Ruta de Círculo Sáfico de Madrid: Places

The following is a compilation of places of relevance for or about members of Círculo Sáfico de Madrid, a group of lesbians in Spain active between about 1910 and 1935 who changed and shape both Spanish culture and political life. This list is confined only to the Madrid, but many were born, traveled to, were exiled, went into hiding or died in other places both inside and outside Spain.

The sheer scope of places and number of women mean this is not a walking route. That would be better done by focusing on specific women and their unique stories. This list is organized by barrio in alphabetical order.

Barrios of Círculo Sáfico de Madrid



The barrio is where Lucía Sánchez Saornil spent most of her youth, from the late 1890s to the late 1910s. At the time, it was a working-class area, that was still on the fringes of Madrid.


Calle del Labrador is a street in the working-class area of Arganzuela. It was on the top of this street that Lucía Sánchez Saornil, who was born on 13 December 1895, grew up on as a child.



The Residencia de Señoritas was founded almost a decade before the Lyceum in 1915 and was located at Calle de Fortuny, 53, where Fundación Ortega-Marañón now stands. The first class had 30 students. It was an important social gathering place for lesbians during the time of its existence until it closed around 1936, and served as the male equivalent of Institución Libre de Enseñanza founded in 1876, and Residencia de Estudiantes founded in 1910. Among the teachers there was Victorina Durán Cebrian. A commemorative plaque is attached to the building where the Residencia once was. Following the end of the Civil War, the residence was repurposed by the Franco regime’s women section, Seccion Femenina. re-opening on 15 February 1940.

Agrupación Femenina Republicana was founded in June 1931 as part of Spanish feminist goals to create a separate space for their own political goals as they were unwelcome in more conservative Republican political organizations. They were founded by Victorina Duran and shared space at the Residencia de Señoritas.

Calle del Marqués de Riscal, 5 contains a plaque to commemorate it as the building where Victoria Kent worked as a lawyer until 1936.

Calle Ponzano, 19 is where Elena Fortún moved with her family in 1919. Before that, she had mostly been based at the home of her mother on at Calle Villanueva, 17. There, she and her husband with whom she was not close, would host a number of tertulias, bringing Fortún into contact with many of the intellectual set of Madrid of the period. Santiago Regidor lived on the second floor. A regular contributor to Blanco y Negro, Fortún developed a friendship with him.

Instituto Internacional de Madrid was a school in Madrid. They finished construction on their Boston building, located on Calle de Miguel Ángel, in 1910; funds were initially raised for its construction in January 1903. The first director was Wellesley graduate Susan Huntington, and the school developed a close relationship with Residencia de Señoritas and the Instituto-Escuela. Among its students was Elena Fortún, who studied library science. Another student was Gloria Fuertes, who enrolled in 1953 to study English and library science. There, in 1955, she met Phyliss Turnbull, one of her English teachers. Their meeting started a 15-year relationship between the two, only ending in 1970, a year before Turnbull’s death in 1971.



Universidad de Madrid was the predecessor to the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the combination of two existing educational institutions that merged in 1822. It was located at Calle de San Bernardo, 7 y 49. Among its students were Victoria Kent, who attained a law degree there, taking classes as as unofficial student in 1920 and finishing her degree in June 1924.



The Monumento Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz a Madrid is located at Calle de Ferraz, 4, on the edges of Parque del Oeste. The statue is a replica of one located in Mexico City made by Enrique Fernández. The statute was inaugurated on 19 October 1981. Juana Inés de la Cruz was a nun born on 12 November 1648 in San Miguel Nepantla, Nueva España. She was also a poet, writer, musician and composer whose writings condemned misogynistic practices on the part of society, and the hypocrisy of men when it came to issues of infidelity. There has been much speculation that she was likely a lesbian, which explains why she entered a convent, her feminist perspectives and her close relationships with other women. Irrespective of whether or not she was a lesbian, she was an influential figure for Spanish lesbians in the late 1600s and into the Second Republic period.

