Madrid has a visible face that every tourist perceives when he comes to visit the city. El Oso y el Madroño, kilometer zero, its impressive museums and its tapas bars are some of its biggest attractions. However, under all these interesting places hide hidden secrets that almost nobody knows. For those who do not know Madrid or for those who only know the visible part, this article explores some of those places that keep something else.
1. The origin of tapas
Who does not like to enjoy a good tapa with a well-drawn cane? They say that it was King Alfonso X “El Sabio” who, on the recommendation of his doctor, issued a royal decree obliging him to put on aperitifs whenever wine was consumed. It was the monarch’s doctor, who suffered from stomach burning from drinking all day, who made this recommendation. However, others date their origin in Cádiz, when King Alfonso XIII covered the wine with a slice of ham to prevent sand from falling from the beach into the glass. So much liked this idea to his majesty that he moved this custom to Madrid. Whoever it was, all foreigners and Spaniards applauded the idea.
2. What is the name of the Rastro de Madrid?
The famous market of Madrid was born in 1740 around the Matadero de la Villa, which at the time was located in the Lavapiés neighborhood. The works in the Slaughterhouse left great traces of blood by the streets of the zone. That’s where the name Rastro comes from.
3. Do you know that Madrid has a cemetery for foreigners?
It’s called the English Cemetery. It is in the neighborhood of San Isidro and in it are buried, among others, members of the well-known family of fashion, Loewe. The remains of the founder of the Price Circus also lie there. From 1796 its management depends on the British embassy and initially it was planned to build in the Plaza de Colón, where they had already bought the land. All non-Catholic foreigners were buried there. In total there remain the remains of more than 1,000 people of 49 different nationalities. You can visit Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10.30 am to 1 pm.
4. The Spanish Robin Hood, was from Madrid
His name was Luis Candelas and he was the Spanish Robin Hood. A highwayman in the style of Curro Jiménez who claimed to have no crime of blood. He was born and raised in Lavapiés. It was the “Don Juan” of the neighborhood. So much so that he even shared lovers with King Ferdinand VII. He had a gang with which he committed robberies and misdeeds, they say that to rob the rich and give it to the poor. He was condemned to die in the vile garrotte under the Toledo gate. So well known was that until today a restaurant on Calle Cuchilleros bears his name. The legend tells that his biggest booty lies in some corner of La Pedriza. Go ahead and look, you may have luck.
5. El Mouse Pérez lives in Madrid
His home is on Calle Arenal number 8. There he lives in a large box of cookies from the Prast confectionery with his whole family. He is the first fictitious personage to whom the city council of Madrid pays him homage with a plaque. This little rodent receives letters with teeth every week. It has a museum house that can be visited where they keep teeth of such illustrious characters as Isaac Newton. Its origin dates back to when King Alfonso XIII was a child and the Jesuit Coloma wrote this story for him when his first tooth fell. From his home, the Perez mouse issues Certificates of Origin for falling baby teeth and Happy Fall cards.
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