Lose yourself on a stroll through Madrid’s Barrio de Justicia
Barrio de Justicia is one of Madrid’s grandest and most architecturally significant neighbourhoods. It’s also one of the most visited, thanks to its wide array of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Located right in the centre of the city, it takes its name from its cluster of judicial institutions, including the Supreme Court, the Court of Accounts, the General Council of the Judiciary and the National High Court. It’s a fascinating area to live in or simply visit, where fine apartment buildings rub shoulders with some extraordinary historical and cultural sites.
With a population of more than 18,000, it extends from Calles Sagasta and Génova in the north to Paseo de Recoletos in the east, Calle de Fuencarral in the west and the Gran Vía and Calle de Alcalá in the south. In addition to its rich legal heritage, the area is home to numerous places of historical and cultural interest. These include the modernist Palacio Longoria, the longtime headquarters of the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers; the Architects’ Association of Madrid (COAM), housed in the bright, open spaces carved from the site of the old “Pious Schools”; the sixteenth-century Baroque Church of San José on Calle de Alcalá, (where the Instituto Cervantes building (1918) is equally worth a visit); and the magnificent Church of Santa Barbara, also from the Baroque period, where the remains of King Fernando VI and his wife, Bárbara de Braganza, are interred.
Theatres, museums and entertainment
Barrio de Justicia also boasts several of Madrid’s iconic theatres, such as Teatro Infanta Isabel, Teatro Marquina and Teatro María Guerrero. Or why not while away an afternoon at one of its captivating museums, from the National Museum of Romanticism to the Wax Museum and the History Museum of Madrid? Fans of the unexplained will find plenty to interest them here. Casa de las Siete Chimineas, for example — one of the few examples of sixteenth-century civil architecture remaining in the city — is said to be haunted by the ghost of Felipe II’s illegitimate daughter. Within the Barrio de Justicia lies Chueca, one of the most atmospheric and instagrammable corners of the city and a favourite with visitors, where you’ll find dining and entertainment options for every taste. Make time for a pit stop in Plaza de Santa Bárbara or Plaza de Colón, or perhaps indulge in some retail therapy in the buzzing Calle de Fuencarral.
For all its grandeur and architectural significance, Barrio de Justicia is also a very liveable and welcoming neighbourhood, right in the vibrant centre of the capital. Dating back to the sixteenth century, it has evolved into one of Madrid’s chicest and most sought-after locations. Since last summer saw the end to several months of roadworks, Justicia now has more green and pedestrianised spaces to enjoy. The change has gone down well with local residents and businesses, who are seeing the benefits of an even more attractive and walkable neighbourhood.