Madrid No Frills

La tienda no-frills de regalos

Todo lo que pides se imprime en mi imprenta del barrio. Todos los embalajes proceden de mi papelería familiar de Lavapiés. Todos los pedidos se envían por Correos. Y los demás se entregan en persona por mí, Leah!

Madrid’s ‘killer’ tornado of 1886

On Wednesday May 12, 1886, according to several reports at the time, the whole of Spain woke up to strong storms. By 6pm that same day, a tornado touched down in the capital and began a diagonal line of destruction between the then-town of Carabanchel and Madrid’s city-centre Retiro Park.

“In Lavapiés, all of us have the right to be safe”

I’ve been a resident of Lavapiés for almost 10 years. In that time, even though a lot has changed, there have been a lot of constants. Police are everywhere. Gentrification – the systematic loss of the barrio’s traditional bars, shops and markets – is a day-to-day reality here. On most streets, spray-painted bedsheets hang from balconies expressing an array of concerns from noise pollution and touristification to drug dealing and evictions. Large tour groups that snake through our streets and cluster on our squares have long incorporated the stories of our struggles into their voyeuristic spiel.

The unspoken story of Madrid’s Muslim cemetery

Following a spike in burials during Madrid’s first wave of Covid-19, the Griñón cemetery ran out of space, but instead of finding a new site, “there have been discussions about exhuming bodies that have already been there for 10 years, but not necessarily informing the families,” says Maysoun. “Another option discussed was to demolish the mosque, but [really] we just need more space.” Beyond a lack of space or access to Islamic burials, however, there’s something else that haunts the families of those buried in Griñón – it's where Franco's Moroccan troops are buried.

Spain’s plan for menstrual leave is good, but it can go further

In May this year, the Spanish cabinet approved a menstrual leave law – the first of its kind in Europe. If it passes in the country’s parliament, people suffering from painful periods will from next year be entitled to a minimum of three days of menstrual leave per month, with the possibility of extending this to five days if necessary.

The eviction of La Quimera

"I don't know what time it was but all I heard was ‘BOOM – BOOM – BOOM – CRASH’" said one of the informal residents of La Quimera, holding a small suitcase containing all of his personal belongings. “Then [the police] came inside and told us to leave."

The giant Retiro Park monument to Colombus that (fortunately) never was

Paris has the Eiffel Tower; New York has the Statue of Liberty. But Madrid almost had this: a 200-meter-high globe in the middle of Retiro Park. This “Monumento a Colón” was designed before 1892 to commemorate 400 years since Columbus landed in the Americas, and to attempt to justify the Spanish Empire at a time when it was crumbling.

Cities across Spain gather over the largest mass loss of life the Spanish border has ever seen

At least 37 people were killed attempting to cross from Africa to Europe on Friday. Most victims were from Sudan, South Sudan and Chad – countries involved in armed conflicts. If the victims had made it to Spain, they would likely have received international protection. Instead, authorities formed a massive human block locking in those who were falling from the wire fences. They were trapped on a slope by the border fence on the Moroccan side and were crushed to death.