The Madrid Casa Árabe, previously known as Escuelas de Aguirre, is located in Calle Alcalá. It seems very appropriate that this building, along with Plaza de Toros de las Ventas, is the maximum exponent in Madrid of the Neo-Mudéjar style.
The façade is reminiscent of Arab culture such as the Moorish arches or the reddish bricks which are both very typical of Neo-Mudejar buildings in Madrid. It is worthwhile visiting the Casa Árabe not only because of its beauty but also on account of numerous interesting issues concerning this building which are also part of the history of Madrid. For this reason today, in our blog Places with History, where we once wrote about Mercado de la Cebada, we will talk about the Casa Árabe otherwise known as Escuelas de Aguirre.
AN ENCLOSURE ENTIRELY DEVOTED TO EDUCATION
The Madrid Casa Árabe is located in 62, Calle Alcalá next to Parque del Retiro. It was built in 1886 thanks to Lucas Aguirre y Juárez who bequeathed large part of his wealth to the city of Madrid on condition that it was invested in education.
When the philologist passed away, the Madrid city council had this building constructed where students could receive lessons, learn and gain knowledge. It was then called Escuelas de Aguirre in his memory. The architect was Emilio Rodriguez Ayuso who also designed and built the old bullring later called Las Ventas.
Both buildings are Neo-Mudéjar style. The construction of Escuelas de Aguirre lasted five years. It stood out at the time due to its modernity as it had a weather station, a music hall and a school museum. All of this was very rare in those days. As the years went by, the building stopped being used as an educational institution and in the end the city council dedicated it to administrative purposes. In 2008, it was decided that it would house the Madrid Casa Árabe.
ALL THE ARAB WORLD INSIDE A HOUSE
The Casa Árabe is a stunning building with an appealing history. It is located next to Parque del Retiro and Puerta de Alcalá. The Casa de América is situated not far from there, only fifteen minutes away on foot. If you wish to learn about other cultures you could consider spending one morning or one afternoon visiting both places.
In the Casa Árabe we can achieve a better understanding of Arabic as well as music, dancing and art all of which are closely related to Spanish culture. You can also enjoy lectures, debates, courses, exhibitions, seminars, concerts and films all connected with the Arab world. If Arab culture appeals to you, do not hesitate to visit 62, Calle Alcalá. For more information, please visit their Web page.
Pictures 01 and 06: Luis García
Picture 02: Daderot
Pictures 03, 04 and 05: Los Mininos
Picture 07: Antonio Tajuelo