Archive for January 10th, 2022

January 10, 2022

The Centro Cultural Conde Duque of Madrid!!

And I am back in the neighborhoods of off the beaten path areas of my beloved Madrid. This is pretty well known building already but seldom visitors dare go to this real Madrid area, and they should. Let me tell you about the  Centro Cultural Conde Duque or the Cultural Center Count Duke of Madrid!!

The CondeDuque Contemporary Culture Center  Calle Conde Duque, 11. The metro lines that can get you there are Noviciado , and Plaza de España on lines 2, 3 and 10, San Bernardo on lines 2 and 4 and Ventura Rodríguez on line3, Several bus lines best the No 2. The Conde Duque is located in the heart of the Universidad neighborhood (belonging to the Centro district of Madrid), which is limited by the streets of Princesa, Gran Vía, Fuencarral, Carranza and Alberto Aguilera. The neighborhood gets its name from the Central University, opened in 1843 on Calle de San Bernardo, in the old Jesuit novitiate.


It was built in the early 18C (worked began in 1717 finished in 1730) to house the Royal Guards Corps. Two centuries (and two fires) later, the 58,000-square-meter barracks was on the brink of demolition due to its poor condition, but the insistence of the public to use it for public use managed to save it. The Royal Guards Corps barracks formed part of the optical telegraph communication system devised in Spain in the 19C. The telegraphy tower located in this barracks was number 1 of the Castilla Line that communicated Madrid with Irún. This tower communicated with the headquarters of the Royal Post Office at Puerta del Sol.

The current and reformed CondeDuque not only serves as a cultural container for the city, it also houses part of its history with the Villa Archive , the Historical Library, the Municipal Newspaper Library, the Musical Library and the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art.  It was intended for cultural and leisure activities for all audiences. Concerts, exhibitions, ferias or cinema cycles take place both indoors and in its large central patio. The Conde Duque center also has multi-purpose rooms, a theater and a modern reception hall.

Regarding its name, there have been different versions of the origin. On the basis of some writings of Mesonero Romanos from the 19C, the idea spread that it was due to the Count-Duke of Olivares, valid of King Felipe IV. However, another hypothesis indicates that this name comes from being based on the site of the previous palace of the Count of Aranda and Duke of Peñaranda. Other, more recent investigations suggest that the Conde Duque or Count-Duke in question would be the III Duke of Berwick y Liria, also Count of Lemos, who promoted the construction of the neighboring Palace of Liria, and whose family retained ownership of the barracks grounds until 1943. 

The official CondeDuque Cultural Center

The Madrid tourist office on the CondeDuque

There you go folks a dandy neighborhood of wonderful architecture in chic Madrid. This is right off Calle de la Princesa where we went walking to the Conde Duque. Hope you enjoy this bit of off the beaten path walk in my Madrid.

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

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January 10, 2022

The Capilla del Hospital del Niño Jesús of Madrid!!

Another dandy in my beloved Madrid that I passed by many times and visited with my dear late mother Gladys. The rest of the family eventually came on too and it is a memorable spot for me when in Madrid that thanksfully is very frequent . The fact that it is facing the marvelous Retiro park is a must to visit across the Menendez Pelayo street. Let me tell you a bit more on this off the beaten path monument of my Madrid, the Capilla del Hospital del Niño Jesús or the Chapel of the Hospital of the Child Jesus !!

The Capilla del Hospital del Niño Jesús or Chapel of the Hospital of the Child Jesus stands in the center of the hospital complex, on Calle Menéndez Pelayo,65, in front of the Retiro Park. It was built during the 19C, beginning the works on November 6, 1879 and finished at the beginning of December 1881, just when it was inaugurated. It was the first hospital in Spain dedicated exclusively to children. The Duchess of Santoña, Doña María Hernández y Espinosa, was the one who promoted the creation of it, a woman who made many trips abroad and had seen similar hospitals. After obtaining authorization and obtaining funds through donations on January 14, 1877, the first children’s hospital located in Calle Los Laureles was founded. In 1881 they moved to Calle Menéndez Pelayo, Its construction is in the Neo-Mudejar style, obtaining several gold medals in European exhibitions. The infirmary and the quartermaster of the center were put by the Duchess in the hands of the Daughters of Charity of San Vicente de Paúl, an institution present in Madrid since September 3 1800.


It is to be noted the fact that it was the headquarters of the Parish Church of San Vicente Ferrer from the 50s to the last quarter of the 20C, from then on, due to the poor condition of the building, the temple had to be closed and its parochiality transferred to the chapel. of the Gregorio Marañón Hospital, remaining closed for twenty years until it was reopened in 1997.

The Chapel of the Hosptial Child Jesus is located in the center of the hospital building, with a rectangular layout and is made up of a single nave. On the sides of the chapel there are two lateral towers for bell towers and in its center, there is a third that supports the chime of the electric clock that at the time gave the time of the entire hospital. In the upper part of the façade there are three niches. The central one, longer than it is wide, crowned by a rose window, has an image of the Child Jesus. Other two on the sides of the entrance door, one with an image of Saint Vincent de Paul with an infant and another with the Miraculous Virgin with a child in her hands. There is also a double staircase that facilitates the entrance to the temple that saves the height difference with the street separated by a fence. There are ten stained glass windows in the building, five on each side that give the interior a pleasant colorful light, made by the Casa Mayer, the artistic value of these windows deserved a public exhibition in January 1882 at the Real Academia de San Fernando. Its neo-Gothic interior in a single nave, has the choir on the upper floor, and communicates with the ground floor by a beautiful spiral staircase made of iron. This is connected by two galleries to the dependencies of the Community of the Sisters of the Daughters of Charity, where they used to stay.

