Multiply Coronavirus infections have been reported in Madrid
The city is by European standards relatively new -it became capital only in 1561- but today Madrid spreads out all over the place. Fortunately, much of interest lies within the area that can be seen on foot. Check out Calle and Plaza Mayor (medieval Madrid) which is lined by beautiful buildings and the city’s oldest church San Nicolas de los Servitas (plan several hours for this section). Then go shopping at Calle Serrano and the Gran Via. Visit the Victory Arch the Palacio Real (the royal palace with its own art treasures and crown jewels) the Rastro Flea Market and the Plaza de las Cibeles and Puerta del Sol (the last two are major intersections with fountains monuments and shops).
Madrid is a museum goer’s paradise. Including the Royal Palace, it has 15 important museums, dozens of galleries and several private collections. See the section on the art walk for more details about the three famous museums in Madrid: the Prado, the Thyssen Bornemisza and the Reina Sofia museum. You might end up spending more than one day just seeing museums. Actually, days could be spent in the halls of the Prado alone.
It’s actually quite possible to get tired of all these museums in Madrid; if this happens sit down at a terrazas (outdoor cafe) and watch the world go by or visit one of the many beautiful parks and lakes in the city. One of the nicest parks we’ve seen anywhere is Retiro Park near the Prado. Note the Victorian greenhouse and the Crystal Palace with its small lake and swans lazily swimming about. You can rent a rowboat to get in the relaxed festive mood that suffuses the park. For a panoramic view of Madrid take the elevator to the bar on the 26th floor of the Edificio de Espana which faces the Plaza de Espana.
Madrid is a city that never seems to close down-bars and restaurants are open very late and the city’s Santa Ana district never closes down. Dinner doesn’t usually begin until after 10 pm and after that revelers head off to their favorite disco show, jazz club or late-night cafe to play until dawn. For a concentrated area of late-night activity head to Huertas Street after midnight and you’re sure to find something to match your tastes. Hemingway fans may want to check out the Museo Chicote bar described in many of his Spanish Civil War stories (and a very trendy spot). Those who love traditional performing arts will want to go to the Teatro Real for Spanish light opera known as zarzuela. You can also find good flamenco shows in several nightclubs including Cafe Chinitas.
If you’re in Madrid during the second half of May be sure to join Madrilenos in celebrating the Feria de San Isidro which has music, operas, concerts, bullfighting dancing and all-night entertainment. During our last trip, we attended a concert devoted to American bluegrass music held in the Plaza Mayor. And mid August is when the city celebrates the Verbena de la Paloma. Outside of Madrid day trips can be made to Avila, El Escorial, Guadalajara, Segovia and Toledo.
Situated on the 40th parallel (on the Castilian Meseta), Madrid occupies the geographical center of the Iberian Peninsula. The city stands at a height of 2,200 feet above sea level, its buildings rooted in the sandy soil of some low hills. It is sufficient to say that the reproductions of its luminous skies gave world fame to the best painter of all times: Velázquez. The beautiful skies of Madrid have since been described as “Velasqueños”.
Madrid enjoys more cloudless days than almost any other city in Europe. The average atmospheric pressure is 706 mm. The air is purified in the peaks and pine groves of the nearby Guadarrama mountain range. Spring in Madrid is a season of bright sunshine and cool breezes. In autumn there are those clear blue Velázquez skies and the air is warm.
Over the last ten or fifteen years Madrid has grown by leaps and bounds. The population is now four million and the city spreads over an are of 607 square kilometers. There is much of great historical interest and some things that are modern and of undoubted value.
We have the Madrid of the House of Austria, the Madrid of Bourbon Kinds, Goya’s Madrid, the Madrid of the Prado Museum, and the Madrid of the Romantics or Isabelline. There is the commercial, financial and industrial Madrid as well as the picturesque Madrid of the Rastro (a sort of flea market); the Bull-fighting Madrid; the “Flamenco” Madrid with its singers, dancers and guitarist; and the Madrid of antique dealers and artists. We shall get to know them all in due course.
Food and wine
The morning’s round of sight-seeing and museum-touring over, the visitor’s appetite is whetted for something to eat and drink. Besides the up-to-date restaurants which have very dish under the sun on their menus, there is the very varied Spanish cooking.
