La Latina Old Town

La Latina is located in the heart of Madrid, adjacent to other areas of tourist interest, such as the Habsburg, Sol-Gran Vía, Lavapiés and Madrid Río neighbourhoods.

The narrow and winding streets of this irregularly laid-out area, mostly dating back to the Middle Ages, usually lead onto a square. Most of them lay outside the Medieval walled village and provided accommodation to a great many merchants who sold their goods at the market. This commercial tradition still echoes in several street and square names, such as Plaza de la Cebada (Barley Square), where the farmers’ market used to be held, Plaza de los Carros (Carriage Square), Plaza de la Paja (Straw Square), or even El Rastro (owing its name to the blood trail of the old slaughterhouse), the city’s best-known flea market.

The neighbourhood was named after writer and humanist Beatriz Galindo, one of the most relevant personalities of the fifteenth century, who was often referred to as ‘La Latina’ because she was remarkably skilled in Latin. Actually, she was the tutor of Queen Isabella the Catholic and her children. Along with her husband, she established a hospital on Calle Toledo, next to Plaza de la Cebada, which came to be known as ‘Hospital de La Latina’.

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