About Matadero Madrid
Matadero Madrid, or the Madrid Slaughterhouse was built on a northwest-southeast plot that was part of what was once the Arganzuela pasture. The original slaughterhouse spanned over twelve hectares with various “neo-Mudejar” style warehouses and buildings, excellent examples of industrial architecture of the transition between the 19th century to the 20th.
It was built in response to the needs of the growing population of the city and as a replacement for the old slaughterhouse-house which had been located where the Puerta de Toledo now stands.
Construction began in 1910 and was completed in 1925 and between 1932 and 1933, an additional building was constructed, a poultry slaughterhouse. The slaughterhouse and cattle market facilities remained in operation up until 1996 when they were permanently closed.
At the beginning of the 1980s, the management pavilion (known currently as Casa del Reloj), was transformed into the headquarters of the Municipal Board of the Arganzuela district; the old cattle stables became the permanent headquarters of the National Dance Company (CND) and the National Ballet of Spain.
The old cattle barn is now a tropical greenhouse known as the Palacio de Cristal de la Arganzuela. Also, some of the grounds were repurposed and became a park, the Matadero park.
After the definitive closure of the slaughterhouse in 1996, the facilities were abandoned until 2003 when it was decided to transform the entire facility into a cultural space, which would open its doors.
The warehouses of the Matadero Madrid
Initially, the complex was composed of 48 buildings which later grew to 64 in 1921. The walls were constructed in the typical Toledano style with clear neo-Mudejar influences.
The original door has been preserved since the restoration of the complex and gives access to the facilities of the Municipal Board, Matadero Madrid (on the left), and the area where the greenhouse is located (on the right).
The slaughtering warehouses, a set of five parallel buildings located in the southern part of the enclosure, were arranged parallel to the General Services Pavilion. Nowadays they house a bicycle rental service, an art exhibit, a cafeteria, and a library.
The main building, houses rotating exhibits and expo’s, an arthouse cinema, and a restaurant. There is also a cultural center where you can enjoy a wide variety of activities from history lessons to pilates classes.
The wide open-air area hosts different market places on the weekends. Every Sunday, a farmers market takes place, filled with all sorts of artisanal products and food trucks. Depending on the time of year you will also find an open-air cinema, plays and/or concerts.
In the nineties, the old cattle stables were transformed into the headquarters of the National Ballet of Spain and the National Dance Company.
In 1991, architect Guillermo Costa restored the market hall of cattle and turned it into a nineteenth-century-style greenhouse featuring four microclimates. The greenhouse is actually bigger and houses more species than it’s a more famous cousin in the Atocha train station, and second only to the Madrid Botanical Gardens, located right next to Retiro Park.
Activities of Matadero Madrid
The Matadero features bike rentals services, a public library/reading room a cafeteria, and an excellent little restaurant all year round. You will also always find art expositions and independent movie showings, but the programming is ever-changing.
Also, seasonally the Matadero holds concerts, plays and recitals, and open-air movies.
Where is the Matadero Madrid
The Matadero of Madrid is located right next to Legazpi square, on the shores of the Manzanares river, and a stone’s throw away from the Plaza Rio shopping center.