Cuesta de Moyano in Madrid
Do you know where the biggest library in Madrid is? Although many would bet that it’s definitely not a small building, actually, this library is not just ‘a’ bookstore, but a jumble of stands in a street – on the Moyano Slope, or the Cuesta de Moyano in Spanish.
Here we have what we could easily call “the biggest bookstore in Madrid”. This pedestrian road has close to thirty stands, each one a bookstore in itself. Since 1925, you can find classics, old books, first and second-hand ones, first editions, hardbacks, paperbacks, discontinued books…EVERYTHING! Some even buy your books off you! For example, a brand new, never-before used book, still sealed, can sell for just 5 euros, whilst it’s retail value would usually be 20 in a normal bookstore!
In addition, there are colloquiums, open-air book presentations as well as many other book related activities being held weekly. In fact, plans for a cafetería and the construction of new benches are in the making in order to boost the are. Here I leave you the link for their website, with all the booksellers and the meetings they organise.
Take a look at the biographies of the people working on the stands! It’s worth a glance! Oops, it’s in Spanish. Well, there are former businessmen, retired, the first booksellers’ descendants…The gentleman in stand nº15 has like half a million books!
In essence, here we are really on a slippery slope, leaving it with a huge bag full of books and, of course, empty pockets. Hopefully the way back to Atocha is the slope down.
And if that was not enough, the area could not be a better one! This slope is right behind the fence of the Botanical Garden, on the side of Atocha Station. The Cuesta de Moyano takes its name from Claudio Moyano, a politician from the 19th century. He studied Latin, Law and Philosophy and earned his doctorate when he was 23. He was definitely an erudite person! All in all, he is best known for passing a law aimed to fight against illiteracy, so there is not a better place for him than a street full of books! At the end of the slope, there is another statue. This one represents Pio Baroja, a writer from the beginning of the 20th century with huge influence on his contemporaries. Also up there we have one of the entrances to Parque del Retiro, more concretely the one that goes straight to the statue of the Fallen Angel. Incidentally, once upon a time (well, in 1774, the time of Charles III of Spain) the first zoo of Madrid was located here.
How to get there:
– Metro: line 1, Atocha.
– Train to Atocha Station
– For those who like roaming the streets: from Sol, go South through Calle Carretas until Jacinto Benavente Square. Then take Atocha street straight till the end.
In Leaf Madrid we love culture, books, libraries…we even have a tour in the writer’s district! that covers the whole area in between the two lines marked on the map above. That is why in our weekly post we needed to talk about Cuesta de Moyano!
If you like these curiosities about Madrid and you want to know much more about the curiosities of the city, came with us one morning and Discover the Secrets of Madrid in our Free Walking Tours!