Walls del Arrabal

The Walls del Arrabal were the third in a set of walls built to surround the Spanish capital of Madrid. It is possible that the walls may have been built as early as the 12th century. However, it is more credibly suggested that they were constructed in 1438. The walls may have been used to help protect people against an epidemic of plagues that ravaged the city at the time. A hospital was built for plague victims and the walls would unite the urbanized suburbs of the city and prevent the entry of the infected. The hospital was named del Buen Suceso, and stood outside the walls facing the Puerta del Sol. It remained until 1854 when it was shut down.


In the 15th century, the city of Madrid continued to grow to the east, as it had been since the 9th century. The population increased to reach beyond the limits of the walls. Throughout the second half of the century, the population increased from five thousand, reaching twelve thousand inhabitants by the early 16th century. Madrid was small, but was considered important among the Medieval Castilian cities, as it was one of seventeen voting places for Courts, which were held in Madrid on occasion.

A new wall called del Arrabal surrounded the land that since the 12th century it was populated outside Christian walled enclosure.

Some writers place its construction in the mid-12th century, under Henry IV of Castile; Urgorri in his work dedicated to the "Ensanche de Madrid en Tiempos de Juan II y Enrique IV", but left out the suburb of Santo Domingo, drew the Walls del Arrabal considering that already existed in 1440, in times of John II of Castile. In the same vein, the professor Montero Vallejo said that was laid in 1438, reigning John II, and was built with mainly administrative and sanitary purposes, due to a great plague, one of the many misfortunes that struck Madrid during the 15th century.

The Walls, built during the reign of Henry IV of Castile (mid-15th century), started from the gate Puerta Cerrada, still about by the present calles Concepción Jerónima, Conde de Romanones, Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, Calle Carretas, Plaza de la Puerta del Sol, Calle Preciados or Carmen, Plaza de Santo Domingo, Cuesta de Santo Domingo and Plaza de Isabel II, where was united the Medieval Walls.[1]

Later, around 1520, the southern part of the wall was extended to enclose more of the city, starting from the Puerta de Moros, following to the present calles San Millán, Duque de Alba, Plaza de Tirso de Molina, and Calle Conde Romanones, continuing with the original course of the mid-15th century.

Gates and postigos

In the early 16th century, this wall surrounding an area of 70 hectares and had the next 8 gates and access postigos:

In the early 15th century, there was a gate in the Walls del Arrabal at the beginning of the current Calle Toledo, giving out the road to the city of Toledo. Subsequently, this gate was moved down to place it in front of the Plaza de la Cebada, around the site where was the Hospital de la Latina, and where it currently is the Teatro de la Latina; This gate is known as Puerta de la Latina.

The Postigo de San Millán was located near the present Plaza de Cascorro, off the calles of San Millán and Duque de Alba; owing its name to a nearby hermitage.

The Puerta de Atocha was located in the present Plaza de Jacinto Benavente. From it started the way to Vallecas through "atochares" that were crop fields of Esparto grass.

The Puerta del Sol was located in the present Plaza de la Puerta del Sol, and was demolished in 1570. Its name was because it was facing east, toward the sunrise.

The Postigo de San Martín was originally located in the crossing of the current Calle San Martín and Calle Navas de Tolosa; It was later transferred to the height of the current Plaza del Callao. Its name came from a nearby convent with the same name.

The Puerta de Santo Domingo was located in the present Plaza de Santo Domingo, and was out the way of Hortaleza and the Sierra de Guadarrama. Its name came from the nearby convent of Santo Domingo el Real.[2]

There are no remaining ruins of these walls.

See also


External links

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