Madrid de los Austrias, the “noble” district of the city
In the course of one day we have already mentioned the itinerary of the Madrid de los Austrias which also includes Plaza Mayor and Oriente Square and which reaches La Latina. Here we take you more time and more calmly to this part of the city which in the past held particular importance. It was in fact the seat of the royal court of the Habsburgs (called “los Austrias”) from 1506, the date on which Philip the Fair of Flanders was recognized as king-consort of Castile and Leon (he had married Joan of Castile) until the death of Charles II in 1700.
The Madrid de los Austrias – an area not well defined even for the madrileños themselves – includes some key points in the history of the city and is a journey that can be done in two hours. You can start from the Plaza Mayor, the masterpiece of the Habsburg dynasty and the protagonist space of the city during the 1600s, the so-called Golden Age of the Spanish monarchy. Crossing the Arco de Cuchilleros, the most monumental access to the square, you pass Provincia Square, home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the beautiful National Archaeological Museum. From here, taking the calle de la Fresa (Strawberry street), you enter a nucleus of narrow and winding streets that have preserved the original Habsburg layout.
At times, delightful squares open up, such as the medieval Paja Square with the Anglona Garden or that of the Conde de Barajas which for some are already part of the La Latina neighborhood, where we too talk about it.
San Ginés between sacred and profane
Another emblematic place in the Madrid de los Austrias is the church of San Ginés. This 17th century building, declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1982, preserves interesting works including the beautiful “Expulsion of the merchants from the temple” by El Greco. The visit to the opera is free but limited from 6 to 7 pm from Tuesday to Friday and from 10 to 12 on Saturdays.
Take a tour around the temple and refresh yourself with churros y chocolate at Chocolateria San Ginés, one of the oldest and certainly the most famous in Madrid. Arriving at the bottom of Arenal Street you reach the Isabel II Square and the Royal Theater. Complete the visit with the Royal Palace and the Cathedral of Almudena.
Find accommodation in the Madrid de los Austrias district