In the center of the lower body, under a portal with a semicircular arch, is the main entrance flanked by two niches. The one on the left corresponds to the Miraculous Virgin and the one on the right, to Saint Vincent de Paul (founder of the Sisters of Charity) with an infant. In the upper body, there are three other niches, highlighting the central one with the figure of the Child Jesus. Above the latter and under the gabled roof, a glazed rose window appears which, together with the ten stained-glass windows in the building, five per side, gives its interior a pleasant color, especially on sunny days. Two bell towers on the sides and a central tower with an electric clock around which the hours of the hospital were adjusted, serve as the culmination of this unique façade. The High Altar is presided over by the Virgen de la Victoria, to whom the chapel is consecrated, with a background of golden lily flowers. The High Altar and the candelabra, both those arranged on both sides of the Virgin, and those on the foot, are made of gold-carved metal with floral motifs. Then there is a first marble balustrade, and a second one made of iron, like that of the upper corridors and the choir separating the Altar from the faithful. The pulpit, also neo-Gothic, is carved in wood and has a parapet with its horn. On the parapet there are paintings made on metal plates embedded in the wood where the four Latin Fathers of the Church appear. In the turntable, the central pinnacle stands out.

Very easy to find as across from the Retiro park on Calle Menendez Pelayo, 65. The metro line 6 stop Sainz de Baranda (my stop when on business trips); and the bus line 26  stop Hospital Niño Jesus.

The Comunidad de Madrid regional govt webpage on the hospital :

There you go folks a dandy beautiful chapel in a wonderful spot in my Madrid. Hope you enjoy the post and do visit it, worth the detour. The Capilla del Hospital del Niño Jesús is one more reason , Madrid is to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!

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

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January 10, 2022

The Spanish Air Force building in Madrid!

Ok there you go another dandy in the off the beaten path trail of my beloved Madrid. Ok you can visit the historical part with proper permission from the ministry or in a tour group like I did several years back. I always keep a souvenir picture and why not included in my blog for nostalgia’s sake. Therefore, here is my take on the Spanish Air Force building in Madrid!

The General Headquarters of the Air Force is located in the Argüelles neighborhood part of the Moncloa-Aravaca district in Madrid. It was in the middle of the 20C, between the period between 1939 and 1977, when it held a ministerial department in charge of civil and military aviation in Spain. At present it is a barracks HQ of the Spanish Air Force, since its disappearance as a ministry. It is a Neo-Herrerian style building. It is the headquarters of the Air Force and where the units of the Air Force Headquarters Group (ACGEA) and the Air Force Historical and Cultural Service (SHYCEA) are located.


A bit of history I like

In 1854 it is mentioned in the area of ​​the existence of the North Barracks of the Villa and Court of Madrid. The construction of the building in Moncloa has a certain significance for the moment in which it is done, at the end of the Spanish Civil War and taking advantage of the openings of a prolonged battle for almost two and a half years, At the beginning of the 20C, the area that the building will occupy is occupied in part by the Model Prison (sad stories). After the Coup d’état of July 1936, Madrid remains in the area loyal to the Spanish Republic (leftist govt), and soon becomes a military target of the rebel forces (Nationalist fascists). The advance to Madrid led to the Battle of the University City, this warlike confrontation in the heart of Moncloa, began the defense of Madrid with its front line being a few meters from the location of the current building. The projectiles and the intense bombardment of the area cause the Model Prison to be badly damaged. This was an important battle that finally surrended Madrid in the Spanish Civil War.

After the Spanish Civil War, it was decided to restore the Moncloa area and an urban project for the area was started. The area was known in those years as the Plaza de los Caídos or Fallen square of Madrid. This situation led to the choice of the Arguelles-Moncloa wasteland as the building site, which was the area of the great battle. Since 1940, different locations have been sought for the future building, and after various options the Moncloa site is chosen. The official inauguration of the construction with the laying of the first stone takes place on December 10, 1943. The Portico de Honor or Honor gate is built early 1953 when the work is in an advanced stage of construction , Although the building was not completely finished until 1958, by 1954 it was already fulfilling its mission.

It has 1,225 windows and 253 balconies and about 105 dormitories, In addition to the staircase of Honor, it has about ten stairs inside. The façade is made of exposed brick and the cladding is made of granite and limestone from Colmenar. The roofs are made of slate, on reinforced concrete slabs, terrazzo and marble floors in the Honor area. The building regularly shows a height of six stories, except for the four side towers that reach eight, The Portico de Honor is made up of four elegant granite half columns of the Tuscan style with three doors opening in the Portico. It is large in size and is inspired by the schemes of the El Escorial monastery and the Prado Museum. Made of granite and brick, its four corners are topped with tall square towers of eight stories each, and typically Madrid slate spiers. The bourse that forms a square is owned by the Madrid City Council. The rectangular floor plan of the building leaves inside a regular distribution of three large interior patios. The Central or also called Honor courtyard of 37 x 35 meters, where the windows of the noble rooms of the building go, while the other two are identical and 52 x 30 meters fulfill mere functional squares.

The Madrid tourist office on the Air Force HQ

The official Ministry of Defense on the Air Force HQ

There you go folks, you need to move away from the center to see this marvel of a building, near the Faro de Moncloa, Museum of the Americas etc (see posts). Hope you enjoy, the Ejercito del Aire or Air Force HQ, and get you to come to this part of my beloved Madrid.

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

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