Spanish version


Paseo de la Castellana-Recoletos-Prado

Madrid´s longest avenue crosses the town from north to south.

The newest part is that called Paseo de la Castellana, which starts at the Plaza de Colon Santiago Bernabeu stadium in 1960and continues to the Plaza de Castilla with the KIO Towers, also known as the Door to Europe. This part of the Avenue is still growing to the north. The evolution of the city in the area surrounging the Cuatro Torres which are being built right now will be very interesting.

From  Plaza de Colon until the Plaza de la Cibeles, the avenue is called Paseo de Recoletos.

From Cibeles to the Glorieta de Atocha the avenue again changes its name and becomes the Paseo del Prado.

Paseo de la Castellana
This part of the avenue is a reflection of modern Madrid. Here we find well known business Colon statuecenters, skyscrapers, malls, restaurants. It is the Madrid of the XXI century.
Until 1960, Madrid more or less ended at Plaza de Castilla. The area between the Bernabeu football stadium and the Plaza de Castilla was called Corea due to the many Americans of the American military base in Torrejon that lived there.
In the 1970´s the Palacio de Congresos was built, the Corte Ingles Mall and the business center AZCA. That was the moment everything changed. What until then had been considered  a suburb became the second center of the city.
Big skyscrapers were built like the Torre Picasso and the Torre Europa, and in a few year all these quiet streets were full of bustling activity.
Probably nowadays one of the most visited places in the city is the Bernabeu football stadium. The Real Madrid Football Club has fans all over the world and they all want to visit the place where the matches take place and pay tribute to their gods.
More or less in the middle of the Paseo de la Castellana at the crossroads with the Calle de Eduardo Dato we can find an open air museum with many interesting sculptures.
Paseo de Recoletos

building in Paseo de RecoletosIn the XIX century the nobility used to live around the boulevards, the bourgeoisie in the Salamanca and Argüelles districts and the rest in the southern part of Madrid.
During the reign of Isabel II many big houses and palaces were built in the Paseo de Recoletos.

Paseo de Recoletos was built during the times of King Fernando VII by convicts, but the elegant touch was given by Duke de Sesto while he was Mayor of the city in 1864.
The Paseo de Recoletos starts in the Plaza de Colon. The statue of Colombus was in the center of the square until 1977, when the Jardines del Descubrimiento were inaugurated and the statue put there. Under the park there is a theater. In the park there is the Monument dedicated to the Discovery made by Arturo Melida.
On the other side of the square, next to the Calle Genova are the Torres Colon built by the architect Antonio Lamela. They were built between 1967 and 1976. First the center block was made and then, unbelievably, they continued building them from top to bottom.

Close to the Centro Cultural de la Villa is the National Library with over 5 million books.National Library

The National Library building was finished in 1892. It has an extension of nearly 30 thousand m2. The façade looking onto Paseo de Recoletos is 135m long. Due to the ornaments it has on its four squares people called the building "Casa de las Cuatro Chichoneras" (House of the four Padded Caps).
On the back part of the building, looking onto calle Serrano is the Archaeological Museum.
The original National Library was created by King Felipe V. He left all the books he had brought from France and those that were in the Palace to the Library. Since 1715 the Library receives a copy of every book published in Spain. The original building was next to the Royal Palace and was demolished by Jose Bonaparte in order to built the Plaza de Oriente. After that the Library was housed in different buildings until the current Library was inaugurated.

Paseo de RecoletosAfterwards on the right side we  find some very nice typical cafes. Probably the most interesting one being the Cafe Gijon, where the great Spanish writers of the XIX century used to meet. Along this right side of the Avenue we can find many of these cafes that, specially in summer, are very popular because of their terraces.

Next to Plaza de Cibeles, where we see  the Linares Palace used to be a big circular granary where wheat was kept in order to have enough supplies for the population in case the wheat price increased.
Next to it was a prison and a convent, which gave its name to the avenue.
This convent was demolished in the last years of the XIXth century and a row of small palaces was built.

Paseo del Prado

Paseo del PradoThe Paseo del Prado starts in the Plaza de la Cibeles and continues until the Glorieta de Atocha, where the train station is. It is the most elegant part of the Avenue. It was built in the XVI century, but it was Carlos III who gave it its splendor.
Close to Cibeles is the San Jeronimo el Real Church founded by the Catholic Monarchs in 1502 and always used to celebrate special events of the Royal families until the Almudena Cathedral was finished.

On the right, is the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, very near to the Carrera de San Jeronimo.

A little bit further, on the left we have the Prado Museum with the Statue of Velazquez. Right after the Museum is the Royal Botanic Garden. In the beginning the idea was to locate in the Prado the Natural Science Museum and therefore the Botanic Garden was placed so near. In front of the entrance to the Botanic Garden is a statue dedicated to the painter Murillo.
The architects Sabatini and Juan de Villanueva made the project for the Botanic Garden in 1774.

Close to the Glorieta de Atocha, on the right, is the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, dedicated to contemporary art. The Guernica by Pablo Picasso is here.

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