Cuartel de la Montaña was a military installation located near Plaza de España off Calle de Ferraz and Calle del Profesor Martín Almagro Basch. It was constructed between 1860 and 1836 on the site where Napolean’s troops shot members of the 1808 uprising, which before that was a farm on the edge of the city. Funding for the installation came largely from the sale of land confiscated during what was known as the Confiscation of Madoz. When completed, the site had the capacity to house a garrison of 2,600 to 3,000 infantrymen, light infantry and engineers. Following the end of the Civil War, the site was demolished and all that remains is a monument constructed in 1972 to the members of the military who died there at the beginning of the war off Calle de Ferraz. All that remains of the original site is a set of stairs in the same area. In July 1936, at the beginning of the war in Madrid, members of quickly formed militias and others in the city assembled in Plaza de España before eventually storming the site. Among those participating were anarchist and Mujeres Libres co-founder Lucía Sánchez Saornil.

Placa a la Memoria de Carmen Conde is at Calle de Ferraz, 67. The plaque says, “Aquí vivió desde 1949 hasta 1992 la escritora Carmen Conde primera mujer que ingresó en la Real Academia Española.” Translated, it means, “Here lived from 1949 to 1992 the writer Carmen Conde, the first woman admitted to the Royal Spanish Academy.”

Casa de Campo


Monumento a Elena Fortún was created by José Planes Peñalver with an inscription that reads, “Los ñinos / Españoles A / Elena Fortún / 17 Noviembre 1886 – 8 Mayo 1952”. Constructed in 1958, it is located inside Parque del Oeste on footpath near two footbridges off Paseo de Puerto Chapí.



Escuela del hogar y Profesional de la Mujer was a school designed to prepare young women for a life of fulfillment in the home as wives and mothers. The original location of the school when they were founded in 1911 was at Cuesta de Santo Domingo. A year later in March 1912, they moved to Paseo de la Castellana, 60 and a bit later, they moved down the street to Paseo de la Castellana, 72. In 1932, they moved to Calle Pinar, 7. Rosa Chacel was a member of the first class of the school, developing her feminist beliefs at the school. Matilde Calvo was a teacher there.

Asociación de la Prensa de Madrid, located at Calle de Juan Bravo, 6, was founded on 31 May 1895. In 1907, it admitted its first two women members, Carmen de Burgos and Consuelo Álvarez Pool.

Blanco y Negro was a Catholic run weekly magazine founded in 1891. The headquarters were located at Edificio ABC Serrano at Calle de Serrano, 61 and Paseo de la Castellana, 34. It was at this magazine that María de la Encarnación Gertrudis Jacoba Aragoneses y de Urquijo first began publishing children’s stories under the name Elena Fortún in 1928. Because of intense bombing during the siege of Madrid, Mujeres Libres moved their offices from Gran Vía to a private home on Calle de Diego de León. Mujeres Libres was anarchist women’s union co-founded by Lucía Sánchez Saornil, Mercedes Comaposada and Amparo Poch Gascón. At its peak, the organization had 20,000 affiliates. It played an important role in educating women, teaching them a broad range of topics from basic literacy to sex education.



Congreso de los Diputados, located at Carrera de S. Jerónimo, s/n, is the lower house of the  Cortes Generales, Spain’s legislative branch.  They are located in the Palacio de las Cortes.  The congressional body was founded in 1834 by Estatuto Real issued by Reina María Cristina that established a bicameral setup for the Cortes.  The name was approved in the 1837 Constitution.  Configuration for and predominance of the body was modified several times with the Constitutions of 1846, 1856, 1869 and 1876.  During the Franco period, the body disappeared and was replaced by a pseudo-parliament that occupied the same building.  The body returned in 1977 during the Democratic transition.  Construction started inbuilding the Congreso de Diputados occupies in 1843 and was completed in 1850.  It is a neoclassical design. It was here that Clara Campoamor and Victoria Kent had their famous debate on women’s suffrage. It is also where an attempted coup d’état took place in 1981.

On 13 April 1931, the Penal Code of 1928, with its problematic 601, 613 and 616 articles, was done away with as the Second Republic formally came into being, reintroducing the Penal Code of 1870 as the new law of the land. 1932 saw the introduction of a new penal code in Spain. This one made no mention of sodomy or homosexuality as an aggravating offense, except in the case of men serving in the army. The changes were largely a result of reforms pushed through by Congreso de Diputados Radical Socialist Party member Victoria Kent and PSOE member Luis Jiménez de Asúa.  The Ley de Vagos y Maleantes formally removed homosexuality as a crime from the books in 1933, except among members of the military. Beggars, ruffians, pimps and prostitutes were still considered criminals. The law was passed 4 August 1933, being approved unanimously in the PSOE and Communist dominated Congreso de Diputados.

