Barrio de las Letras is one of the most charming and interesting places in Madrid, with a bohemian flavor and magic quality that makes it unique in the world.
Cortes is a neighborhood of the Centro district. Within it is the area known as Barrio de las Letras. The official name of Cortes is due to the fact that within this neighborhood is the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the General Courts (Cortes) of Spain.
Barrio de las Letras is a popular name preferred by many when referring to this area. The name recalls its literary splendor developed throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of the most prominent writers of the Golden Age of Spanish literature settled in this area, such as Miguel de Cervantes, Quevedo, Góngora, and Lope de Vega.
Located between the Paseo del Prado and the Plaza de Santa Ana, Barrio de las Letras is one of the most charming and interesting places in Madrid, with a bohemian flavor and magic quality that makes it unique in the world. It still retains an aura of tradition in its architecture, its narrow cobblestone streets, its many pedestrian streets, its history and its tranquility.
This neighborhood has been transforming a bit with and increasing number of interesting and peculiar shops, nice restaurants and tapas bars which are a big attraction for tourists. The area concentrates a great nightlife activity around the Calle Huertas -the main artery of the neighborhood- and the popular Plaza de Santa Ana, one of the spots most frequented by locals and visitors, famous for its terraces and tapas bars. Plaza de Santa Ana is the nerve center of the Barrio de las Letras, and statues of playwrights García Lorca and Calderón de la Barca are located in the square.
The Barrio de las Letras boasts the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, and is next door to the Museo del Prado -both a must-see when in the capital for being the most important art museums in Madrid, and some of the most important in the world. Another good museum to keep in mind is the CaixaForum.
Other buildings worth a visit are the Lope de Vega House-Museum which has survived from the time of the Spanish Golden Age, the Church and Convent of Las Trinitarias Descalzas, where Miguel de Cervantes was buried.
Most of the buildings that remain in the Barrio de las Letras were built at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. However, the Palace of the Count of Tepa and the Royal Academy of History correspond to the 18th century. Other buildings of architectural interest are the Spanish Theater, the Simeón Building and the Ateneo de Madrid.
MUSEUMS AND CULTURAL VENUES
Plaza de Santa Ana
Church and Convent of Las Trinitarias Descalzas
Lope de Vega House-Museum
Cortes neighborhood boasts two Michelin star restaurants:
Yugo The Bunker, and Gofio by Cicero Canary.