El Búnker del Capricho

Parque el Capricho Bunker - Posición Jaca


Useful Information

Location: Meeting point: entrance gate to the park, next to the turnstiles, at least 10 minutes before. Alameda de Osuna, 25, 28042 Madrid. Subway station El Capricho.
(40.454424, -3.600427)
Open: Bunker:
Only after appointment.
Tickets sold on official website.
Park:
OCT to MAR Sat, Sun, Hol 9-18:30.
APR to SEP Sat, Sun, Hol 9-21.
[2020]
Fee: free.
[2020]
Classification: SubterraneaWorld War II Bunker
Light: electric.
Dimension: Ar=2,000m², T=15°C.
Guided tours: D=1h, max 10 Persons. Children under 14 not recommended. It is necessary to climb down and back a 12m high ladder, wear appropriate shoes.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: El Búnker del Capricho, Tel: +34-91-588-0114.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1784 park created by the Dukes of Osuna.
1789 park operated by the Duchess María Josefa de la Soledad Alonso Pimentel.
1808 during the French Invasion used for stationing soldiers.
1813 after French retreat reclaimed by the Duchess.
1839 after the death of the Duchess maintained by her grandsons.
1863 party for Queen Isabel II.
1936 begin of Spanish Civil War.
1937 bunkers built as Army Headquarters of the Center of the Second Republic.
1939 end of Spanish Civil War, bunkers abandoned.
1974 Madrid City Council bought the park.
1999 restoration completed, park opened to the public.

Description

The El Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna Park is one of numerous parks in the city of Madrid. While it is really worth a visit, is it not unique. But there is one thing which makes it unique: an underground bunker from the Spanish Civil War.

The Guerra Civil Española (Spanish Civil War) was fought from 1936 to 1939. The government of the Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with communist and syndicalist anarchists, fought against a revolt by the Nationalists. Those right wing groups were led by a military group among whom General Francisco Franco soon achieved a preponderant role. We know hoe it ended, the right wing won and Spain was a fascist country during World War II, neutral but supporting the Axis. However, his legacy is controversial, as the nature of his dictatorship changed over time. Brutal repression, with thousands killed, and economic prosperity which greatly improved the quality of life.

However, in 1937 Madrid was home to the Army Headquarters of the Center of the Second Republic. It was relatively safe but expecting a change of the situation the Army was looking for safe headquarters. They decided that the Jardin del Capricho was a good place, as it was away from the front and offered good communication. And the trees camouflaged most of the activities in the park. Between May and August 1937 vast bunkers were constructed in the park. The bunker of the General Staff was the biggest with an area of 2,000m², located 15m below ground. It is capable of resisting bombs of up to 100 kilos. The bunker has a decontamination area, showers, an infirmary, an engine room, and a small warehouse. There are seven rectangular rooms and four exits to the park and one to the street.

The park was created in 1784 by the Dukes of Osuna. Between 1789 and 1839 the Duchess María Josefa de la Soledad Alonso Pimentel spent much effort on the park. It was a lovely garden to host high society parties. In 1808 during the French Invasion the property was handed over to General Agustin Belliard to be used by his troops. But the Duchess reclaimed it immediately after they retreated in 1809. After her death her grandson and later his brother continued hosting parties. It seems the garden was more or less abandoned during the mid 20th century until it was purchased by the Madrid City Council in 1974 and restored to its original grandeur. The restauration was completed in 1999 and the garden was opened to the public.

The bunker was almost forgotten, but it survived very well. At the same time the park was renovated the bunkers were visited to decide what to do with them. Finally the bunkers were opened to the public. But as the park is open only on weekends and the number of visitors on the tours is restricted, the tickets are always sold out. There is a waiting list, but thats only an option for locals. However, after a few years the number of visitors might decrease and it can be visited by tourists.