Madrid, SpainA quick stroll through the history of the Casa de la Panaderia
Where the roads from Toledo and Atocha once crossed at the outskirts of the town was once the site of Madrid’s main market. That is where our story begins, a story of three fires and several reconstructions up to today.
The history of Madrid’s Plaza Mayor and its most iconic building, the first and only one not to have the red walls typical of the place.
When the time came to transform the Plaza del Arrabal, architects began designing a new building that would house the Tahona General de la Villa, the town’s main flour mill and bakery. In 1590, the first stones of the Casa de la Panadería were laid. It had an arcaded ground floor and angular towers at the corners. These still stand today, right in the center of the Plaza Mayor’s north face in Madrid.
The iconic square has survived three major fires throughout its history. After the first two in 1631 and 1670, the Casa de la Panadería had to be rebuilt. It was rescued from the flames the last time in 1790. Even so, the building has had to be restored multiple times over the centuries.
The last restoration in 2017 was done by Ferrovial. The building was renovated from head to toe and from outside in. All the slate tiles of the roof were replaced. Files, ridges, and dormers were repaired. The tops of the two spires were restored, and the iconic Sala de Bóvedas, the vaulted hall, and the square’s arcades were repaired.
In its 400 years, it has had almost as many reforms and restorations as it has uses. The house intended to be used as a bakery also ended up being the headquarters of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Royal Academy of History, and Madrid’s City Council. It was then a municipal library and an archive. Today, it is the Spanish capital’s main tourist center. This symbol of the city shines as it always has.