MADRID – One of Madrid’s main squares is being renovated. Every year the clock in Puerta del Sol forms the centre of the Spanish New Year’s Eve celebration.
Construction work has been halted to map the discoveries. The General Directorate of Heritage of the Madrid Region has now been informed. The city council said in a statement that the finds could correspond to “the foundations of an old building”. However, more details have not yet been given due to a lack of extensive analysis by specialists.
Furthermore, according to sources at the municipality, work has been stopped at this location, entirely by the protocols in force. However, this does not mean the project will be delayed. “We are waiting for the Madrid City Council to send us a report on how to proceed,” a city spokesperson explained to El Diario.
Buildings were sacrificed for more space on the square
The original foundations are located in an area where buildings stood before work on the square in the mid-19th century. They were then demolished to expand the existing space. The buildings can still be seen in some images by photographers from that time.
All the old structures that have been preserved on Puerta del Sol are located near the Tío Pepe building, opposite the government building of the Autonomous Community of Madrid. This is a narrow strip of approximately 20 metres long.
‘Madrid keeps almost nothing’
Coming from Madrid’s Ciudadanía y Patrimonio (MCyP), an entity that guards the capital’s cultural assets, they believe that re-buying or destruction will be the ultimate fate of these constructions. “Almost nothing of the archaeological layer has been preserved in Madrid, except for a few museum pieces that end up in a display case,” they note.
What usually happens is that the administration orders the dismantling and “only the documentation of what was there at the time the excavation was carried out remains,” they add.
No Efforts to Enhance Madrid’s Heritage
“Almost miraculously, in this city, the only remains are those of the Godoy Palace, part of the Caños del Peral fountain… and very few other things. However, no efforts are being made to increase the archaeological heritage in situ,” they lament from MCyP.
Remains of a church moved to park
Moreover, on Puerta del Sol itself, there are some examples. Such as the remains of the Iglesia del Buen Suceso, which was demolished to enlarge the square. Four of its columns were moved to municipal warehouses. Five years ago they got a new home in the Jardines del Arquitecto Ribera, in Tribunal.
Furthermore, the Puerta del Sol makeover began in late March and is expected to last 12 months. Consequently, the area will be made completely car-free.
The Puerta del Sol is not only in the heart of Madrid, but is the zero point in all of Spain: from here the mileage starts to all other places in the country. Everyone also knows the clock of the Casa de Correos, where the countdown to the new year takes place on New Year’s Eve and the traditional 12 grapes are eaten at the last 12 chimes. The 4-metre-high bear and strawberry tree, the symbol of the Spanish capital, can also be found on the Puerta del Sol.
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