Image: Current view of the facade of the Ministry of Finance building taken overlooking Puerta del Sol. We can observe people walking along the building.
Image: Sabatini plan of the facade of the Ministry of Finance building in 1769.
Narrator: I was built in a period of great urban development in the centre of Madrid.
Image: Old photograph of the Ministry of Finance taken from the balcony of one of the buildings of Puerta del Sol.
Narrator: Up until the War of Independence, Madrid, thanks to the Bourbons, was graced with other noteworthy buildings, such as the Royal Palace, The Central Post Office, The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Prado Museum and The Alcalá Gateway.
Image: Old photograph of Puerta del Sol taken from the balcony of one of the Square buildings, in the intersection of Mayor and Arenal Streets. On the right, the National Post Office (Casa de Correos) and its tower clock can be observed.
Narrator: The war put a stop to this growth, which would be renewed years later at the hands of the nobility and the emergent bourgeoisie.
Image: Old photograph of Puerta del Sol towards Mayor and Arenal Streets, before its refurbishment in 1849.
Image: Old aerial photograph of Puerta del Sol.
Narrator: During the 19th Century the Madrid of the Bourbons gave way to a new style of city planning with new neighbourhoods and suburbs.
Image: Old photograph of Alcalá Street taken at street level from Cibeles Square towards the Puerta del Sol. The images moves to Puerta del Sol, and the carts and pedestrians are passing in front of the camera.
Narrator: The truth is I can consider myself a witness to the remodelling of the Sol Gateway and of Alcalá Street.
Image: Aerial photograph of Alcalá Street in the 80’s.
Narrator: Thanks to private initiative, I was surrounded by new neighbours such as the Bank of Bilbao, the Insurance Equity, later the seat of the Credit Bank of Spain, the Circle of Fine Arts, or the Telephone Exchange.
Image: Old photograph of the Banco Bilbao taken from a balcony of a building located in Alcalá Street. We can see old cars and trams going along the street, and many people walking on the pavement.
Image: Old photograph of the Banco Español de Crédito taken from the balcony of a building located in Alcalá Street.
Image: Old photograph of the clock placed on the roof-top of the Ministry of Finance building. In the background, the Telefónica building can be seen.
Narrator: The city grew more cosmopolitan and modern and my street was to become the financial heart of Madrid during many years.
Image: 1969 photograph of Alcalá Street taken at street level from Cibeles Square. Cars such as the Seat 600 travel across Alcalá Street towards Puerta del Sol.
Narrator: It was a time of change, of hope, of new dreams...
Image: Old photograph of Alcalá Street taken at street level towards Puerta del Sol, by the Church of Las Comendadoras de Calatraba, which belongs to the old Royal Monastery of La Concepción. Trams are running through the street. There are pedestrians crossing the street and a horse cart parked in front of the church.
-- End of the chapter --
© Ministry of Finance (2012)
General Technical Secretary
General Bureau of Information, Documentation and Publications