THE CASTIZO QUARTER
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The Castizo Quarter sits roughly in the center of Madrid extending to the south.  It overlaps portions of the Paseo de Prado.  It contains the neighborhoods of La Latina and Lavapiés.  Castizo is considered to be the area where the true Madrileño lives.  Castizo (or Castiza) literally means "pure" or "authentic".  As such this area contains some of the buildings and and other areas that are important to the people of Madrid.

We will start our walk at the Basílica de San Isidro (#2).  San Isidro is the male Patron Saint of Madrid.   (The Virgen of the Almudena  is the female Patron Saint of Madrid.)  This church served as a substitute cathedral for Madrid.

As heading  south down the Calle de Toledo we may if we wish turn west towards the Plaza de San Andrés.   This is roughly the area of the Barrio de los Austrias which is Madrid's oldest district.  It's origins go back to Medieval times. 

Instead we head east toward the Plaza de Cascorro. This plaza is named after a battle in Cuba.  Here is a statue to Eloy Gonzales.  He was an orphan from this area who is considered to be the "Hero of the Battle of Cascorro".  Eloy.   We are now in the Rastro (#4). The Rastro is the site of a "flea market" that is held each weekend.  Every major city in Europe has a section that holds a major "flea market" which are on a much grander scale than what we may think of in the United States.  This is where the people of Madrid go to search out bargains.   Since it has become a "tourist spot" the bargains may no longer exist, but it is still fun to go to see the crowds and the different merchandise for sale.   The Rastro was established in 1955 and is reportedly the world's largest.  It is held each Sunday and holidays from about 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.  There are stalls set up selling just about anything that you wish to buy.  The Rastro stretches down the Calle Ribera de Curtidores, where you buy mainly clothes, and east down the Mira el Sol, where you can buy books, comic books, CDs, and west and up the Calle Carlos Arniches whre you can buy the true flea market items such as old cameras, furniture and typewriters.  

From the Rastro we head west towards the Plaza del General Vara del Ray.  General Joaquín Vara del Ray (1840 - 1898) was commander of the Spanish defensive forces at El Caney in Cuba during the Spanish - American War.  He was wounded in battle and was killed while being taken off the battlefield.

Located here is the Museo de Artes Populares (#1).  It contains examples of local arts and crafts, but also contains some regional items. 

We head west to the Calle de Toledo and south to the Glorieta Puerta de Toledo.   Located here is the Puerta de Toledo (#3).  It was originally order to be built by Jose Bonaparte to commemorate France's victory over Spain in 1808.  But it took six years to build, by which time the French had been driven out of Spain.  It was then turned into a commemoration of the Spanish victory.

We head back east along through the Plaza Campillo Mundo Nuevo.  Here is located the Ministerio de Economía (Economics Ministry)  and the Ministerio de Hacienda (The Treasury Ministry). 

Continuing along we enter the area of Embajadores.  It is so called because during a plague in Madrid a number of ambassadors went to live there because (at the time) is was considered to be outside of the populated areas of Madrid. 

We continue along the Ronda de Toledo (ronda means avenue) arriving at the Glorieta de Embajadores.  Glorieta means rotary.  Heading north along the Calle Embajadores on the right is the Fábrica de Tabacos.  This is an 18th century tobacco factory.   Fábrica by the way does not mean "fabric", which is sounds like, but "factory".

We continue for a few more blocks and turn west (right) onto Calle Mira el Sol arriving at La Corrala.  This building is actual a monument to the type of architecture (corral) that was in this area during the 16th century.  At that time there was a local law that no house could overlook a convent or monastery garden.  So houses were built with no windows on the outside, and balconies overlooking open-air courtyards or wells.  Most of these buildings were torn down, but this building and a very few others remain.  The Museo de Artes Populares (above) is located in a restored corral building.

Continuing west on the Calle Somberete we arrive at the Plaza de Lavapiés (#5).   Lavapiés means "wash feet".  This plaza is called that because originally there was a fountain located here.

We head northwest arriving at our final destination, Filmoteca (National Film Center) #6.   This is a restored theatre originally built in 1923.  Here we can watch current and classic films.

Some of the streets (located north to south):
Calle Conde de Romanones - Alvaro de Figueroa y Torres (1863 - 1950) was the Count of Romanones.  He was also a former Mayor of Madrid and President of the Cabinent and of the Senate.
Calle Duque de Alba - Fernandez Álvarez (1508 - 1582), was a Spanish general and advisor to King Philip II.
Calle Luis Vélez de Guevara - Luis Vélez de Guevara (1579 - 1644) was a poet, playwright and novelist.  He worked in the court of King Philip IV and wrote over 400 plays.  His plays were favorites of Cervantes.
Plaza Tirso de Molina - This was the pseudonym of Fray Gabriel Téllez (1584 - 1648) who was a dramatist.  While the figure Don Juan was already known in legend, Tirso de Molina was the first individual who wrote about him (1630).
Calle Carlos Arniches - Carlos Arniches (1866 - 1943) was the most famous writer of one act sainetes (a local style of plays) in the 20th century.  As a young man he developed a rhyming alphabet that was based on the life of King Alfonso XII.  The queen liked it so much she ordered it to be used in all of the schools.
Calle Miguel Servet - Miguel Servet (1511 - 1553) was a lawyer, doctor and theologian.  He was at one time a friend of Calvin, but also was one of the earliest doctors to use dissection in order to learn more about the human body and illness.   He was considered to be one of the wisest men of his time.  He is also known as Miguel de Vilanova (which is where he was born).
Calle de Fray Luis de León - Fray Luis de León (1527 - 1591) was a theologian and a poet.  At one time he was Professor of Sacred Scripture at the University of Salamanca.  Salamanca at that time being not only the most important university in Spain, but one of the most important in the world.  He is also considered to be one of the most classically beautiful poets of the 16th century.
Calle de Sebastían Elcano - Juan Sebastían Elcano (1476 - 1526) was the a Spanish captain on Ferdinand Magallean's voyage around the world.  His was the only ship of 5 that completed the voyage.  Magallean himself had been killed in a fight with natives on a Pacific island.  The current sailing training vessel for the Spanish Navy is called the Juan Sebastían de Elcano.

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