Spanish version

Barrio de Malasaña

This area of Madrid has had different names during its existence. Its real name is Barrio de Daoiz and Velarde MonumentMaravillas, but since the 1980´s it more known as Malasaña, which really is the name of a street in it.
It is located very near Chueca and sometimes it is difficult to know in which area we really are.
It became very popular in those days as the famouse "movida" had its origin here. It still is an area that, specially at nights, is crowded by young people drinking on the street. There are many typical bars, cafeterias and restaurants.
This area was inhabitated by people belonging to different social classes. We find the typical churches and hospitals or schools built by noblemen to take care of the poor, but also buildings that were built by rich businessman and others that belonged to the lower middle class.
It is interesting that, like in most countries, streets are named after famous people. Here we can still find some original names, i.e. names that were given to the streets by its inhabitants because there was something characteristic in the street that made it easy to be remembered.

Calle del PezCalle del Pez
One of the most popular streets is Calle del Pez - Fish Street. Its original name was Street of the Priest´s Fountain. A name easily understandable. When King Felipe II brought the court to Madrid, these area was dedicated to built houses. One of these was bought by a man called Juan Coronel. It is said that in this street were several ponds with fish swimming in them. Little by little all these fish disappeared but one. Juan Coronel´s daughter was very fond of the  fish, brought it home and put it in a goldfish bowl. Unfortunately also this fish died and the girl was inconsolable. So her father decided to make her a special present. A plaque in memory of the fish was put on their building. People started calling the street "the street with the fish" and this was the origin of its name. Nowadays, the original building does not exist any more, but the new one  also has  a plaque with a fish on it.
Near calle del Pez is calle de la Puebla where we find one of the most beautiful churches in Madrid, San Antonio de los Alemanes, although its façade is very simple and does not match the exquisite interior.

Calle Manuela MalasañaManuela Malasaña
The street dedicated to this woman currently is used to identify the whole area.

A mixture of true history and legend has made Manuela Malasaña a heroine of the events that took place on May 2nd 1808.

She lived in calle de San Andres, next to Monteleon palace, in those days a headquarter of the army. She was a dressmaker and walking home from work, was captured by the French army. As she was carrying a small scissor, this was considered as a dangerous weapon and she was executed.

Daoiz and Velarde MonumentAnother story says that she was helping her father loading his gun while he was firing from the balcony against the French soldiers that were attacking the headquarter.

Anyway, her death represents all those women that lost her lives during those terrible days.
From the Monteleon palace we can now see only its entrance. In front of it is a monument dedicated to Daoiz and Velarde, two soldiers of the Spanish army that also lost their lives during that battle. The place is called today Plaza del Dos de Mayo and is a meeting place for young people, specially on weekends. They gather around the monument drinking beer or wine and it is easy to see the statues of both soldiers having beercans in their hands.

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
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