Bailly Madrid Lecture Notes

Matrice Historians speculate that Romans established a small settlement on the Manzanares River in second century BCE. This settlement was called Matrice.

Magerit “In 865, Muhammad I, son of Abd-ar-Rahman II, ordered the construction of a small palace and a citadel in Magerit, an Arabic translation of the pre-Muslim name given to the site, Matrice, which means ‘source of water’, since the site was near a stream that flowed along present-day Calle de Segovia.” (

In 1083, Christians take Madrid from the Moors.

In 1561, Felipe II moves the court from Toledo to Madrid.


Family-owned bar/restaurant. Notice that the tortilla is moist and warm/room temperature. Specialty is Bocadillo of Carne Asada. Ask Alberto when a good time for you to come is, as it does get very busy with locals. Granadilla embodies the essence of what we’ll aim to do over the next month-live Espana by cultural immersion. We’ll avoid bubbles of luxury and rather immerse ourselves into the essence of Espana.

Atocha Train Station and Greenhouse

Madrid’s first railway station was inaugurated on 9 February 1851 under the name Estación de Mediodía.  The station was rebuilt in 1892 by architect was Alberto de Palacio Elissagne, who collaborated with Gustave Eiffel, and engineer Henry Saint James,. The station adopted the name Atocha after the Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Atocha. Between 1984-1992, architect Rafael Moneo remodeled the old part of the station into a botanical garden of over 400 species, spread over 4000 square meters.

Atocha Station Memorial

This cylindrical monument and underground space is a memorial to the 191 victims of 11 March 2004 attacks. The tower is constituted of 15,000 pieces of glass that connect the indoor space to the street above.

“The Atocha Train Station Memorial is a 36 foot tall cylinder that rises directly out of the ground, in the form of a tower that is illuminated at night by lamps shining from the base of the construction. Floating balloon-like inside the cylindrical structure is a colorless film that is inflated by air – inscribed with thousands of messages of condolence that were made in the days and months after the attacks.”

Booksellers on Cuesta de Moyano
These booksellers have existed for hundreds of years. In 1919, they were moved in and around this location. Although the booths were updated in 1984, the traditional facades were maintained.

Lucifer Sculpture

This is perhaps the first and only sculpture representing Lucifer. It is the 1878 work of Ricardo Bellver. The placement of it in Retiro was by Duke Fernan Nunez, despite public controversy. The sculpture sits 666 meters above sea level. The serpent has seven heads, representing perfect evil. The sculpture also has bullet holes from the civil war.

Palacio de Cristal

The Palacio de Cristal, in the shape of a Greek cross, is made almost entirely of glass set in an iron framework on a brick base, which is decorated with ceramics. Its domed roofs makes the structure over 22 metres high. The glass palace was created in 1887 to house exotic flora and fauna as part of an exhibition on the Philippines, which was then still a Spanish colony. The exhibition spilled out into the park itself, and included a reconstruction of a native Philippino village. The palace is used today for contemporary art exhibitions organised through the Reina Sofia Museum.

Sheep markers

These markers date back to a law from 1273, at the time of King Alfonso X. As livestock owners needed to move their herds south for the winter, the Honrado Consejo de la Mesta (Honorable Council of Livestock Owners) was founded. These established set paths maintained for livestock. As these became obsolete, they vanished. They were restablished in 1995, and primarily utilized by hikers and bikers. At eht end of autumn each year, the Fiesta de la Trashumancia (Flock-moving Fiesta), more than 2000 sheep are ceremoniously walked through these markers.

Puerta de Alcala

Carlos III wanted to build a monumental entry into Madrid. The architect Sabatini proposed two designs, of which Carlos III could not decide which to use. Therefore both sides are different. Notice the bullet holes

Puerta Del Sol

First electric light in 1875, first streetcar in 1897, first metro in in 1919.

Old Post Office. Built at time of Carlos III. Legend has it that the devil appeared to workers, because Carlos III selected a French architect instead of a Spanish one.

In Franco’s time, the buliding was used as police headquarters.

Today it houses the government of Madrid.

Clock story. Trains. For years, the clocks had kept the incorrect time. Then three were built…all keeping different times. “If the new clock in the Puerta Del Sol continued to work as it has thus far, it will not displease anyone, since the hours it shows on its three dials are completely different, so that everyone can choose the time that best suits him.” Finally Losada made a proper clock in 1866.

