Madrid Time Capsule goes on Display

by Olivia Elson on Monday, August 30, 2010

A few months ago a time capsule was found in front of the Congress of Deputies in Madrid, as the area was being dug up to create a new car park. Discovered under the statue of Cervantes, its contents are now on display for the public at the Real Casa de Correos, located at Puerta del Sol, the very heart of the capital ­ city.

The lead box contained more than forty objects gathered together in 1834, as well as glass-lined walls and a poison to protect the artefacts from bacteria.

Among its contents were two copies of Cervantes’ infamous novel Don Quixote, as well as maps of Spain and Madrid accompanied by a Guia de Forasteros ­ - or Guide for Outsiders - ­ in which the author provides a list of who’s who.

Almost two centuries old, historians have agreed some of the most interesting content of the capsule includes political documents, such as a speech by Maria Cristina, mother of the future queen Elizabeth II. Indeed, 1834 was part of an interesting period for Spain, as the country was at war over the succession of the throne - ­ many supported the crowning of King Ferdinand’s brother, Carlos, and opposed the succession of the then three-­year­-old Isabella II.

The display at the Real Casa de Correos includes a 3D virtual tour of Madrid in the early 18th century which explains the historical context behind the coins, stamps, medals and documents from the capsule.

And to continue the tradition, a new time capsule has been created and deposited in the very same location. This time, it contains contemporary maps of the capital city, the Spanish Constitution and pieces of music in MP3.

If you’d like to visit the exhibition it’s open daily between 10am and 8pm and entrance is free. But hurry, as it is only on display until the 15th September!


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