For two centuries the district of Lavapies has been reputed to belong to the slums of Madrid. Its inhabitants have always been regarded as the most traditional of the city but the district’s origin was Jewish, first ,and Arabic later. In the seventeenth century Lavapies was the scene of famous plays as well as operettas and was awarded a royal distinction.
Over time, its narrow winding streets gave shelter to all sorts of legendary characters like the sinister anarchist Felipe Sandoval, who lived up to a bloody gangster role model and that of a fanatical revolutionary as well. The district was also populated by anonymous characters of unforgiving wit and highly inventive street manners. They were called “chulos” and “chulas” (“pimps» and »cool chicks») and became protagonists of the throbbing life of Lavapies which has been immortalized by Zarzuelas (Spanish musicals) and the plays of Carlos Arniches. Lavapies is also adorned with small local pastry factories, quaint taverns and lively gatherings of neighbors which take place in “corralas”, living quarters with unique common yards and balconies, another architectural jewel of past centuries.
Today Lavapiés has been isolated from the city centre and has become the most multicultural neighborhood of Madrid, a place where the 21st century pimps and “cool chicks” of yesteryear share their urban habitat with African, Asian and South Americans of all ages and beliefs.
Nowadays, it is said that Lavapiés is not a very safe neighbourhood. Undoubtedly, some of its solitary streets can be intimidating to travelers, but the reality of the situation is that most streets of Lavapies present a unique environment with vibrant trade, all kinds of services, a National Theatre, off Broadway type theatres and a prestigious university.
The meeting point of this private tour is La Casa Encendida, a multicultural centre which has projects engaged with young and unknown artists from different culture backgrounds. From here we will walk to Lavapies where we will discover its secrets and multicultural traditions, corner to corner . It must be reminded that Lavapies is also one of the most attractive suburbs of Madrid to go for »tapas, wine tasting and enjoying your vermouth.»
We will enjoy the stories past and present hidden within the walls of streets with dreamlike names as »Hope», »Spring»and “Roses.» We will visit one of the last “corralas” in Lavapies for a chat with the locals and learn a little of their lives and why Lavapies streets are still a charming and intricate labyrinth flanked by houses with colorful façades, which will make our eyes happy and create pleasurable sensations for visiting strollers as time will rush by like a sudden sigh leaving within us the memory of this truly unforgettable and wonderful “Cultural and Local Experience».
Prices in €uros per Tour, not per Person (21 % VAt to be added )