was finally done, my interest was not for it. As years went by and keep coming with the family I finally took my curiosity to see it with the boys. Therefore, here is the Matadero of Madrid!


This was not there when I lived in the city and over the years have become a magnet for cultural events and concerts. I will dwell into the Matadero of Madrid, a place the young as my sons enjoy much.  The Matadero and Municipal Cattle Market of Madrid, also known for its primary use during its period of operation and for its location as Municipal Slaughterhouse of Legazpi or Municipal Slaughterhouse of Arganzuela, was a set of forty-eight buildings dedicated to perform slaughterhouse functions industrial and livestock market in the city of Madrid during the central decades of the 20C!.


Initially it was bounded by the Paseo de la ChoperaCalle Vado de Santa Catalina, the canalization of the Manzanares River, and the Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza, in the district of Arganzuela. The land had twelve hectares of built surface with several buildings of Neomudéjar architecture typical of the industrial architecture of the transition from the 19C to the 20C. It was built at the beginning of the 20C in an area that was then depopulated in Madrid in response to the needs of the growing population of the city and as a replacement for the old slaughterhouse in Puerta de Toledo. Between 1932 and 1933, the construction of an additional building with functions of slaughterhouse of fowls and chickens.

At the beginning of the 1980s, it was decided to concentrate the functions of the complex in the south zone of the complex, and there was the remodeling and change of use of several of the dependencies that were left free in the north zone: the Pabellon de Direccion or adm bldg (known currently as Casa del Reloj,(see post) transformed into the seat of the Municipal Board of the district of Arganzuela); the old cattle stables, in which the permanent headquarters of the National Dance Company (CND) and the National Ballet of Spain were located; or the old cattle stable (later Nave de Patatas), which became a set of greenhouses that reproduce the climate of tropical and subtropical areas as the Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela (see post).

The Matadero or slaughterhouse was in operation for almost six decades until 1996, afterwar the facilities were left unused until in 2003 it was decided to transform it into a cultural space known as Matadero Madrid, which opened its doors in 2007. The underground of the M-30 beltway and the creation of the Madrid Río park also impacted on the environment of the old facilities, as the starting point was made in the plot of the Matadero park, which made disappeared the Dalieda (dahlias park). After the end of the works, all the land that had made up the Matadero Park was integrated into Madrid Río.(see post).

The proposals for alternative uses of the space were happening: Museum of Architecture, municipal libraries, multiplexes, shopping center, etc. In the 1990s, the old cattle stables were transformed into the headquarters of the National Ballet of Spain and the National Dance Company. The renovation and cultural transformation operations were linked within the so-called Baroque Trident formed by the Paseo de las Delicias, the Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza and the Ronda de Atocha  Initially 48 buildings were built on the grounds of the slaughterhouse and the market, which later increased to 64 in 1921. The materials used corresponded to those used in the monuments of Madrid: Berroque stone in plinths, exposed brick and masonry discovered abroad. The walls have the style of the Toledo rig typical of Castile. The style resembles the Werkbund  with clear traces of Neomudéjar style.  The inclusion in the middle of the year 2011 in the Madrid Rio Park makes the Matadero a Cultural Space within a park located on the banks of the Manzanares River between the Puente de los Franceses (Bridge of the French, we walked to it)  and the South Knot. The cultural space dedicates its facilities to temporary exhibitions, design and theatrical activity. These are:

Aves Matadero (birds), an institution born in March 2017 and whose artistic direction is a space in which the performing, visual arts, literature, philosophy, cinema, music and transmedia activities are interconnected in an interdisciplinary program. The theater section occupies three central warehouses lined with rectangular plan and interconnected with each other warehouses 10, 11 and 12.

Intermediæ and Lobby, this is a space created and prepared for open interaction and cultural dialogue between the cultural activities of the Matadero and citizens. It is an experimental center for contemporary creation funded in part by the General Directorate of Cultural Projects of the Community of Madrid. It is located on the right, as you enter, along the Paseo de la Chopera.

Central del Diseño (Design central). This is a space dedicated to the exhibition dissemination and promotion of projects related to graphic, industrial and interior design. Like Intermediæ, it opened in November 2007.

Factoria Cultural or Cultural Factory, It is a space dedicated to incubator of new companies: nursery of cultural and creative industries. It has its place in the warehouse 1 of Matadero that overlooks the Paseo de la Chopera, and its surface is  of about 400 m²


 Open x Works: It is located in the former cold chamber of the Matadero (slaughterhouse)  occupying part of the oreo warehouse, hangers and refrigerating section that overlooks the Paseo de la Chopera. This space presents an exhibition area with special features, black walls and low light, dedicated to national and international artists. It is in operation since 2007.

The Casa del Lector or House of the Reader of the Sánchez Ruipérez Foundation is an International Center for Research, Development and Innovation of Reading. It is a center located in the two warehouses whose purpose is the training, information and dissemination of the book and reading.

The Cineteca is a visual cinematheque  archive dedicated to non-fiction cinema. The 2688 m2 floor space of the Matadero Cineteca has been divided into five functions: two cinemas , a shooting set, and Documents Archive (the visual library), a cafeteria  and an adjacent terrace space that allows the possibility of film projections in the summer months. The Sala Azcona (named in honor of the Spanish screenwriter Rafael Azcona) is a movie theater with capacity for 250 spectators responsible for the dissemination of the work of Spanish and international filmmakers and television creators. This room is the one dedicated to the monthly premiere. A multipurpose room (Room B), with a capacity for 70 spectators, is located in the space around the Azcona Hall.


Nave de Música or music warehouse. This is the space occupied until November 2011 by the Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA Radio) and which since 2012 hosts all the musical programming of the Matadero. It has among its resources a radio and recording studio, a stage for small concerts, and nine rehearsal rooms.


Since the beginning of 2011, the Documenta Madrid archive has been installed in the area near the chimney. It allows to see any of the works sent to the festival in all its editions since 2004. Warehouse or nave 16 is a multipurpose exhibition space, with 5913 m2. Due to its versatility, it can host presentations, large exhibitions, concerts, work production workshops, talks, scenic proposals or social activities.

The official Matadero of Madrid webpage:

The Madrid tourist office on the Matadero

And this is another dandy of Madrid that for the culturally inclined or concert goer should be a must to visit while in Madrid, remember, the Matadero they don’t kill anymore but show off the world of Spain. Hope you enjoy it!

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

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