The Making of Madrid

Tours and tapas away from the tourist traps

See another side of Madrid with Lonely Planet guidebook writer Felicity Hughes.

.Journalist Felicity Hughes has been living in Spain’s capital for more than ten years. With a wealth of knowledge at her fingertips, she runs unique historical walking tours of Madrid that show another side to the city.

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Popular posts from the archives

Three Myths About the Spanish Inquisition

Founded in 1478 to root out false Jewish converts to Christianity, the Spanish Inquisition was a bloodthirsty organization that killed between 5,000 and 10,000 people during its 350 year existence. Given these horrifying statistics, it might seem odd to say that the Spanish Inquisition wasn’t quite as bad as it has been made out to be…

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Five Things You Didn’t Know About Madrid

From Islamic origins to saintly bones, to mind blowing miracles, here are a few surprising things you didn’t know about Madrid. Its name derives from Arabic Top of our list of things you didn’t know about Spain’s capital is that its name derives from Arabic. The settlement was chosen for its strategic position high above the…

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Ten Truly Madrileño Terms

People from Madrid are a welcoming sort, but even so, they do have a strong sense of their own identity. Just like DNA, it is coded into the language, marking them out as citizens of the city. Which is why, if you’re in Madrid to stay, it’s worth getting to grips with some truly Madrileño terms….

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Eight scams to avoid in Madrid

Visitors coming to Madrid are often nervous about being targeted by scammers. A legitimate fear if you don’t understand the language and are reliant on the kindness of bilingual strangers to help you navigate your way around a foreign city. As problems can start as soon as you get off the plane with unscrupulous taxi drivers…

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Why are true Madrileños called gatos?

What is a gato? Gato means cat in Spanish but in Madrid, it also refers to someone who can count their ancestry back two generations within the city. This means that both their parents and grandparents were born and raised here. While there’s a little bit of debate on whether this should be on both sides…

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The Story Behind Madrid’s Historic Doors

Part of the city’s aesthetic heritage One of the first things that caught my eye about Madrid was its beautiful wooden doors. Studded with ornate brass or iron fittings, the varnished panels engraved with florid designs, often with the words “asegurada de incendios” mounted on a plaque above, these historic doors form an important part of…

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Alfonso XIII: Playboy King and Porno Pioneer

Spain’s first pornos As with the internet, it didn’t take long for pioneers to see the pornographic possibilities of film with early pornos appearing pretty quickly after the Lumiere brothers first displayed their invention in Paris in 1895. However, unlike the internet, this was no democratic tool, the first silent pornos were mainly made to titillate…

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The Habsburg Jaw

Maybe you’ve seen the signature pouty lips and jutting Habsburg chin caught on canvas in Velázquez’s paintings of Felipe IV or perhaps you’ve seen it grow to even more ridiculous proportions in portraits of his son Carlos II (pic above). But just how did this jawline get so out of control? Interbreeding for power The Spanish…

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