To begin with, Madrid has a few famous old restaurants, some having been in existence for over two hundred years, where the most typical dishes of the Madrid and Castilian cooking can be savored: typical restaurants where regional dishes can be enjoyed such as “paella valenciana” (rice, colored with saffron and mixed with different types of shell-fish, chicken and other ingredients), “bacalao a la vizcaina” (cod, tomato, thyme, red pepper, bayleaf, onion, garlic and fried croutons), “Pollo a la chilindrón” (chicken fried in oil and garlic and served in a sauce made of onion, pimientos, tomatoes, slices of ham and various other ingredients), “fabada” (a stew made of excellent haricot beans, Galician ham, pigs’ ears, a special kind of black sausage, fresh bacon, smoked bacon and other ingredients), “cochinillo a la segoviana” (sucking ping roasted either in the oven or over a wood-fire and basted with lard and seasoning until the skin is golden brown) or a “gazpacho” (an Andalusian speciality: cold raw vegetable soup served in summer and best described as a liquid salad). The visitor will also find German, Italian, Swedish, French and Chinese restaurants, as well as from other countries.
Local custom demands that we should have an aperitif or appetizer before lunch or dinner, and then a coffee afterwards, out of doors when the weather allows, in one of the capital’s many cafés and bars. Although only a few of the old-time cafés have survived, one can have an aperitif anywhere. There are certain bars, round the Puerta del Sol, San Jerónimo, Victoria, Cruz, Espoz y Mina, Núñez de Arce, Correo, Tetuán and other little streets in the neighborhood, which are particularly well-famed for the shell fish they serve with their drinks.
The afternoon is a good time, especially for tourists visiting Madrid, to have a look round the big stores and saunter down the main streets in the shopping center. In Madrid one may acquire artistic products of rich and varied Spanish handicraft: rugs, tapestries, fans, cloaks, porcelain, ceramic ware, cast iron, wooden statues, objects of gold and silver, among many more; high fashion articles, “ready to wear”, perfumes, jewelry and costume jewelry, leather goods–shoes, handbags, luggage, gloves–antelope and suede, etc. Sporting goods of all kinds–rackets, firearms, boats, etc.–all fulfill two important shopper requirements; superb quality at a moderate price.
Culture And Arts
Madrid has five great academies: the Academy of the Spanish Language (Calle de Felipe IV), History (León, 21), Exact Science (Valverde, 22), Medicine (Arrieta, 12) and the San Fernando Fine Arts Academy (Alcalá, 13). There are also Academies of Jurisprudence and the so-called “Ciencias Morales y Politicas” (Academy of Moral and Political Sciences). The Associations of Writers and Artists (Leganitos, 10); of Painters and Sculptors (Infantas, 30); organize interesting cultural and artistic events.
The University cities
Madrid has two Universities, the Complutense and the Autonomous one. The Complutense is located on and old estate known as La Moncloa, to the West of Madrid. All the Faculties and Colleges are housed in modern, functional buildings, surrounded by gardens and avenues. There are also various Residential Colleges and sports facilities of all types connected to the University City.
The Autonomous University is of more recent construction, and is at Canto Blanco, 15 kilometers along the Colmenar road.
The Higher Council for Scientific
The Higher Council for Scientific Research is at 117 Calle de Serrano and includes all the different cultural institutes for which it acts as the coordinating center. The modern buildings contain large lecture halls which are used for international conferences, libraries for each speciality, and residences in which the research workers live.
The four most important public libraries
Although there are something like a hundred libraries in Madrid, the visitor who is not looking for some special information, but the kind which can easily be obtained by private inquiries, should be satisfied if he gets round to seeing the four most important ones. First of all, there is the National Library, Paseo de Recoletos, 20. It is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. except Sunday and is situated on the first floor of the Library and Museum Building. It is considered to be the best library in Spain, and contains about two million volumes, twenty-one thousand of which are manuscripts, two thousand five hundred incunabula, and forty-six thousand particularly rare books. There are also many books from the Golden Age of Spanish literature–the 16th century.
The second most important library is the Biblioteca Municipal, at number 78, Calle de Fuencarral. There are about a hundred and twenty thousand books in the library, many of them very rare. More than four thousand of them are devoted to Madrid. The Ateneo, at Calle del Prado, 21, also has a good library. It is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., except on Sunday.
