Antigua Estación de Atocha

sights / Architecture

Antigua Estación de Atocha information

Madrid , Spain
Plaza del Emperador Carlos V
Getting there
Metro: Atocha Renfe
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In 1992 the northwestern wing of the Antigua Estación de Atocha (Old Atocha train station) was given a stunning overhaul. The structure of this grand iron-and-glass relic from the 19th century was preserved, while its interior was artfully converted into a light-filled tropical garden with more than 500 plant species (and a resident turtle population), in addition to shops, cafes and the Renfe train information offices. The project was the work of architect Rafael Moneo, the man behind the Museo del Prado extension and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and his landmark achievement was to create a thoroughly modern space that resonates with the stately European train stations of another age.

In the modern northeastern corner of the station, the 11 March 2004 Memorial is a moving monument to the victims of the 2004 terrorist attack at the station. Although partially visible from the Paseo de la Infanta Isabel, the memorial is best viewed from below. A glass panel shows the names of those killed, while the airy glass-and-perspex dome is inscribed with the messages of condolence and solidarity left by well-wishers in a number of languages in the immediate aftermath of the attack. The 12m-high dome is designed so that the sun highlights different messages at different times of the day, while the effect at night is akin to flickering candles.