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Photographer's Note

Gran Vía (literally "Great Way") is an ornate and upscale shopping street located in central Madrid. It leads from Calle de Alcalá, close to Plaza de Cibeles, to Plaza de España.

The lively street is one of the city's most important shopping areas, with a large number of hotels and large movie theaters; it is also noted for the grand architecture prevalent among many of its buildings. Now, most of the theatres are being replaced by shopping malls. Also, it is 2.2 kilometres away from Estadio VIcente Calderon Stadium of Atletico de Madrid.

The Gran Vía of Madrid has many historical names, both official and unofficial. Conception divided the Road in three parts. The first one was built between 1910 and 1917 and was called Calle del Conde de Peñalver ("Count of Peñalver Street"). Second part of the project started on 1917 and was ended on 1921. It was named Calle de Pi y Margall ("Francisco Pi y Margall Street") because of a deceased politician. Third part of the Road and last one did not start until 1925 and was called Calle Eduardo Dato Iradier ("Eduardo Dato Street") because of another politician.

Three months before the Spanish Civil War began, the Second Spanish Republic changed some streets names under leftist influence. The two first parts of the avenue were called Avenida de la C.N.T. ("C.N.T. Avenue"). When the Civil War started, the avenue was named Avenida de Rusia ("Russia Avenue") due to the support of this country to the Spanish Republic, but its name would be changed to Avenida de la Unión Soviética ("Soviet Union Avenue"). However, the avenue was popularly nicknamed as Avenida de los obuses ("howitzer avenue") because of the continues bombardments by the Nationalist forces loyal to Francisco Franco. The reason for the continuous attacks on this place was the placement of the "Edificio de Telefónica" in this street.

Just after the end of the war when the rebels entered in Madrid they changed the name of the road and named it Avenida de José Antonio ("José Antonio Avenue") after one of their greatest politician figures, founder of the fascist party, Falange. It wouldn't be until 1981, in Spain democracy when the socialist mayor restored the names of 27 streets and the avenue was simply named Gran Vía ("Great Road").

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Additional Photos by Manuel Mayorga (ManuMay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2439 W: 282 N: 4271] (34357)
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