21 sept 2012

Cervantes' Madrid

The Barrio de las Letras, Madrid
Madrid, one of the most cosmopolitan capitals of the world, has a historical town hidden away right in the heart of the city, one which has something for everyone: the Barrio de las Letras.

Imagine a Madrid without big buildings or lots of traffic, a Madrid filled with long, winding streets where the theatre is the main attraction, hosting writers who formed part of the Golden Age of Spanish Literature, a purified Madrid, with tabernas and secrets within every plaza, with lovers and conspiracies on every corner.

This Madrid still lives in the zone called los Austrias (Habsburgo), the name of the dynasty that ruled in Spain during the 16th and 17th century, in what is now known as the Barrio de las Letras. Just in the Plaza de Santa Ana, the hub for all of Madrid’s tapas lovers, they act out theatrical premieres of works by authors such as Lope de Vega or Cervantes, and in the Plaza Mayor they celebrate all types of public festivities.

San Sebastián church in the Barrio de las Letras
At the centre of the Barrio de las Letras is calle Huertas, which is easily recognisable for its gold letters on the floor ajoined to all the important places of the History of Literature. Today Huertas and the adjoining streets, of León, Cervantes or Lope de Vega, provide you with a mix of the spirit of Quijote with modern ecological shops, vegetarian restaurants y tabernas of all kinds. It was just in the Barrio de las Letras that they printed the very first works of Cervantes, whose house you can still visit. In the old Cantarranas street, today known as Lope de Vega, a must-visit is San Sebastián church, where everybody mourned following the deaths of both Cervantes and Lope de Vega.

The modern day visitor to Madrid and the Barrio de las Letras can enjoy the literary spirit embedded in the streets, the cafes, the shops and monuments. Added to this, the “las Ranas Market” offers you a wide range of things from retail items, cultural bits and bobs, and food stalls to the more normal touristic attractions, all avilable on the first Saturday of every month.

Here are a few recommendations to enjoy the Barrio de las Letras in good company:

Cafetería el Azul de Fúcar
c/ Fúcar, 1 (Metro: Antón Martín) Madrid
Breakfasts, tapas or simply relax in one of the artistic hangout spots, which have a great, home-like feel to them, right in the centre of Madrid.

Aside from la Cafetería el Azul, the Barrio de las Letras has numerous other places which we recommend to you, like La Maripepa and Los Conspiradores, two bars that give everyone the chance to relax and unwind a bit after you have visited the sites in one of Madrid's most artistic areas. Our final recommendations are El Almacén Del Pan, a bakery which only offers handmade products to their customers, and la Arrocería Gala, the restaurant we showed you in our very first recommendation!
Such a great atmosphere throughout the Barrio de las Letras

I hope you enjoy everything that the Barrio de Las Letras, Cervantes and Madrid have to offer!

Author: Blanca

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