Madrid’s appearance throughout the centuries has changed drastically due primarily to its political situation in history, and of course, as a consequence of modernization. In the next series of articles I’d like to give a brief description of the different architectural styles found in Madrid’s history and how they have evolved throughout the centuries. Today’s article will be a brief description of the Moorish presence in Madrid during the medieval period. In the next blog article, I’ll be touching on the arrival of the Christians in Madrid.
The Medieval Period: The Moors
Although the Romans and Visigoths lived in the area of Madrid prior to the arrival of the Moors in the 9th century, there is practically no evidence of their presence within the city with the exception of the skeleton of a young Visigoth male found next to the Royal Palace some years ago. It is also thought that the Visigoths had a small village in the area called Matrice. The Moors, who occupied Madrid between the 9th and the 11th century, on the other hand, have left evidence of their occupation of Madrid and can be considered the founders of what is now known as Madrid.
Mayrit or Magerit, as it was known back then, was used as a defensive bastion against the Christian armies. Their most important architectural legacy to the history of Madrid is, without any doubt, the Moorish Wall, which still stands in some places and was used for defensive purposes. Built in the 9th century between 852 and 886, the wall can be seen in several places, being the most evident site the area which lies right next to the Cathedral of the Almudena. It can also be seen inside the Royal Collections Museum right in front of the cathedral. There is also additional evidence of the Moorish presence in Madrid if you decide to look a little harder. If you go to the underground parking lot in the Plaza de Oriente, you can view the remains of a Muslim tower built in the 11th century.
A lot of visitors to Madrid are surprised to discover that we do have a Moorish wall. Madrid, as many pleasantly discover, is a treasure trove of surprises. Come on out with us and do some great running and see Madrid like you’ve never seen it with Madrid Running Tours!