Exploring Belle Époque Madrid

Photo by Beebe Bahrami

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A time of prosperity and beauty in Madrid and Spain

Though the 19th and early 20th centuries were politically and economically turbulent ones, this period marks periods of progress and prosperity in Madrid. You can see this in the monuments from this time.

The late 19th century and early 20th century with its Belle Époque and Art Nouveau styles, all beautifully integrated in Madrid, also carried over the romantic styles of the prior century. It signaled a brief period of lightness and prosperity for the capital and the country.

One of the unique elements of Madrid’s Belle Époque is its Neo-Mudéjar-style. This is seen in buildings that popularized medieval Muslim brick-work and mosaics.

Art Deco is another popular style of the Belle Époque here. and present throughout the city.

In the mid-to late 19th century, the city tore down its remaining ramparts and built new urban designs.  The city expanded and dramatically modernized.

One of the strongest statements in this effort was the great boulevard, El Gran Vía. Plans for it began in the second half of the 19th century, but the actual building did not commenced until 1910. It was also during this period that the fashionable neighborhoods of Salamanca, Chamberí, and Argüelles were built.

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Exploring Madrid’s Belle Époque

Belle Époque Madrid is breezy and lyrical. Designs incorporated classic earlier styles from medieval Iberian Islamic, Judaic and Christian to later Baroque aesthetics plus Art Deco.

You can experience the best of this wonderful style throughout central Madrid.

Highlights are Atocha train station, the Botanical Garden, the Palacio de Communicaciones, the Banco de España, the Circulo de las Bellas Artes, Teatro de la Zarzuela, the Casino de Madrid, the Metrópolis, and the Instituto Cervantes. Also saunter along El Gran Vía (starting at intersection with Calle de Alcalá and walking toward the palace). Take in the hip and rainbow-celebrating Plaza de Chueca and neighborhood. Nearby, visit Teatro María Guerrero, and Iglesia Parroquia de Santa Bárbara.

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