The long history of Madrid told briefly

Do you have 3 minutes? Read the long history of Madrid told as a brief tale.


For a long time, Madrid pretended to have had a mythical prestigious Roman origin. BuT the truth is that the Romans only established some farms, a few country-houses and an inn in today’s Madrid town soil.


The Emir (prince) of Córdoba, Mohammed I (850-866 AD), chose Madrid to build a fortress defending Toledo from the Northern Christian kings. Two centuries later, the small Muslim fortress (Mayrit) was conquered by Christian King Alfonso VI of Castille in 1085 AD.


Charles V, Emperor of Germany and King of Spain had a secret preference for the tiny town of Madrid, because of the richness of its hunting grounds. He reformed the old Arab fortress and the Palace of El Pardo to spend as much time as possible in Madrid, while important civil servants bought or built houses in town.


Philip II looked for a permanent capital in the center of Spain, far from Spanish many enemies. He finally chose Madrid against Toledo, Segovia or Avila probably because the city didn’t have any Archbishop and because the city was loyal to the Emperor during the Communal War. The fact is that the small town grew into a big capital where political leaders, civil servants and diplomats made their best for Spain to remain the World hegemonic power, while writers such as Cervantes and artists such as Velázquez came to Madrid to earn their life and gain recognition from their contemporaries.


When the new dynasty, the Bourbons, was raised to the throne, Spain was no longer the hegemonic power in Europe. Nevertheless, they desperately tried to recover their former position through ambitious economic and administrative reforms. Accordingly, Madrid was transformed into a more efficient capital and embellished as instrument of Spain’s “new image”.


In 1808, Madrid was occupied by Napoleon’s troops. That was the cruelest evidence of Spain’s extreme decadence: the city had never been invaded by a foreign Army before. Popular revolt started in Madrid. It was soon crashed, but it stimulated uprisings everywhere, ultimately regaining independence with the help of Wellington after a five years War against the French. One of the consequences of this long War was exhausted Spain being unable to prevent the Independence of Hispanic America.


Ruined by the Napoleonic and American Wars, Spain was suddenly a poor country, economically backwards, without prestige or influence abroad. Madrid’s Royal Palace and Royal Theatre were the playground of the decadent court of Monarchs who had even lost grip of domestic policy. Meanwhile, the Senate, the Congress, the military barracks and the cafés in Madrid were the scenario of political life during Spanish long march to democracy.


In 1931, The Republic was proclaimed in Madrid, among massive demostrations of joy. Five years later, the hope of general welfare turned sour, the government was unable to control right-wing and left-wing extremists and violence took the front-page of all newspapers. A military coup backed by monarchists and fascists failed to bring down the Republic government in a few days: a 3-years-long Civil War started. Madrid will be in the hands of the Republic to the very end of the War. Being just a few miles away from the front, it would suffer heavy bombing and extreme shortage, while fierce repression by leftists against their right-wing neighbours reproduced right-wing terror against left-wing supporters on the other side of the line.

Madrid under Franco (1939-1975)

Repression (in the opposite direction) and shortage (because of international isolation) went on when Franco’s nationalist forces entered the capital. Since the mid ’50s, a certain political softening allowed foreign aid to come and a progressive economical development was soon translated in fast urban expansion of the capital. Social transformation took place inevitably in the streets with avid emulation of lifestyles seen abroad or brought home by a growing number of foreign tourists.​

Madrid free (Since 1975)

The end of Franco’s regime allowed democracy to spring in Spain, while Madrid burst in frenetic political, social and cultural activity. Madrid’s day-and-night vitality and hedonism astonishes visitors. Artistic creativity animated specially the channels of massive popular culture: photography, cinema and music, out of which new names, such as Pedro Almodóvar, won international recognition. Nowadays, Madrilenian creativity continues to cross borders, and travelers who visit us are pleased to discover Madrid’s vitality at any hour of the day or night, the tolerant character of the city, and the commitment to become a modern capital, with Madrid Río and Madrid Central as the most ambitious and emblematic projects

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Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas3 weeks ago
A la exposición "Las artes del metal en Al-Ándalus" sólo le queda una semana más en el Museo Arqueológico Nacional. Leed en nuestro blog las razones por las que creemos que no os la debéis perder:
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas3 weeks ago
Madrid Original regresa de sus vacaciones, justo a tiempo para despedir la exposición Rembrandt del Museo Thyssen. Acaba este domingo 30 de agosto, aunque sólo quedan tramos para visitas guiadas mañana viernes. ¿Cuántas veces vamos a poder contemplar tantos Rembrandt tan relajadamente como en la foto de esta mañana?
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas2 months ago
Si este mes de agosto os apetece regalar o regalaros una visita guiada privada, la exposición Rodin-Giacometti en la Fundación MAPFRE es de las que gusta a todo el mundo. ¡nos encantará guiaros!
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas3 months ago

Esperamos que estéis todos bien, y que el verano nos traiga a todos energía renovada.

Esta semana retomamos los paseos guiados.

Queremos revisitar Madrid con vosotros, volver a encontrarnos con nuestra ciudad, recorrer con emoción las calles, plazas y rincones que son el escenario de nuestras vidas. Queremos contaros esas historias de nuestra ciudad que siguen sorprendiendo… ¡a los propios madrileños!

¡Madrid nos espera!
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas6 months ago
La Fundación Juan March estrena exposición: “Los irascibles: pintores contra el Museo. Nueva York, 1950”.

Rothko, Motherwell, Pollock, Clyfford Still y con ellos hasta 18 artistas americanos se rebelaron contra el Metropolitan Museum de Nueva York en el año 1950, al considerar que el gusto del museo estaba anclado al pasado.

Una exposición con un planteamiento muy original, para adentrarnos desde un ángulo nuevo al expresionismo abstracto americano.
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas
Madrid Original - Visitas guiadas6 months ago
El Museo de San Telmo de San Sebastián presta al Museo Lázaro Galdiano una bella tabla de Jan Metsys: "Susana y los viejos". Jan Metsys nos ofrece aquí un excelente ejemplo de la introducción de tendencias italianas en la pintura flamenca de la primera mitad del siglo XVI. Un motivo más para revisitar el Museo Lázaro Galdiano.
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