Bear and the Madrono Tree

In 1202, Madrid soldiers fighting against Moors, hailed a flag with a bear. Most likely a she-bear. The seven stars represent the little dipper (Ursa Minor). The bear is “depicted with its hind legs solidly on the ground, symbolizing the church’s dominion over the fields, and it’s forward paws poised on a tree, in representation of the State’s claim of lumber and hunting.”

Carlos III

Historian Stanley Payne wrote that Carlos III “was probably the most successful European ruler of his generation. He had provided firm, consistent, intelligent leadership. He had chosen capable ministers….[his] personal life had won the respect of the people.”


“Long before Madrid became the capital of Spain, Emir Mohamed I chose Magerit (the city’s Arabic name) as the site for a fortress to protect Toledo from the advancing Christians. The building was eventually used by the Kings of Castile until finally becoming what would be known as the Antiguo Alcázar (Old Fortress) in the 14th century. Carlos I and his son Felipe II turned the building into a permanent residence for the Spanish royal family. However, in 1734 a fire burnt the Palace of Los Austrias to the ground, and Felipe V ordered the construction of the palace that stands today.” (

Madrid becomes the capital of Espana in 1561. This location was the center of civic and religious government for Florida until 1821.

Felipe V was monarch from 1700-1746. He was the grandson of Louis XIV. He was born in Versailles and was the first French Bourbon King of Spain, which still rules to this day. He intended to build a type of Versailles in Madrid.

Carlos III was the son of Felipe V. He ruled Spain from 1759 to 1788. Before becoming King of Spain, Carlos III lived in Italy for 19 years.

The French and Italian influence on Spanish culture and specifically the Palacio Real is readily apparent. The architects and artists are all Italian. The plans were based on Bernini’s design for Versailles by Filippo Juvarra and Giovanni Battista Sacchetti in cooperation with Ventura Rodríguez, Francesco Sabatini, and Martín Sarmiento. King Carlos III first occupied the new palace in 1764.

Sculptures of the Kings of Spain, including Aztec ruler Moctezuma II and the Inca emperor Atahualpa.


Architect, Kings, and Galileo’s Horse

Kings of Espana

The plan was to place these sculpture of the kings of Spain on top of the building, similar to the saints above the colonnades of the Basilica di San Pietro. Carlos III’s mother, Isabel de Farnesio, however, objected to their placement because of a superstitious dream of her being crushed to death due to them falling.


“The monarch, furious at the reply, was not inclined to run the risk of having some other king posses a residence which would rival or even eclipse his own. Thus he immediately had the proud architect led off to a dungeon. There his henchmen ripped out the architect’s eyes, thus preventing him from ever again building another palace, and cut out his tongue so that he could not share his knowledge with others, and finally severed both his arms from his body so that he could never again make any sketches.” (Hidden Madrid)

Galileo Horse

“Tacca’s last public commission was the colossal equestrian bronze of Philip IV, after a design by Velázquez. It is also said to have been based on the iconography of a lost painting by Rubens it was begun in 1634 and shipped to Madrid in 1640, the year of his death.”

Diego Velasquez (1599-1660)

Pietro Tacca (1577–1640)

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Juan Martínez Montañés (1568–1649)


Toros, tapas, siestas, & Garcia Llorca

“The word siesta comes from the Latin sexta,” explains Juan José Ortega, vice president of the Spanish Society of Sleep and a somnologist – an expert in sleep medicine.  “The Romans stopped to eat and rest at the sixth hour of the day. If we bear in mind that they divided periods of light into 12 hours, then the sixth hour corresponds in Spain to the period between 1pm (in winter) and 3pm (in summer).”

Federico García Lorca

Sonnet of the Sweet Complaint

Never let me lose the marvel

of your statue-like eyes, or the accent

the solitary rose of your breath

places on my cheek at night.

I am afraid of being, on this shore,

a branchless trunk, and what I most regret

is having no flower, pulp, or clay

for the worm of my despair.

If you are my hidden treasure,

if you are my cross, my dampened pain,

if I am a dog, and you alone my master,

never let me lose what I have gained,

and adorn the branches of your river

with leaves of my estranged Autumn.

John William Bailly 12 June 2019

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