The fourth of our libraries is the Biblioteca Real, which is located on the ground-floor of the Royal Palace. (It is open from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays). The library contains 250.000 volumes, many in manuscript form, some exceedingly rare and others quite unique. The chief treasures are nevertheless the Books of Hours; there is one particularly fine specimen which belonged to Queen Isabella the Catholic. This library has a rich display of magnificent bindings of all styles and periods.
Madrid is good place for buying antiques. There are a number of places where they can be found, although the most popular is probably the Rastro. This is a sort of flea market with its stalls down both sides of the street, and curiosity shops and antique dealers behind. Some of these shops have now become quite large store and good bargains can sometimes be picked up by connoisseurs. Madrid has one street which is almost entirely devoted to antique dealer’s shops; the Calle del Prado.
There are also a number of curiosity shops in the neighboring Plaza de las Cortes, Carrera de San Jerónimo and others. Some of these dealers specialize in paintings, others in woodcarvings, books, china or glassware, ivory, furniture, religious sculpture, etc. In each there is a little of everything.
Exhibitions of painting and sculpture and artists’ studios
Apart from the galleries of Old Masters or the permanent exhibitions of ancient works of art, there are nearly forty galleries where the works of contemporary painters are exhibited. The most outstanding are: the Dirección General de Patrimonio Artístico, Archivos y Museos, an officially sponsored body for fostering the Fine Arts, with its headquarters in the Palacio de Bibliotecas y Museos, the Ateneo, and the Círculo de Bellas Artes. The names and addresses of leading painters now working in Madrid can be obtained at any of these galleries.
Madrid has magnificent painting museums where the visitor can admire some of the most famous works of art by classic and contemporary masters. There are also museums dedicated to sculpture, archaeology, science and other areas.
Without a doubt, the most important is the Prado Museum. The thousands of visitors who visit the museum very year can see marvelous works of Spanish and European painting from the 12th to the 18th century.
Picasso’s famous “Gernica” which was returned to Spainby New York’s Modern Art Museum, is currently on show in the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía National Museum with all of its preliminary sketches and drawings.
Stroll Around Old Madrid Before Dinner
It is essential for anybody who wants to enter into the spirit of Madrid life to have a stroll before dinner. Just as it is the custom to have an aperitif at one of the smart bars or cafés, so one is called upon to go on a pub-crawl through the heart of Madrid from eight o’clock in the evening until dinner-time, which here means any time from ten until eleven.
The thing to ask for is a “chato”, a small glass of red or white wine, which is accompanied by “pichos” or “tapas”–tidbits of fried fish, veal, prawns (either plain or fried in butter), fish in oil and vinegar, cheese, mussels or slices of sausage.
The best places to go to are the bullfighters taverns in the Calle de la Victoria, Espoz y Mina, Cruz Núñez de Arce and other picturesque little streets called San Ricardo, Cáiz, del Pozo and Alvarez Gato. Another taverns district centers around the Calle de Echegaray and the Travesía de Fernández y González. These streets are all very crowded and gay at this time of the evening.
There is another stroll one might take, through the old-world Madrid of Galdós (the Spanish Dickens), along the Calle de Postas, San Cristóbal, and the little streets round the Plaza Mayor. There are a number of taverns in the square itself, and under the steps that lead down to the Arcos de Chichilleros.
Madrid is quite different from any other European capital after dark. This is mainly because people here do not only go to theaters, cinemas, and night-clubs; they also sit in cafés after dinner and have a coffee or a beer, or they may go for a walk. All this means that the streets in the center of Madrid are abustle with people until the wee small hours of the morning. Nightowls can take their choice among several nightclubs both in the city center and on the outskirts which have cosmopolitan floor shows.
Gypsy dancing and singing, or Andalusian Flamenco, has many supporters in Madrid. In addition to the theaters which specialize in Flamenco, and the cabarets and nightclubs which always have a Flalmenco number in their floor-shows, there are certain special clubs where the real connoisseurs go. These include the “Corral de la Morería”, “Arco de Cuchilleros”, “Los Canasteros”, “Café de Chinitas”, “Torres Bermejas”, the “Corral de la Pacheca” and a number of others.
