Town Hall Square, Madrid
This rugged entrance-way on the opposite side of the square from City Hall is part of the very old Casa de los Lujanes, home to the family of Alvaro de Lujan for almost 200 years. Both it and an attached tower (partially visible in the 2nd photo) were built in the 1400s in the Muslim-influenced Mudéjar style of that era. The house is reported to have been where King Francois 1st of France was imprisoned for a short time after his 1525 capture during the Battle of Pavia (during a six year war over who was going to control Italy).
The 4-metre (13-ft) tall bronze statue on a white marble pedestal, visible in both the 2nd and 3rd photos, is an 1891 monument to Álvaro de Bazán, the commander of the Spanish Armada during it's disasterous attack on Queen Elizabeth I's England in 1588. Behind it to the left (in the 3rd photo) is the third building (and second-oldest) in Plaza de Villa - called Casa de Cisneros. It was built in 1537 by the nephew of the powerful Cardinal Cisneros of Toledo, based on what is called a Plateresque decorative design. The large tower at the right is part of Madrid's still functioning City Hall building.
After absorbing the history of this interesting little plaza, Sue and I walked on just a bit more and then took a brief lunch break in a Tapas bar before continuing onward to the Royal Palace and Madrid's Cathedral, whose history is intertwined with Cardinal Cisneros.
Only a few blocks away from Puerta del Sol, we stumbled upon the very interesting small Plaza de la Villa - site of the city's first town hall since the 1300s. Today's plaza is enclosed on three sides by some of Madrid's most interesting buildings, especially the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) shown here, built between 1640-70. It is a mixture of brick, wrought iron and stone architecture in the Habsburg-style, with two impressive Herrerian slate-tile spires jutting from the roof top. Because it is still Madrid's working city council chambers, it is not open to tourists. Just getting there was fun, especially when there are interesting things to see along the way, such as the arched portal over one of the streets we walked along (2nd photo).
On our orienteering city tour one of the stop was Casa de la Villa the old Town Hall of Madrid. Unfortunately the area was under renovation and it was close. From outside I could see the surrounding buildings. In my opinion the architecture and the design is not as grand as many buildings in Madrid which made it more interesting. Also the town hall look old. At the centre square stood Benlliure's statue of Álvaro de Bazán, commander of the Spanish Armada.
Originally the Casa de la Villa served the City of Madrid as both prison and Town Hall. Located in historic Plaza de la Villa, between Plaza del Sol and Plaza de Oriente.
The old Town Hall is one of the tourist attractions. I think it’s worthwhile a visit.
Madrid has always been conscious of its humble origins and the lack of glory in its past. It has never been a pretentious place and it has not even dared to call itself a city. People in Spain still refer to Madrid as la Villa y Corte, which means the Town and Court. In fact, for centuries Madrid was just a large town where the Monarchy and its Court happened to have its seat.
The vertiginous changes that Madrid has undergone in the last decades are ending with much of this small-town character, which is probably deemed to disappear. Yet, one of the main squares in the city is still called Plaza de la Villa (Town Square). This name commemorates the granting of the title of villa to Madrid by King Alfonse VIII in the 13th century. King Henry IV added to the honour by extending the title with the epithets of very Noble and very Loyal. The distinction between towns and cities was only relevant under the Ancient Regime, when cities had a broader range of privileges and more autonomy to rule their own affaires. Villas, however, were still in a higher category as villages and hamlets. It is obvious that, today, despite still being called villa, Madrid is not only the largest city in Spain, but also the fourth largest in Western Europe.
The Plaza de la Villa is a cozy corner of Madrid which opens to Calle Mayor and gathers some of the town's oldest civil buildings, including the Town's House (Casa de la Villa), where the Town Council has traditionally met. .
In the centre of the square stands a bronze statue depicting don Álvaro de Bazán, a famous sailor who took part in the battle of Lepanto.
The Casa de Cisneros is an urban Renaissance palace which fashions Plateresco details, a Spanish architectural style characterised by the intricate stone carvings used in the decoration. It was let built by a nephew of the famous Cardinal of Cisneros, regent of Spain after the death of the Catholic Kings.
The building currently belongs to the Municipality of Madrid and is connected with the Casa de la Villa by a fairy-tale-like 20th century stone bridge. As far as I know, the interior cannot be visited either.
