Paseo de la Castellana is one of the most important avenues in Madrid. It is not only a symbol of progress and modernity, but it is also the unquestionable financial central point of Madrid. All along the length of its six kilometres, Paseo de la Castellana is lined with skyscrapers, office blocks, shopping centres and banks, as well as many modern buildings. All this defines it as the executive area of the XXI century. However, this important avenue has undergone great changes throughout the years. A long time ago there existed pastoralism, vegetable gardens, orchards, open spaces and streams. In the blog of Estate One we have seen what Gran Vía avenue was like. Today, we will take another Walk into the Past to see what Paseo de la Castellana looked like.
THE DIVISION OF THE CITY INTO THREE AREAS
In 1860, the city of Madrid was divided into three distinct areas: the old quarter, the enlargement and the suburbs. Paseo de la Castellana was built in order to join these three areas and to cross the city from north to south.
At first, in the XIX century, it was called Paseo de la Delicias de la Princesa. The aristocracy of finance lived in the suburbs, which was far away from the centre of the city. Therefore, when the great avenue was built, they also built their own luxurious houses and palaces. Nowadays, the stables of these palaces have been transformed into the offices of official and financial organisations. In order to be aware of this incredible transformation, we will see how at the beginning, Paseo de la Castellana, was located in the outskirts of the city.
FROM THE RACECOURSE TO NUEVOS MINISTERIOS
In 1878, the Racecourse of La Castellana was built, due to the growing liking for horse racing of the upper middle class of Madrid. In 1933, the Racecourse was demolished in order to extend Paseo de la Castellana towards the north. At that time, ministerial units were built.
These also have a junction with the underground railway. At present, this train station is called Nuevos Ministerios and it is the most modern in Madrid. However, its construction was delayed due to the Spanish Civil War. Therefore, it was not finished until 1942. From then on, La Castellana continued to extend towards the north and great buildings lined it such as the commercial area called Azca and Palacio de Congresos as well as houses and an area for private enterprise.
Among these, the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium was built. As time passed, it had to be enlarged in order to hold the growing number of football supporters. Azca was inspired by the Rockefeller Centre of New York and its first building was El Corte Inglés department store. It is difficult to believe that in the olden days in the area of Azca there existed pastoralism and that military manoeuvres took place there.
The third section of La Castellana reaches Plaza de Castilla. Here, the trams turned round to go back because the city ended there. In the 70´s, the first skyscrapers of the area were built. Currently, Paseo de la Castellana has six central lanes and four side lanes. It also has 100 office blocks and 285.000 people go along it each day.
A VERY GLAMOROUS HOTEL
The Hotel Gran Meliá Fenix is located in Paseo de la Castellana Nº 2. It was inaugurated in 1953 and it was the favourite hotel of famous film stars such as Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant or Gloria Swanson as well as The Beatles, who went there in 1965.
Pictures 01, 02 and 03: Madrid Antiguo
Pictures 04, 05 and 06: Urbanicidades
Picture 07: Telemadrid
Picture 08: Álvaro Ibáñez