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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Books about Madrid

Photo from Guide to Madrid’s Literary District by John Dapolito Last month my book A Guide to Madrid’s Literary District was published by Secret Kingdoms. To celebrate the launch, I’ve put together a reading list of other great books about Madrid that will give you a good grounding in local lore. Whether you’re a history …

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