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Colonia de la Prensa: Hidden Gem of the Art Nouveau World

Written by Emily Elwes

When travelling around Madrid you will have the privilege of viewing beautiful pieces of architecture and design, often in a classic scheme seen frequently in some luxury Madrid apartments. However it is difficult to find modernism in this city, often limited to a few places, like the Palacio Longoria. Hidden away in the neighborhood of Carabanchel is the art nouveau gem, Colonia de la Prensa. Often forgotten by travellers the Colonia de la Prensa was once a beautiful colony of modernist design.

Brief History

In the seemingly modest working-class district one would not expect to find these modernist style houses that first appeared in the early 1900s. Upon first arriving to the colony you will find a gate made up of two towers with brackets that hold a marquee ornamented with drooping flowers. The original purpose of this gate was modest, to act as a telephone booth and to stop the tram. The modernistic houses were built by the architect Felipe Mario López y Blanc, who was contracted to build them between 1911 and 1916. True to its name, Colonia de la Prensa was built originally as a place for the press to come and relax, boasting many small hotels and gated houses. Now, however the once new and beautiful Colonia de la Prensa is falling into disrepair. Many houses falling victim to damage and peeling paint.

Colonia de la Prensa- hotelsColonia de la Prensa Now

Though it is true that the Colonia de la Prensa is not everything it once was it is still a beautiful place to explore. Across from the deteriorating houses and empty lots are exquisitely preserved villas, still holding onto the life and vibrancy of the past.  The difference between the lively villas and the worn down buildings creates a hauntingly beautiful air to the colony leaving all who visit wondering about the history of this once stunning place. Beautiful modernist details are still visible all throughout the colony. Often appearing in the detailing in the ceramics, wrought enclosures, and gates, along with the steeples and statues generously distributed throughout.

The passage of time is certainly noticeable in the Colonia de la Prensa. The upkeep is disregarded and the colony’s beauty is starting to fade. The rich history of this colony is still visible to those who take the time to explore this art nouveau gem of Madrid. On your next trip to Madrid make sure to explore the Colonia de la Prensa, before it’s beauty and modernist details fade into the shiny excitement of the new world. The beauty is still there, but is haunted by the deterioration of the colony. Next time you’re looking for something new to explore while on your short term rentals in Madrid, head over to Colonia de la Prensa. Be sure to bring along a camera so you can capture this beautiful colony’s atmosphere and share it with your friends and family back home. Visit Colonia de la Prensa and experience this once great colony for yourself, and be sure to spread the word of this beautiful place, so everyone can experience it before it fades completely.

About the author

Emily Elwes

Emily is a freelance content editor & manager living & working in Barcelona. She's passionate about food, drink, language and collaborative consumption.

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