The capital city of Spain is majestic and can amaze everyone by its grace. Madrid might be called a perfect place to explore the key points about Spain because this city includes all regions, traditions, and flavors. However, many noisy plazas, historic restaurants, and grand palaces hide twisted stories about great fires, missing bodies, or Inquisition. Once you will see Madrid in different colors, you are going to love this city forever.
Flames and Walls of Fire
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the source where a small village has turned into a city. The initial purpose of the building was a fortress built by Moors in the 11th century to protect the settlement from Christians. But the current palace does not seem like a medieval wooden fortress because a terrible fire happened in 1734. After this fire, the king Philip IV wanted a new castle in this place, so he invented architects from France and Italy, as a result, the current palace has a few mixed styles.
Another place that faced a lot of fire is the Plaza Mayor, one of the main squares in Madrid. Centuries ago, the Inquisition trials were held here. The Inquisition was extremely powerful in Spain, so thousands of people had been convicted by the Spanish Inquisition and were burned alive right here in the middle of the city. The flames and Madrid are inseparable. If you step out of the Calle Mayor to the quite Calle Cava Baja, you can enjoy one of the narrowest streets in Madrid that will lead to a square full of tapas bars. On one of the walls here you can see an old motto of Madrid “Fui sobre agua edificada, mis muros de fuego son” which means “On the water I was built, my walls are made of fire”. It refers to the fact that Madrid had underground aquifers running beneath it, therefore there is a part about water. The walls of fire refer to the old medieval walls of Madrid that were made with flint and when an arrow hit flint, it sparked, and the walls were covered by flames.
The local people are joking that it is better not to die in Madrid unless you want to be lost. This dark humor came from true stories. One of the most famous missing body is the great Spanish painter Diego de Velazquez. He died in 1660 and was buried beneath a church at the Plaza de Ramales. This church was demolished in 1810 but the body of Velazquez was forgotten. In 1999 archeologists tried to dig the place, but the body of the painter was not found.Another missing body is the most famous Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. According to some sources, Cervantes supposed to be buried in the Trinitarian convent in 1616. However, a few hundred years later, a renovation was done, and the body was lost. In 2015, historians found a little piece of the wooden coffin with letters M.C., but the body is still missing.
Francisco de Goya might be called the third Spanish artists related to the great mysteries. He died in Bordeaux in the 1820s, but Spanish people wanted him to rest back in Spain. When the body was dug up, the head was missing. Seems like all Spanish artists were living adventurous lives before and after their deaths.