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Key Moments in Madrid’s History: For Whom the Bell Tolls

San Pedro el Viejo and Madrid’s Muslim past Legends about Madrid’s dark past have long echoed through the city’s medieval streets, giving us flashes of insight into the city’s collective psyche. One of these legends involves a church nestled in the heart of historic La Latina. San Pedro el Viejo (or San Pedro el Real) …

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A Peek Inside Banco de España

Dominating Cibeles, the Banco de España, with its imposing wrought iron doorways and gorgeous masonry, is one of Madrid’s most impressive buildings. But, being home to the country’s huge gold reserves, visits inside are strictly supervised and incredibly scarce. For most of us mere mortals, the only opportunity to penetrate this behemoth comes once a …

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Agua va! (The history of toilets in Madrid)

Lack of facilities Though I love Madrid, the city is, quite literally, a bit of a toilet. Due to the lack of public facilities, many partygoers end up relieving themselves in the city streets so that after a steamy Saturday night, the pavements absolutely reek of piss by Sunday morning. Luckily our lovely ex-mayor Manuela …

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A fire in Madrid’s Alcazar: arson or accident

A narrow escape If you’ve ever been to the Prado you must have seen Velazquez’s masterpiece Las Meninas. Painted in 1656, the picture shows princess Margaret Theresa with her pet dog, dwarf, and ladies in waiting. The enigmatic painting is now famous the world over, but what’s less known is that it narrowly escaped being burned up …

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