Puerta del Sol Madrid Spain about 1892

Puerta del Sol Madrid Spain about 1892

PUERTA DEL SOL, MADRID, SPAIN — This “Portal of the Sun” was formerly the eastern gateway of Madrid, and hence the first to be greeted by the dawn, but now it marks the centre of the capital. Although not beautiful, it is nevertheless justly famous, for it is the nucleus of the city’s life, the heart of Madrid, throbbing with tireless activity. Through this the restless life-blood of the town is every moment flowing. Most of the lower stories of its houses and hotels are cafes, from which at night music and light stream forth, amid a clatter of glasses, a babbling of tongues and the cries of waiters, as though this Spanish capital had banished sleep forever. Sun-burnt peasants and ragged beggars are always idling about in this Puerta, gaining fresh coats of tan by steeping themselves in the sun. One can always perceive here Spanish priests, dressed in their great three-corned hats and long black robes, amid a mass of gaily-decorated mules with tinkling bells, bull fighters in their gorgeous costumes, musicians with guitars, and proud Castilians wrapped in their deftly-folded cloaks and wearing on their head those huge sombreros which strikingly resemble gigantic chocolate creams. If you are in the mood for it, this whirl of life is thoroughly amusing. If not, it renders you more sad than would the desert. For in that motley throng there is not one who knows your name, or cares for your existence. One may find cause for sadness, therefore, even in this brilliant Gateway of the Sun. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)



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