PLAZA MAYOR, Plaza De La Villa

Audio File length: 2.37
English / USA Language: English / USA

Welcome to Plaza de la Villa, a beautiful, secluded, trapezoid-shaped sloped square which opens onto three roads: Calle del Codo, Calle del Cordón, and Calle de Madrid. The roads and square form a picturesque setting that brings us back to a time when Madrid was a simple "villa" with a still-medieval appearance.

The statue at the center of this pedestrian square, surrounded by an always-in-bloom flower bed, is dedicated to the commander of the Spanish fleet that defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto in the second half of the 16th century. In fact, the Turkish flag lies at his feet, and the pedestal bears the verses the great playwright Lope de Vega dedicated to him.

The buildings overlooking the square belong to different eras, but make up a harmonious whole. On one side you have the seventeenth century Casa de la Villa, the former seat of the municipality; a portico onto Calle Mayor was added here so that the royal family could watch the Corpus Christi procession.

Before you is Casa de Cisneros dating back to the 1500s, which is famous for having been turned... backwards; in fact, the facade that you see now was once the back! But in the late nineteenth century a whimsical architect "turned the tables", connecting it to Casa de la Villa with a suspended arch. Don't forget to go along Calle Sacramento to admire the lovely original façade in a very ornate style, similar to decorated silverware and called "Plateresque".

The building on your left is the oldest of them all: it is Casa de Lujanes, a rare example of 15th century civil architecture in Madrid. Legend says that the Arabic style tower was once used to imprison King Francis I of France after he was defeated in the battle of Pavia.

Before you go have a look at what was once the facade of Casa de Cisneros, take a look at the horseshoe-shaped arch that opens onto Calle del Codo and the tower.

FUN FACT: if you enter Casa de la Villa, don't miss the super-famous painting by Goya: "Allegory of the city of Madrid".

And with this we have finished our tour of Plaza Mayor and its surroundings: MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!


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