Muralla Islamica de Madrid — or the Muslim Wall of Madrid
A stroll along Calle Mayor heading west of la Calle de Bailén takes you downhill; and before you are past the two sharp left curves when the narrow street becomes Cuesta Ramón, you realize that you are partially encircling the remains of Muralla Islamica off to your left behind a black wrought iron fence.
Also known as the Muralla Árabe or Muslim Wall, the Muralla Islamica was erected during the ninth century sometime before the year 880 — hundreds of years before Madrid became the capital city of Spain in 1561. The origin of the name Madrid supposedly evolved from al-Majrīṭ, which is the Arabic term for source of water — named for the Manzanares River which passes through Madrid.
The Muralla Islamica was built to protect the Muslim almudaina — or citadel — on the site currently occupied by the Palace Real de Madrid, which I will cover in a future trip report. In fact, the church on the north side of Calle Mayor is called Santa María la Real de La Almudena — possibly constructed on the site of a medieval mosque which was destroyed in 1083 when Alfonso VI reconquered Madrid.
Declared a national monument in 1958, Muralla Islamica is a part of Parque de Emir Mohamed I — named after the Umayyad emir of Córdoba from the years 852 to 886.
One might tend to initially be confused as to why there are concentric Stars of David — a symbol of Judaism — located in the center of the plaza in the park; but the star may actually be the Seal of Solomon, a popular symbol of Islam.
While the Muralla Islamica is actually an example of Moorish architecture, the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest is considered to be constructed in the style of Moorish architecture. Arches are but one of the characteristic elements of Moorish architecture which both structures share in terms of design.
If ancient artifacts interest you, it is worth taking a stroll down to the Muralla Islamica. There is no admission fee as this is yet another free attraction in Madrid — you can visit the permanent collection at the Museo Nacional del Prado free of charge during certain hours — but the Parque de Emir Mohamed I is not always open to the public. That is not a problem, though — all you would be missing is a closer look at the Muralla Islamica; and that is not missing much, as you can see everything from outside of the wrought iron fence from different angles.
Muralla Islamica and Parque de Emir Mohamed I is surrounded by the streets of Calle Mayor, le Calle de Bailén and Cuesta Ramón directly south of the Santa María la Real de La Almudena Catholic cathedral; and it is located within walking distance several minutes west of the Opera Metro station, which serves the red 2 and green 3 subway lines. Bus stops for the 3, 148 and N16 bus lines are located on le Calle de Bailén right at the site. There is no admission fee and no hours.
All photographs ©2014 by Brian Cohen.