The Salamanca District

The Salamanca district of Madrid is one of more expensive places to live.    This area was named after the Marqués de Salamanca (1806-1863).  He is credited with developing this area for the wealthy individuals in Madrid.  His house the Palacio del Maqués de Salamanca (which is located in the lower left hand corner of the map) was considered to be the most luxurious house in Spain when it was built in the 1850's.  While many other mansions have been destroyed it remains today and is the headquarters for a bank.  The Plaza de Marqués de Salamanca is located roughly in the center of the map. 

The Calle de Serrano forms the western boundary of the Salamanca district. Today it is the location of a number of fashionable shops as are many of the streets that parallel or intersect it. The street was named after Francisco Serrano y Dominguez (1810 - 1885).  He was a General and statesman.  He participated in the overthrow of Queen Isabella II, and was Premier under King Amadeus.  After King Amadeus abdicated in favor of a Republic, which Serrano opposed he was made head of the government after a military coup d'etat.  He only served a short while before Alfonso XII was restored to the throne.  He and Alfonso XII died on the same day. He was a friend of Leopoldo O'Donnell (see below).

At the very northern end of the Calle de Serrano (at least as shown on this map) is the Museo Lázaro Galdiano.  Lázaro Galdiano was a publisher who in 1948 gave his collection to the government.  It contains a number of paintings, clocks, jewlery, gold and silver objects dating back to the 12th century.

Walking south we turn east onto Calle de Juan Bravo.  Along the way we pass the Palacio de Amboage which is now home to the Italian Embassy.  We continue until we reach the corner of Calle de Principe de Vergara where we once again turn south.  The Calle de Principe de Vergara (principe means prince in Spanish) was named after Baldermo Espartero (1793 - 1879).  He was born to working class parents.  He entered the army and became a supporter of queen regent María Cristina.  He was made Commander-in-Chief of the army.  In 1839 he holds negotiations that led to the Convention of Vergara which ended the civil war.  He then entered politics and proposes a set of reforms.  Rather than accept these reforms María Cristina gives up the regency and the Cortes appoints Esparatero as regent. Unfortunately he did not prove to be a good regent and was overthrown by Generals Ramón Narvaéz and Francisco Serrano (see above). He briefly returned in 1854 to share control of the government with General Leopoldo O'Donnell (see below), but retired from politics in 1856.   In 1875, King Amadeus awarded him the title "Principe de Vergara".

We turn west onto Calle de Padilla.  Juan de Padilla (1490 - 1521) led a revolt against Charles V.  It was not sucessful and he was executed.  On this street is the Fundación de Juan March.

The Fundación de Juan March (#2) was set up to support the arts and sciences.  It has a gallery dedicated to modern art.  It was established by Juan March who was financier to Franco.  There is a law in Spain that requires that savings banks must reinvest 50% of their profits for the public good.  So there is quite a connection between banking profits and the arts.  Which is also the case with the Fundación Caixa de Pensiones (#3)  In addition to contemporary art shows they also hold concerts and scientific conferences here.

To reach the Fundación Caixa de Pensiones after leaving the Fundación de Juan March we turn south onto Calle de Núñez de Balboa.  This street was named after Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1475 -1519), the first European to see the Pacific Ocean (1513).

Leaving the Fundación Caixa de Pensiones we head south and turn east (left) onto Calle de Ayala.  It was named after Pedro López de Ayala (1332 - 1407).  He was poet and court chronicler under four kings.  Because he wrote very objectively his writings are considered to be among the first great Spanish histories.

We continue east until we once again reach Calle de Principe de Vergara.  This is the location of the Colegio de Pilar. This is a boy's school which has turned out many of leading public figures.

Turning north we then turn east (right) onto Calle Don Ramón de la Cruz.  Ramón de la Cruz (1731 to 1795) was a poet and dramatist.  He is credited with inventing the style "sainete" which are short farcical sketches on city life and manners, particularly of the middle and lower classes.

We continue heading east until we arrive at the Plaza de Manuel Becerra.  Manuel Becerra y Bermúdez (1823 - 1893) was a distinguished mathmatician.  He also became involved in politics and was a Minister under Amadeus I.

The Plaza de Manuel Becerra is the meeting point of the Calle de Alcalá, the Calle de Francisco Silvela and the Calle del Doctor Esquerdo. 

