Long before medieval Muslims, Jews, and Christians occupied this settlement on the banks of the Rio Manzanares, prehistoric inhabitants made this central river and plateau their home.
Though there are no remains of these periods in Madrid, a visit to the Museo Nacional de Arqueologia is an adventure all its own and contains important finds from the region and across Spain‘s Iberian peninsula.
This itinerary explores what remains of early medieval Muslim Madrid. We travel through Muslim Madrid of the 9th century to the 11th century. We also continue to medieval Christian Madrid from its 11th century beginnings and onward to the 15th century.
This includes a little known 11th century Romanesque church that stands in a less-visited but very romantic corner of Madrid’s Retiro Park. Stonemasons probably constructed the chapel when Madrid was under Muslim rule.
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The 9th century Muslim city was a walled city. It was bound around the area where the Royal Palace stands today, including the territory of the Almudena Cathedral next door and areas south, just north of the current Calle Segovia. In the 12th century, the Christian walls expanded the fortified city even further south and east.
The best place to begin is on the Puerta del Sol at the sculpture of the Bear and the Madroño Tree, Madrid’s emblem. All the remaining highlights of medieval Madrid are within easy walking distance from here and of each other.
Proceed next to the Puerta de Guadalajara, the Plaza de la Villa, and the Calle de Cava de San Miguel. After enjoying this traditional tavern street, continue toward the Iglesia de San Pedro El Viejo.
Next, head in the direction of the Royal Palace. Pass the Plaza de la Puerta del Moro and continue to the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Almudena. Just below the cathedral take in the Muralla Árabe and the Campo del Moro.
Finish at the church, Iglesia de San Nicolás de los Servitas, in the heart of the medieval neighborhood.