The House and Tower of Lujanes are the oldest buildings on the Town Square, and in the whole of Madrid, for the same matter. They are some of the few Medieval buildings remaining in Madrid.
They date back to the early 15th century and built, when they were built by the Lujanes, a merchant family from Aragon. The buildings fashion an understated Mudéjar style, with an impressive Gothic portal with a carved string around the door, as it was the fashion in Castile in those years.
These buildings currently host the Royal Academy of Politic and Moral Science and, as far as I know, cannot be visited.
The Town House (Casa de la Villa) is the most modern of the constructions on the Plaza de la Villa, but also the most prominent, as it has housed for centuries the local government of the Municipality of Madrid.
The building is modest in size, but blends in harmoniously with the rest of the attractive buildings in the cozy plaza. The style is quintessentially Madrilenian Baroque, with austere reddish brick and granite façades and elegant corner towers crowned by pyramidal pinnacles. The façade also features an impressive carved coat of arms of the city. As a matter of fact, the Casa de la Villa was a project of Juan Gómez de Mora, the same architect who designed most of the Plaza Mayor.
Only recently has the Mayor moved his office to a grander building (the former Palacio de Telecomunicaciones on Plaza de la Cibeles), but with less historical significance. Still, the City Council will hold temporarily its plenary meetings in this Baroque palace until the conditioning works of the Palacio de Telecomunicaciones are finished. Then, it is planned that the building and the adjacent Casa de Cisneros be transformed into a Museum of the City of Madrid.
For the time being, there are weekly free-of-charge guided tours of the Casa de la Villa (every Monday) that show the most valuable treasures of the building, including the Plenary Room, whose dome is decorated with beautiful late 17th century frescoes by Antonio Palomino; the Patio de Cristales, former atrium of the building, now covered by an elaborated glass dome; and the Goya Hall, so called because it hosts a Goya painting depicting the Allegory of Madrid.
The 15th century Torre de los Lujanes counts among the oldest buildings in Madrid. The Mudéjar style tower may have been the minaret of a mosque. It is located on Plaza de la Villa, opposite the Ayuntamiento.
The guide book says yuo can only visit City Hall if you're on a guided tour. This is true. When we got there however, we found that there were only Spanish speaking tours running. We signed up for one anyway figuring at least we could go inside. When the tour started our guide started giving the tour in English. It was a nice surprise. See? Everything works out in the end...
Built in the 17th century by the same architect who designed Plaza Mayor, Madrid's Ayuntamiento (city hall) exhibits similar features as the buildings surrounding the Plaza. The Ayuntamiento is located on Plaza de la Villa opposite the Torre de los Lujanes and has a strategic view of Calle Mayor where Easter processions take place.
This exquisite 16th century building was originally constructed for the Cardinal Benito Jiménez de Cisneros. Later in its history, it was acquired by Madrid's Ayuntamiento as a supplemental building to the city hall function.
The Town Hall Square ( Plaza de la Villa ) lies in a quet area of Madrid. The Villa, a Renaissance Palace was designed to be the Town Hall and the jail in 1640. It is worth visiting medieval streets in the area and admire the beautiful archtecture all around ! !
This square has the Casa de la Villa, design to be the town hall and the jail on the 1640.
It is very easy to reach from the Plaza del sol, heading to Calle Mayor in direction to the Almudena Cathedral
At the photo you can see the town hall, but at my left (sorry you can not see it) is the Torre de los Lujanes, a 15th-century building in Mudejar style, that whenever I visit the light is no good for photography lol
From here head down calle Mayor till the Almudena cathedral, you will see a lovely building at your right of a Italian institution (do not remember) and later at your right a military church
Now lets move on to the ALMUDENA CATHEDRAL down street
Plaza de la Villa was also nearby. I remember coming upon it and thinking that for such an ornate city the town hall seemed rather uninspired. I have since learned that the simple appearance of the town hallwas due to a lack of available funds for municipal buildings during the 17th century.
The little square where you'll find the town hall and other building of note is worth a quick visit. The architecture is well preserved and the small medieval streets all around are good for wandering.
The only inconvenience is that this is one of the major tourist areas.