To many people it is the most beautiful area of the city; to me it is too and definitely the most famous to people outside of Spain. It is a neighborhood full of streets and historic buildings; the origin of the Madrid that we know nowadays, which started to grow from here since the court was installed in the city in the XVI century.
There is some confusion about exactly what delimits this area. According to the information you read or depending on who tells you the story, the boundaries of the space are one or other. The only true thing is that it has this name because the place grew exponentially during the reigns of Carlos I and Carlos II, and it had its splendor during the reign of Felipe II. All of them belonged to The House of Austria. Madrid was born here and that’s why it has a special charm.
The limits are not clear, but we like what we know there is inside them: narrow streets, monuments, historic buildings, squares, palaces and churches. Its streets, for instance, Cava Baja and Cava Alta, are full of taverns, bars and restaurants. It has hidden churches in impossible streets – such as San Nicolás de Bari, which is, by the way, the oldest church in Madrid – emblematic and very visited plazas, like Plaza Mayor and Plaza de Oriente, and some palaces you must discover, such as the Santa Cruz Palace and the Palace of the Dukes of Uceda.
You will notice that here there is no space for franchises, brand stores or department stores; among its streets we can breathe tradition and a lot of personality, modernity has no space here either. The medieval style of the time has survived until today, that’s why it is called “Madrid antiguo”. Nonetheless, you can also find places with touristic buildings such as the Almudena Cathedral, The Royal Palace or The Opera; I invite you to walk around Madrid de los Austrias and let yourself be surprised. You are going to love it!
In August the festivities of La Virgen de la Paloma are celebrated, a popular figure in the city. These are days of celebration, with processions, dances, street music and a lot of color around the streets, which create a festive atmosphere; it is highly recommended. During the rest of the year it is a cozy neighborhood, with a lot of history to find behind each wall.
Do you dare to discover it?