It goes without saying that summer in Madrid is boiling hot. Air conditioning, fans or a cold bottle of water are our greatest allies during this time of the year, but how did people fight the heat in Madrid a few years ago?
Travel back to the last century, to the summers from the 30s to the 70s thanks to the photographic exhibition "Qué calor!”. More than sixty images that belong to the collection of the renowned artist Martín Santos Yubero where the botijos, fans and umbrellas are the protagonists.
People dipping in public fountains, taking a dip in the Manzanares River or eating a refreshing watermelon in the countryside appear in photographs from the 1930's. Undoubtedly, the Manzanares played a fundamental role during these decades. You can also see images from the 1940s in which parents play with their children at the foot of the river and hundreds of locals bathe in the sun at the Puente de los Franceses.
As time goes by, you can see how public swimming pools appear, such as Playa Victoria, in Tetuán, Lago, in Casa de Campo or the well-known pools of Parque Sindical in Puerta de Hierro.
And in contrast to the bustle and crowds at the river and pools, you can also see images where main streets such as Gran Vía in Madrid are deserted in the hottest hours of the day. Only workers can be seen cooling off with large water cans. The squares are filled later with people and fans, and if you wanted to hydrate yourself, you had to use the water jug.
A gem of a photographic exhibition that is not only entertaining and fun, but also transports us to the past and helps us to learn a little more about the history of Madrid, a real treat!
The images of the exhibition can be accessed through the Archives Portal of the Community of Madrid. In addition, you can access and download the catalog for free.
More information: “Qué Calor”
Image credits: Día de ocio en la Playa de Madrid © Fondo fotográfico Martín Santos Yubero. ARCM