Every place has its own curiosities, secrets and anecdotic stories that make it special and unique. In Madrid there are more than 9,000 streets, many of them with stories that no other city can tell. Here we will show you Madrid’s most curious streets, as well as the stories hidden behind them. All of them share an anecdotic origin that give them its current name and that deserve to be remembered.
This street, as many other in the area, takes its name from the habit of the Bishop’s Palace of giving food to the beggars around. In this street, as it could not be any other way, they shared out raisins. In Habsburg Spain, since civil marriage was not in force, only the ecclesiastical union was valid. Due to this fact, anyone who wanted to get married had to pass by the Calle de la Pasa where the archbishopric had its seat. Hence the old popular saying: “El que no pasa por la Calle de la Pasa no se casa” (those who do not go past the raisin street, will not get married).
Rompelanzas street is a few metres away from the Puerta del Sol and it connects the Calle Preciados Street with Carmen Street. It is the shortest street in Madrid with almost ten metres long. Its name honors the ease with which the axles of the 16th century carriages that passed through there were broken due to potholes and narrowness. The axles are called called lances, therefore the street was given that name. The facts that led to to the establishment of this name were the breaks in the axes of the corregidor and the president of the Council of the Indies.
This curious street that until 17th century was called Fuente del Cura is located in the heart of Malasaña. It holds the story of Don Juan Coronel and his daughter Blanca. The street was purchased by Don Juan with the aim to build his house there. However, the fish in the pond in the street were disappearing until Blanca rescued the last one. The fish died after several days and don Juan’s daughter, depressed by the event, entered a convent. As a souvenir, a fish was carved on the façade of her house. Hence the street would take the name. It is undoubtedly one of the Madrid’s most curious streets.
Behind the Gran Vía is the Desengaño street, one of the oldest and most curious in Madrid. It is name is linked to the fight among two knights for a lady, a legend with different versions. It is said that during the combat among the knights, a mysterious figure appeared. Knights decided to follow it instead of keep fighting. It was a big disappointment realizing that the shadow was not a beautiful woman, but a mummy that nickname forever the street. This street became popular because of the TV series Aquí no hay quien viva.
Between Gran Vía and Calle del Carmen is the Calle de la Salud. In order to understand why it was given name we should go back to the 15th century. A strong epidemic of the Black Death came to the city during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs. While most of the population become ill, those living in that street got rid of it. They survived thanks to its own crops, livestocks and the first safe drinking water sources in the city.
According the legend, in the 16th century some Portuguese stallholders came to Madrid bringing a rhinoceros. After the show, they left the animal inside a walled area that today is this street. A neighbour who worked in a bread oven decided to give it a freshly brewed piece, but it burned the animal. The rhinoceros got angry and killed him, as well as other people. Then the animal ran off. Therefore, the street received the name abado, the Portuguese word for the female rhinoceros. Spanish writer Quevedo wrote stories in relation to this event.
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