Monday, May 17, 2010

San Isidro 2010 & Gran Vía Centennial Celebration, Madrid

Over the last weekend, Madrid celebrated two important occasions - the feast day of San Isidro and the 100th Anniversary of Gran Vía, Madrid's most important avenue.

In true Madrileño style, a fiesta is not a fiesta if it does not involve closing off the busiest stretch of road in the city for an all-out, massive street party, no?

The feast day of San Isidro is celebrated annually on 15 May to commemorate Madrid's male patron saint and also to mark the start of the bull fighting season. Typically, traditional activities will take place from the morning at Parque de San Isidro which includes a grand mass, food & fun fair and also a procession at Plaza Mayor in the city.

Above: The statue of San Isidro being paraded through Plaza Mayor.

Above: On the day of San Isidro, everywhere you go you'll spot kids and adults all decked out in their traditional outfits - chulapas/chulapos.

Meanwhile, not far from Plaza Mayor, an entirely different setting and mood was taking centre stage.

A sea of bright blue carpet covered the entire stretch of Gran Vía from Red de San Luis all the way up to Plaza de España. All this was to mark the 100th anniversary of Gran Vía, which means so much and represents so many different things to different people. Whether it's for the history or the architecture, the shops & sidewalk cafes or the theatres, it is visited and enjoyed by many, every single day.

Though it did remind me a little of La Noche en Blanco, the blue carpet made it different! It was strange to be feeling carpet under your feet as you walk down (or lie down as many did) GRAN VÍA! It was pretty awesome.

Hardly anyone's walking on the side pavements as they would on any ordinary day WITH traffic. Everyone's choosing the blue carpet walk!

Above: A surreal scene on a typically high vehicle traffic stretch of road.

Stages were set up at 3 key areas along Gran Vía: Red de San Luis, Callao & Plaza de España. Highlights of the celebration includes stage performances, roaming bands, a 3D projection show on the Telefonica building and live performances from hit musicals such as Chicago and Mamma Mia.

Above: The band 'Seeders' performing earlier on in the day.

Above: The stage at Red de San Luis, with performances by the Madrid Municipal Symphonic Orchestra.

Above, left: The spontaneous, roving band in pink, La Fanfare Électrique!

Above: At the tail end of Gran Vía, another stage was set up at Plaza España.
Bands from the 80's "La Movida" era of Madrid were there to perform, bringing on the nostalgia.

Above: The turnout at Gran Vía. Packed for as far as the eyes can see.

The party culminated at around 12.30am with the finale fireworks exploding over our heads!



  1. Wow.. no words to describe.. just wow!! :)

  2. Thanks :) Well come visit when you can!

  3. If you would like to read a little more about the history and construction of the Gran Via, there is another blog by Richard Morley who can be found at:

    BTW, I really do enjoy your blogs and you certainly have given me a long list of places to visit, when I return to Spain. Currently in S. Korea.

  4. Hi! Thanks for dropping by my blog. Well hope you get the chance to return soon but meanwhile, all the best in S. Korea.


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