Text and photo: Eduardo González
If there is a place in Madrid from where one can have a panoramic view of the city without getting out of it that is Casa de Campo, a huge park of almost one thousand hectares that, still now, is a big symbol of the historical omnipresence of the Crown in the urban configuration of the capital.
Casa de Campo has belonged to the City Council of Madrid since 1931, when it was municipalized by the Government barely one week after the proclamation of the Republic. Until then, this vast land, assembled around an old palace of the powerful feudal family of Madrid the Vargas, had been one of the many royal residences (in its case, rather a hunting ground) that, since the arrival to the Court halfway through the 16th century, had been taken by the Austrias and Borbones to create a big recreational centre that included the other two current lungs of Madrid, El Retiro and El Pardo.
Like in many similar cases, the royal estate democratized in time, and where there was a small zoo and many spaces for recreation and exclusive use of the Kings and guests, now there is an amusement park, an exhibition site, a zoo, a lake, a cable railway and many entertainments of all kinds, not all of them recommendable.
Above all, Casa de Campo is the physical and psychological breathing space of Madrid, the City and Court that shows impressive among pines, holm oaks, oaks and broom whose roots are, who would have said that, in the middle of the city.