Arquelles, Salamanca, Malasaña, the Plaza Mayor, Paseo de la Castellana and surrounding streets are the districts of Madrid where Spanish youth can have a good time. Especially popular are the nostalgic or traditional cafés, beer pubs, typical “tascas” (bars) and taverns, discotheques, all kinds of pubs (disco pubs, piano pubs, gallery pubs, etc.), or night spots dedicated to all sorts of music: folk, jazz, rock, South American or classical. All this is profusely distributed throughout the parts of Madrid we mentioned before.
If you prefer the theater, opera, concerts, there are many large and comfortable cinemas in the center of Madrid, where it is possible to see the latest Spanish and foreign films.
There are about twenty theaters well worth a visit. The María Guerrero, the Español and Zarzuela Theaters are government sponsored. Both the Español and the María Guerrero often put on plays by Calderón, Lope de Vega and other Spanish classical authors or translations of widely acclaimed international successes. There are theaters which alternate various Spanish comedies and tragedies as well as translations of foreign plays and these are the theaters: Lara, Cómico, Ariequín, Goya, Club, Marquina, Beatriz, Bellas Artes, comedia, Figaro, Infanta Isabel, Reina Victoria and Valle-Inclán.
The Teatro Real of Teatro de la Opera is dedicated exclusively to concerts. The Zarzuela Theatre covers especially the opera, ballet and “Zarzuela” (Spanish light opera) seasons. Other theaters put on reviews varying in quality; Alcázar, Martín and La Latina. The Calderón and Maravillas Theaters are mainly used for musical shows.
Sunda Sunshine In Madrid
There are three places that both tourists and thousands of residents in Madrid often go to in order to assuage their curiosity on fine Sunday mornings: the Rastro, the Stamp Market in the Plaza Mayor, and the second-hand bookstalls on the Cuesta de Moyano.
Every bit city in the world has its “flea market”. Here in Madrid it is called the “Rastro”. It is a very picturesque place, and every kind of article can be bought there, including the oddest of odds and ends. The Rastro is divided into two parts: antiques, and second-hand goods.
The observant buyer may pick up a good painting, a Gothic statue or a piece of period furniture. Another may find the household utensil he needs or a bullfighter’s second-hand “suit of lights”. A Sunday morning spent in the Rastro is quite a unique experience, both entertaining and quaint. Few come away empty-handed for there is always something that catches one’s fancy among all the unwanted jumble.
The numismatic-stamp market in the Plaza Mayor Every Sunday from around eleven o’clock until about one, the Stamp and Coin Market throbs with life under the arcades of the Plaza Mayor. Stamps from all over the world change hands, while schoolboys rub shoulders with experts in search of bargains. Indeed there are many who have turned this innocent pastime into a large-scale international gamble.
The capital city and the province of Madrid have a total of 38.564 beds for the visitor spread out among 6 five-star hotels, 60 four-star, 57 three-star, 28 two star, and 12 one-star hotels. It also has a total of 1.476 beds in Apartment-hotels. These include 4 four-star establishments, 2 three-star, and 1 one-star. Other lodging facilities include places for accommodation in 24 camping sites.
Corona measures in Spain – Spain reacts to the 2nd Wave of Covid-19
The so-called incidence value in Madrid is by far the highest in the EU, with more than 700 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week. Nevertheless, a court lifted the partial lockdown previously ordered by the Spanish central government for Madrid and nine other places in the region.
Due to the increasing number of new infections, the central government had ordered that residents of the greater Madrid area may only leave their homes with good reason. The regional government had filed a lawsuit against this and Madrid’s highest regional court upheld it.
The court justified this with the inadmissible restriction of the “rights and fundamental freedoms” of the 4.5 million inhabitants affected. The central government is not authorized to take such measures; this is the decision-making power of the regional governments. Without the green light from the judiciary, the police cannot punish violations of the restrictions. Despite the court ruling, the regional government has urged people not to leave the Madrid metropolitan area.
Cordoba Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats to Spain
One of Andalucía’s many charming cities, Cordoba is known for its famous Mezquita Mosque. Founded by the Carthaginians and later conquered by Romans, the city really thrived under Islamic governing during the Middle Ages. A major cultural and educational centre at the time, many of its current attractions date back to medieval times.
Cordoba was known for its smooth religious and cultural diversity, Muslims, Jewish and Christians coexisting in peace. The good relations between the three major religions allowed both the Jewish and Christian minorities to prosper, demising the city with several architectural treasures of different styles.