Calle de Francisco Silvela is named after Francisco Silvela (1843 - 1905).  He was a Minister of the Interior and reformer.  Calle del Doctor Esquerdo is named after Jose Maria Esquerdo Zaragosa (1842 - 1912).  While he was a well-known politician he is most known for introducing Pyschiatry to Spain.

On the northern border of the plaza is Jardines de María Eva Duarte de Peron.   María Eva Duarte de Peron (1919 - 1952) was the wife of Juan Peron of Argentina.

Continuing along the Calle de Alacá we enter the Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas (#5).  The Plaza de Toros was built in 1929.  Today it is considered to be the main bullfighting area in Madrid holding up to 23,000 spectators.   Much like our football and baseball stadiums are multi-functional during the "off-season" this is the site of rock concerts.  Behind the Plaza de Toros is the Museo Taurino (Bullfighting Museum).

Returning back down the Calle de Alcalá we turn south at the Plaza de Manuel Becerra onto Calle del Doctor Esquerdo..  At the corner of Calle de Goya we head one block east to the Palacio de los Deportes (the Sports Palace).  We turn south at the Calle de Montesa.  The Calle de Montesa may be named after the Military Order of Montesa, which was established in 1319 by King Jamie II.  This order is one of the four Spanish Military Orders, the other three being the Order of Calatrava, the Order of Santiago and the Order of Alcántara.  All of their establishments relate to the overthrown of the Moors from Spain.  They all exist today.

After one block we turn east (left) onto Calle de Jorge Juan and arrive at our final destination, El Museo Casa de la Moneda.  This is the Spanish Mint and Coin Museum.   The establishment of the Mint goes back to 1771.  It was actually opened to the public during the reign of Queen Isabella II, however the building it occupies now dates back only to 1964.  It contains exhibits of money, medals and printing.

Many of the streets in the Salamanca district are named after prominent national figures.  Because there are so many we will refer to sections of the map so that you may locate them.
Top of the Map between Calle de Serrano, Calle de Juan Bravo and Calle de Francisco Silvela:
Calle de General Oráa - Marcellino Oráa y Lecumberri (1788 - 1851).  He fought in the War of Independence, later commanded the Spanish Army and still later was a Senator.
Calle Diego de León - Diego Ponce de León (1474 - 1521) was the European discover of Florida.
Calle de Juan Bravo - Juan Bravo Murillo (1803 - 1873) was a politician and former Minister of the Treasury.

South of Calle de Juan Bravo and west of Calle de Francisco Silvela and Calle del Doctor Esquerdo:
Calle de José Ortega y Gasset - José Ortega y Gasset (1883 - 1955) was a writer and philosopher.  His writings are well known throughtout the world.
Calle Hermosilla - Maybe named after Bishop Hiernoymus (Jéronimo) Hermosilla (1780 - 1861).
Calle de Goya - Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes (1746 - 1828) is considered to be not only only one of the greatest Spanish painters, but also one of the world's greatest painters.
Calle de Jorge Juan - Jorge Juan y Santacila (1713 - 1773) was a sailor, scientist, mathematician, ambassador (to England), geograher and engineer.  His image appears on the diez mil pesetas (10.000) note.
Calle de Claudio Coello - Claudio Coello (1642 - 1693) was a Spanish baroque painter.
Calle Conde De Arande - Pedro Pablo Abaca de Bolea y Ximénez de Urrea (1719 - 1793), was a solider, ambassador, politician.  He served under 4 kings and was briefly Prime Minister under Carlos IV.
Calle Columela - Lucius Junius Moderatus Columela wrote a famous book about the Agriculture in Andalusia around 1 A.D.
Calle de O'Donnell - Leopoldo O'Donnell (1809 - 1867) was a general who fought for Queen Isabella II.  Although he first attempted to overthrown Esperato (see above) he later served as war minister under him.  In the Spanish campaign (1859 - 1860) he took command and captured Tetuán.  For this he was given the title Duque de Tetuán.   Before and after this he also served as Premier of Spain.

Unfortunately little is known of the people for whom the streets east of the Calle del Doctor Esquerdo and Calle de Francisco Sivelva are named.

For more information on the locations shown on the map, but not discussed above see the following links:
Biblioteca Nacional - Capital's Lifeline
Museo Arqueológico Nacional - Capital's Lifeline
Museo de Arte Infantil - Capital's Lifeline
Museo de Escultura al Aire Libre - Capital's Lifeline
Museo Sorolla - Capital's Lifeline
Puerta de Alcalá - Parque de Retiro

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