Thursday, April 28, 2011

Madrid won the "beach" back

The poet had mocked the river Manzanares in Madrid once. The capital city ignored him, because highways blocked the bank. Now they get back their river. Instead of asphalt tracks now lined promenades and parks, the shore. See the new look of the river in our slide show.

New parks on the banks of the river

The Seine, the Thames or the River Spree was the Manzanares in Madrid measured before. But the river is in the Spanish capital, too little water. For decades it was not practical for the people of Madrid had been present, because the banks were largely inaccessible, because on both sides of the river was a town highway. The travel guides for tourists was the Manzanares scarcely a reference value. But now the people of Madrid have got back their river. The highways were banned in tunnels underground. Where once 200,000 cars raced on the day on the tarmac to load promenades and parks for walking. Madrid was even a "playa" (beach), the capital city dwellers can enjoy the sun. The last major section of the newly created parks on the banks of the Manzanares River, recently opened to the public.

Madrid's mountain of debt through beautification

So one of the largest construction projects in the history of the town has been completed. The Madrid city has drastically changed for the better, but the capital city will need decades to pay off the debt that has given them the project "Madrid Río" (Madrid River) left with his pharaonic proportions. The laying of 56 km of motorways and roads cost 3.7 billion euros under the earth, the establishment of the park a further 400 million $. Madrid has now received on a shore line of about eight miles up a green corridor that runs west of the center from north to south almost the entire city. These were designed for walking and biking trails, playgrounds and jungle gyms, planted 30,000 trees and 470,000 shrubs and restored or rebuilt 33 bridges. The undisputed jewel is a spiral-shaped pedestrian bridge of the French architect Dominique Perrault. Who wants to see how it had looked at the river banks before, must go to the football stadium of Atlético Madrid. There are cars coming for a short distance to the surface, the arena pass underneath the main grandstand and then disappear again in the tunnel.

Once bitter mockery of Manzanares

On weekends, it had now attracts thousands of Madrilenians the banks of the Manzanares, the Spanish writer once distributed bitter scorn and mockery. The Baroque author Francisco de Quevedo (1580-1645) called him a "river-apprentice". The poet Luis de Góngora (1561-1627) presented to the flow in a sonnet the question: "Why have you removed and are then swollen why I saw you yesterday in need and see you today in such splendor?" From the river he receives the answer: "Yesterday I drank an ass empty, and now he has pissed me back full." It was the Manzanares with its waterside meadows and the view over the city once artists like the great painter Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) inspired paintings. Today, the people of Madrid - Goya as then - walk back along the river and the old town and the Royal Palace look up. "Perhaps now the poets who are the future Manzanares sing, deal more sympathetic to the river", wants the newspaper "El Pais".

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