Walking around the historic centre is the best way to explore Cordoba. Bus routes serve most areas of the city, while taxi cabs are easy to find. Keep in mind that many of the major streets are one-way, so buses usually run down different streets on each direction.
Cordoba’s Islamic Heritage
Mezquita Mosque is unquestionably the grandest monument of Cordoba’s Islamic past. Initially a Visigothic church, it was bought by Abd ar-Rahman I, to become a mosque, and later expanded to its current size by Al-Hakim II. Today Mezquita is once more used as a Christian Cathedral, with Spanish Muslims running a campaign to win the right to pray there as well.
Included in Unesco’s World Heritage Sites, Mezqiuta complex houses a spacious main cathedral, a few dozens of chapels and a lovely courtyard. Graciously ornamented, it features several different architectural styles, from Moorish design to Spanish baroque, each added by the mosque’s ruler at different time periods.
Located at the foot of Sierra Morena, on Cordoba’s western side, Madinat al-Zahra is a 10th-century palace built by Caliph Abd al-Rahman III to please his wife. Not fully excavated yet, the site includes the palace’s remains and the ruins of the surrounding city. A brand-new museum is located near the entrance, featuring displays of how the city and palace used to look before they were destroyed by the Berbers. Large parts of Madinat al’Zahra are under restoration.
Cordoba’s Jewish Heritage
The area north-west of Mezquita is known as Juderia, since it was the Jewish zone of Islamic Cordoba. Featuring low whitewashed houses and scenic narrow lanes, it is today the city’s most picturesque quarter.
Located in the heart of Juderia, Synagoga is a lovely 14th-century synagogue, which had also once served as a medieval hospital. Today the visitor can see the beautiful decorations and inscriptions in Hebrew at the synagogue’s interior.
Close to Synagoga, stands Casa de Sefarad. Once connected by tunnel to the synagogue, this medieval house has been operating as a museum since 2008. Focusing on Sephardic customs, it hosts delightful displays on local traditions.
Cordoba’s Christian Heritage
Constructed during 14th century by Alfonso the 6th, Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos is a castle which hosted the meeting of Columbus with the Spanish royals before he was commissioned to start his exploration towards India. Featuring lovely terrace gardens, Alcazar houses some fascinating Roman mosaics as well.
Close to Plaza de las Tendillas, Palacio de Viana is a spectacular Renaissance mansion, which covers a total of 6,500 square meters. Join the guided tour to admire the astonishing art and antique collection of Marqueses de Viana. Leave the interior to enjoy a peaceful moment at one of the 12 lovely patios of the villa.
If you enjoyed Palacio de Viana, pay a visit to Palacio Episcopal as well. Occupying a beautiful building of Isabelline Gothic architecture, part of this former hospital houses Museo Diocesano. The museum features a small collection of religious artworks from paintings to carvings. An indoor patio is also available within the palacio.
Hundreds of Migrants Call for Freedom at Camp on Gran Canaria
A group of migrants being held at a dockside camp on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria chanted "freedom" on Tuesday as they tried to force open a police fence and the coast guard brought in more people rescued from boats on the Atlantic sea.
Although sea-borne migration to Spain is down nearly 19% this year, arrivals to the Canary Islands have surged 573% to 3,933 migrants, data from Spain's interior ministry shows.
A coast guard spokeswoman said 81 North African men were rescued from three small boats and taken to the port of Arguineguin on Gran Canaria, while another 29 reached the island on their own by boat.
A Spanish Red Cross spokesman said another boat with around 10 migrants had also arrived.
At the crammed makeshift camp in Arguineguin, police with batons rushed to the area after a group of migrants moved a fence that encircles the camp, and made the protesters retreat without force. Some jumped the fence but were quickly told by police to go back into the camp.
Migrant reception centers across the Canary Islands are stretched to capacity and around 420 people are being held at the camp, the Red Cross said. Some of them have been there for several days enduring hot temperatures, sleeping on blankets on the concrete floor, amid increasing despair.
Analysts have suggested that beefed-up security in the Mediterranean is pushing more people to risk the perilous crossing to the Canaries, located around 60 miles west of Morocco.
Following local politicians' request for more help, the Spanish government said it plans to open more migrant centers on the island as the camp is meant to house migrants only for the first days, an immigration department spokeswoman said.
An interior ministry source said the government had not been transferring migrants from the archipelago to mainland Spain for several years, and their deportation processes were mostly handled locally.
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