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Lost & Found

Lost & Found

Brand-new museum celebrates Madrid as the only European capital with Islamic origins

29 June 2023

Madrid’s new Museum of Royal Collections has unexpectedly become home to the most significant Muslim heritage site in the city. Next month, the King and Queen of Spain will unveil a recently rediscovered section of the founding settlement of Madrid – the oldest known part of the 9th-century Islamic wall. The find has prompted a shift in the narrative around the capital’s origins as an Islamic outpost, confirming that Madrid did indeed start out as a Muslim settlement.

Lost & Found

“Pateras: the shame of Europe”

26 June 2023

In 2018, the small port of Barbate in Cádiz hosted an eerie exhibition of disused pateras (small boats). The Town Hall’s plan was to raise public awareness around the phenomenon of irregular immigration and the human drama for people who risk their lives to cross the Strait.

Lost & Found

Madrid’s ‘killer’ tornado of 1886

29 November 2022

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.

Lost & Found

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

1 August 2022

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.

Lost & Found

Unforgotten Spain: An intact concentration camp has finally been put back on the map

26 April 2022

A tin of sardines from 1938 has just been unearthed. It’s so perfectly preserved that we can still see its original pink paint and decorative lettering, reading, ‘Sardinas en Aceite puro de oliva español (Sardines in pure Spanish olive oil). “It’s one of our best finds,” explains Luís Antonio Ruíz Casero, the leading archaeologist from CSIC out of a team of eight, who have been excavating the site for three weeks.

Lost & Found

When Franco bombed Madrid with bread

5 October 2021

Eighty-three years ago to the week, in 1938, Franco began bombing Madrid with bread whiter than anyone had seen before. A report in the newspaper Diario de Cadiz published at the time read…

Lost & Found

Spain’s Gitano Genocide

2 August 2021

In 1749, orders were given by King Fernando VI for “all the gitanos of the kingdom of Spain” to be exterminated as “the final solution” to a population that “wouldn’t conform”. The operation was coined the Gitano Raid and left 12,000 Roma women, men and children dead, thousands of families dispersed and the economy of the Spanish Roma community ruined.

Lost & Found

Encerrados en una cárcel que ya no existe

11 June 2021

Lo bueno de perderse por una ciudad es que, aunque te propongas un camino, no siempre llegas a donde esperas. Eso me sucedió hace poco, cuando quise ir a una iglesia y acabé encontrándome con dos cárceles, una que ya no existe y una que dicen que no lo es.

Lost & Found

Alcalá No Frills: the side of Alcalá de Henares the tourists never see

14 April 2021

Alcalá de Henares, just an hour from Madrid, is a city steeped in history and proud of it; it is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes and Catherine of Aragon and every year holds the largest Medieval market in Europe. But beyond the guidebook tales, the quaint Calle Mayor and the beautifully-manicured squares lies the real Alcalá, where a no-frills paradise awaits. Let me take you on a tour of my town and help you discover some of its lesser-known historical treasures.