Category Archives: History

23-F At 30-Y

Been there, done thatWith all these new revolutions going on in the world right now you would almost forget but Spain is also commemorating the 30th anniversary of that highly bizarre attempted coup d’état by member of the Guardia Civil Antonio Tejero, a real test of the young and still unstable democracy.

On this day, exactly 30 days ago, Tejero and a few others had enough of the economic problems and the political instability the country was experiencing at that moment and decided that a return to Franco’s time was just what Spain needed. During a vote he entered the lower house and history books, took hostage of everybody present by means of warning shots and started to wait for reinforcements.  During the following 18 hours drafted military were dizzy with confusion, people started to hide books and other literature that might seem offensive to a possible new regime, a Guardia Civil captain in Valencia ordered tanks to occupy the streets to show solidarity with Tejero, the King declared that democracy needed to prevail, reinforcements did not come, El País stood up for the constitution in 7 extra editions, demonstrations were held in the street against the coup and the attempt failed.

The bullet holes are still visible in the ceiling. The Palacio del Congreso de Diputados can be visited every Saturday morning between 10:30 and 12:30. Bring your identity card.

Tonight a film premieres on the subject:


I Draw Madrid

Every Tuesday 20:00 hours – 22:00 hours
Search for ‘Dibujo Madrid’ in Facebook

‘La Tabacalera’ Calle Embajadores 53

On the scale of cool, things do not get any better than the activities taking place these days in Madrid’s abandoned tobacco factory. La Tabacalera in Embajadores hosts a wide range of cultural activities in its dilapidated innards. One of them is a group of people who meet every Tuesday to sit down and draw for a few hours.

Two hundred years ago a factory was opened in the centre of Madrid, where 1.000 women earned a living manufacturing cigarettes and cigars and gained a reputation for being highly organized, independent and passionate. The factory was closed ten years ago, but the passion, social awareness and smoke has returned last year, with the opening of the factory, now as a centre for anybody with a wish to organize things. The activities take place on the first floor and in the basement and give you a small idea of how huge this place must have been not so long ago.

Anything you can possibly think of is organized here, but the centre is not remodeled. It is just a space and there is a strong okupa-atmosphere (It seems the new anti-smoke law is not applied here for maría). If you are not of the culture-kind, then just pop in and check out the cafeteria on the right.

Every Tuesday night a group of people gathers to draw. In the basement they sit down with their sheets, pencils, BIC ballpoints and they reproduce the poses that a few of the group members are showing on the main stage. Dibujo Madrid was started last year and this Tuesday will be the 48th time that they will meet. Many has changed since the start of the group, but they are still as welcoming to everybody who likes to join. The level is very high, but also people with more enthusiasm than skills can sit down and just draw. It does not matter if you are good or not: as long as you can stand the unheated basement for 2 hours (dress well!), come along and draw.

Entrance is free, you’ll be able to make 4-5 drawings in these 2 hours with any material you bring and after the ‘class’ many meet in a bar close by to show each other results. The brave then post their drawings on Facebook.