5 little-known free museums to visit in Madrid

Temple of Debod

Madrid has a network of municipally-owned museums where you can learn about the history of the city, the formation of the stars, Goya's talent or the culture of ancient Egypt without having to spend a single euro and invest several days in the visit. It is enough to dedicate a little bit of our time to them to spend an entertaining and different day. Can you come with us?

Temple of Debod

The Temple of Debod has become one of the icons of Madrid. Within the municipal museums it is a unique case because it was built in the second century BC in the Nubian region. Throughout the XNUMXth century, this territory would become the favorite tourist destination of the western upper classes, Debod being one of the temples that used to be visited. The postcards, drawings and watercolors of the time show us what it was like then and the progressive deterioration that it suffered especially in the second half of the century.

In order to regulate the flow of the Nile, in 1898 a dam was started at the First Cataract. This and its elevations in the following decades would have dramatic effects on archaeological sites and Nubian temples, some of which ended up submerged under water.

The Debod temple was one of the first to be rescued during the summer of 1960, although not all of its architectural elements could be recovered. The starting blocks of the foundations, the remains of the terrace and the access road were lost. Instead, its ashlars were deposited off Aswan on Elephantine Island. There they remained for a decade with those of other rescued temples waiting to leave for their new destination.

In 1964 the Spanish government formally requested the Egyptian temple of Debod as a donation, having contributed to the rescue campaign of the Nubian monuments and the archaeological mission destined, between 1960 and 1965, to the second cataract. In 1967 the request was accepted and the following year the temple was handed over to the Spanish State. In this way, a Spanish team traveled to Egypt to take over the temple and between June 20 and 28, the 1350 boxes containing the stones of the temple arrived in Madrid, which were deposited in the Prince Pio Mountain where they were formerly found the Mountain Barracks. Once the assembly work was completed, the public was able to access it and enjoy this ancient jewel.

Entrance to the Temple of Debod is free. Inside the visitor can find information about Egyptian mythology and society, as well as interesting explanations about the hieroglyphs. On the upper floor there is a model where you can see all the temples that were in Nubia. Without a doubt, very interesting.

Madrid History Museum

Located in what was Hospicio de San Fernando during the reign of Felipe V in the middle of Calle de Fuencarral, the Madrid History Museum was built by the architect Pedro de Ribera in the XNUMXth century. The main door, which is considered one of the best examples of the Spanish Baroque, is especially striking.

In 1926 the Spanish Society of Friends of Art decided to organize an exhibition about old Madrid and the building was restored for the occasion by the City Council. The exhibition was so successful that it was decided to allocate the facilities to the creation of a Municipal Museum that was inaugurated three years later. Today, the History Museum displays more than 60.000 objects related to the city and with very different characteristics. It has collections of prints, paintings, drawings, photographs, postcards, cartographies, sculptures, fans, coins, weapons, furniture, medals and goldsmiths.

Among its most representative pieces are the Allegory of the Villa de Madrid by Francisco de Goya, the porcelain collection of Buen Retiro, the Virgin with San Fernando by Luca Giordano, the set of the house of Mesonero Romanos, the collection of cartography and photographs. historical objects or objects from the artist Gutiérrez Solana's workshop, among others. On the other hand, inside the Madrid History Museum we can also find a chapel that hosts an interesting cultural program where concerts and conferences abound.

Through free admission to the Museum of History of Madrid we can witness the development of the capital of Spain from prehistory to the nineteenth century through his drawings, models, paintings, cartographies and porcelain.

Madrid Planetarium

Observing the sky and marveling at the stars is one of the best plans that can be carried out in Madrid, especially if we are enthusiastic about astronomy. Inaugurated in 1986, this space seeks the dissemination of science and astronomy among the public of all ages. For this, it has a wide range of exhibitions, activities, courses, public observations and highly entertaining and didactic workshops.

The Madrid Planetarium recently launched a new stage characterized by the renovation of its facilities, a new projection room, new museography and new content that added an investment of 4,2 million euros, in which the La Caixa Foundation participated.

Visiting the Planetarium exhibitions is free, although to access the screenings you must pay 3,60 euros per adult and 1,65 euros for retirees and those under fourteen years of age.

Hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida

Dedicated to San Antonio de Padua, the hermitage of San Antonio was demolished and rebuilt up to three times. Throughout the XNUMXth century, urban reforms forced the original (Churriguera's work) to be demolished and replaced by another (Sabatini's work) which in turn would be replaced by a third, the definitive one.

The construction of the last hermitage was due to the works of the new palace of La Florida, a large estate that has now disappeared owned by King Carlos IV that gave the chapel its name. By order of the monarch, the architect Felipe Fontana built the new temple and Francisco de Goya decorated it with his precious frescoes.

In order to guarantee the conservation of the paintings, the building was declared a National Monument in 1905 and later, in 1928, a twin chapel was erected next to it to transfer the cult and preserve the original as a museum. By then, the original chapel became Goya's pantheon because in 1919 his mortal remains had been transferred to it from Bordeaux (France) where he died in 1828.

The devotion to San Antonio on the banks of the Manzanares and the celebration of pilgrimages in its surroundings make it closely linked to the popular tradition of the city. The entrance to the hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida is free.

Municipal Printing - Book Arts

The Municipal Printing Office - Book Arts was born in 2011 to offer locals and visitors interesting cultural content linked to the history of books and printing.

Its collection is made up of more than 3.000 pieces of graphic arts from the last two centuries. Among its treasures are a Planeta letterpress machine from 1913, a reproduction of a 1789th century printing press, a Bauer type foundry or a press from XNUMX.

In 2018 it is expected that the funds of the Municipal Printing Office - Book Arts will multiply by ten thanks to the recent purchase of the most important collection of graphic arts: the Del Olmo & Vilas collection, made up of more than 70.000 pieces from the XNUMXth century to the present.

In addition, the visitor can contemplate in the Municipal Printing Office the work of the professional workshops in which bookbinding services are provided., documentary restoration and edition to the publications of the Madrid city council as well as the permanent exhibition, entitled The printing press and the book: a history. The entrance to the Municipal Printing Office - Book Arts is free.

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