History

Stolpersteine reveal Madrid’s Nazi war camp victims’ last chosen address

Over 75,000 Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) have been installed across Europe, marking where victims of Nazi war camps last lived by choice. Each small golden stone bears the name of the victim, their date of birth, the date of their camp deportation and when their lives ended – there are so far 12 in Madrid.

The story of Madrid’s hidden (and noseless) Virgin Mary statue

Worn paths strewn with broken bricks, bits of marble, litter and syringes crisscross the dusty land behind the building’s graffiti-scrawled bricks. A small temple-like structure draws the eye to the highest point. Inside it stands a battered five-foot tall white marble statue of the Virgin Mary, votive candles and carefully tended five-gallon buckets of red roses at her feet.

El Alamín: The utopian ghost town on the outskirts of Madrid

El Alamín, meaning 'the world' in Arabic, is an abandoned village on the outskirts of Madrid. A walk along the three streets of El Alamín reveals the world that a pro-Franco solider intended to build there in 1956. Juan Claudio Güell y Churruca, also known as the fourth Marquis de Comillas, fought on the national side during the Spanish Civil War. His militant legacy influenced the utilitarian architecture and planning of El Alamín: it's of a communist-style with a touch of Christianity, established to populate tobacco and cotton farmers.

The secret street stickers of Madrid’s people

Madrid-based writer and artist Lauren Klarfeld combines her love for the streets of Madrid with the people who walk them, and in this article, she reveals her secret project, Last Words For The Road.

A brief guide to Spain (written under Franco)

In 1965, Spain's tourism board published a handbook to Spain. It would become a highly collectable item of Franco's 'Visit Spain' campaign – one of the dictator's lasting legacies, seeding the mass tourism we're so familiar with today.

Seven secrets of Retiro Park

There's a bunker, a hidden chess club, a haunting forest and a forgotten city-centre zoo, among a few other secrets held by the gatekeeper of Retiro Park. But dive in with the darkest, most disturbing secret of all: the 'human zoo'...

The inspiring wartime art of bomb-proofing windows

Futurism had a mini renaissance during the Spanish Civil War. The traditionally fascist art movement was briefly revived in an unexpected and ironic manner: to protect the people from the fallout of General Francisco Franco's air raids. 

Haunting map of Madrid’s forgotten bunkers reveals Western Front

The sun is setting and I've spotted some wild rabbits – their white flickering tails really give them away. They're in an old trench digging diagonally into the pebbly soil, but possess no knowledge or concern over the possibility that they might be nesting alongside dismembered skeletons.

Map of bombed Madrid reveals a city secretly scarred

Enrique Bordes and Luis de Sobrón, creators of the map Madrid Bombardeado 1936-1939, are part of a growing movement to expose the lost stories of the Spanish Civil War. They're tracking down our city's hidden wounds and opening them back up in the hope that by redressing them properly, they can finally heal.