Spanish version

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor with Statue of Felipe IIIThe Plaza Mayor is one of the meeting points for the people of Madrid.

Numerous important events have taken place here. The market was held here which is still to be seen in the names of the buildings. The one housing the tourism office is called the Casa de la Panaderia (Bakery House). The building on the opposite side is the Casa de la Carniceria (Butcher´s House). Around the Plaza Mayor lived many craftsmen and this is why many streets also bear the names of their different professions.

In the center we can see a statue dedicated to Felipe III, previously located in the Retiro. In the 1960 they took the statue away in order to build a parking under the Plaza. They found many dead birds inside it. They had entered the statue through the mouth of the horse and could not find the way out afterwards. To prevent them from entering the statue the mouth is now filled. The look of the Plaza Mayor changed in the last years of the nineteenth century. In the center was a park with fountains and many trees. Afterwards it recovered its original appearance. Until the 1960 cars could even park in the Plaza.

In the days of the Inquisition the jugdements were held here and also the public executions.

In the times of Felipe III bullfights were held in the Plaza that lasted the whole day long.
In these bullfights a nobleman fought the bull riding on a horse. At the end, the bull was offered to the public to
be killed. It seems that sometimes they even killed each other just for the honor of killing the bull.
The houses were made of wood and they burnt down several times before they were finally made of bricks. Facade of the Casa de la Panaderia with modern paintingsThey were not built together as they appear nowadays. Eventually the arches joined the buildings forming the square as we know it today.
On one side we can see the Casa de la Panaderia (The Bakery house); in front is the Casa de la Carniceria
(The Butcher´s house).

In 1992 Madrid was nominated the Cultural Capital of Europe and the painter Carlos Franco was commissioned to decorate the facade of the Casa de la Panaderia. He painted images representing characters from mythology related to the history of Madrid, but the end result did not satisfy everybody.
One of the end results was that the altar for the mass dedicated to the Almudena, patron saint of Madrid, had to be installed on the opposite side, because it coincided with some nude paintings.

Nowadays it is a busy square. There are always people playing music, living statues, etc. There are also many restaurants with terraces, where you can sit and watch the world pass by.

In the summer there are also concerts in the evenings.

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