Victoria Kent was one of the first of three women in the Congreso de Diputados. Ángeles Álvarez Álvarez became the first woman to publicly serve in the Congreso de Diputados as a lesbian in 2011.

CRECUL drafted a proposed law on legal equality of de facto couples regardless of their sexual orientation and the right to joint adoption by homosexual couples and sent it to the Congreso de Diputados in 1996.  They were later called to appear by the before congress regarding their proposed law.  The proposed law would then be dealt with for a number of legislative sessions before finally a version passed in 2005.

Teatro Español, located at Calle del Príncipe, 25, had a live production of Tiro la Molina’s work El vergonzoso en palacio in 1894. The work focused on female sexual typology, with one of the three main female protagonists in the comedy being a latent lesbian and was written in the early 17th century. Victorina Durán met with other lesbians there during the 1920s in a salon in the building, one of the most frequent places where she would hold tertulias. Margarita Xirgu performed in the 1922 production of La niña by Gómez Arias de Calderón de la Barca held at the theater. Right-wing supporters attended the 29 December1934 Madrid premiere of Lorca’s play Yerma at the theater in which Xirgu starred. Sitting in the upper gallery, they repeatedly interrupted the show to accuse her of being a lesbian and queer. Teatro María Guerrero, located at Calle de Tamayo y Baus, 4, is a theater in the city. Lola Rodríguez Aragón organized the first official opera season at the theater in late 1945 after success in opera in Lisbon in May of that year. The theater had a live production of Tiro la Molina’s work El vergonzoso en palacio in 1948. The work focused on female sexual typology, with one of the three main female protagonists in the comedy being a latent lesbian and was written in the early 17th century. When Margarita Xirgu returned to Spain in 1914, she settled in Madrid with her first performances at the theater in Santiago Rusiñol’s play El patio azul, and then followed it up with another role in another performance at the theater.

Museo de Arte Moderno, originally located at Paseo de Recoletos, 20, was created in 1894 and opened on 1 August 1898. Among the artists whose work was exhibited was that of Marisa Roesset Velasco. The museum was closed on 5 February 1971, with its works being distributed to Museo del Prado and Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo (MEAC), the predecessor to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

Teatro Real de Madrid is one of the most important theaters in Madrid. The family of Victorina Durán Cebrian was heavily involved in the performing arts and had connections to the theater. When she was young, Durán would watch her mother dance at the theater. Teatro Real hosted a production of the opera Ainadamar in July 2012. It was a production by composer Osvaldo Golijov and playwright David Henry Hwang based on the life of Margarita Xirgu Subirá and specifically her friendship with Federico García Lorca. Events in the opera take place in Montevideo, describing events in Madrid and Granada. The actress was Garcia’s muse. It was also home to the Conservatorio Superior de Música y Declamación, from 1852 to 1932, the period when Victorina Durán Cebrian attended. The theater is located at Plaza de Isabel II, and opened in 1850. In addition to seeing performances at the theater, guided tours are also offered.

The original offices of El Heraldo de Madrid were located at calle del Marqués de Cubas, 9. It was in these offices that no longer at there that Carmen de Burgos worked as a journalist in the 1910s.

Café Molinero, located at Calle Gran Vía, 1, in the Edificio Grassy, opened in 1917. It originally included a restaurant, Sicilia-Molinero, and a tearoom, with the cafe opening shortly after. In its time, it was one of the most elegant places in Madrid. The cafe finally closed its doors in the 1990s and was replaced with a restaurant with erotic shows. During the 1920s, the café was one of the most frequent meeting places for Victorina Durán and the Círculo Sáfico de Madrid.

Calle de Ventura de la Vega, 1, on the corner with carrera de San Jerónimo is where Victorina Durán had a spacious attic with a large skylight and north face windows. It had views of some of Madrid’s important landmarks. The attic was a place where held social gatherings with friends and fellow artists in the 1920s. In Elena Fortún’s Oculto sendero, the apartment is recast as belonging to Lolín. In her work El pensionado de Santa Casilda, the attic is recast as being on Gran Vía.

Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, located at Calle de Alcalá, 13, also called the Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. It was created by Royal Decree on 12 April 1752. Victorina Durán Cebrian, Rosa Chachel, Marisa Roësset Velasco and Matilde Calvo Rodero all studied there during the late 1910s and early 1920s. Lucía Sánchez Saornil also enrolled at the school, studying painting in the late 1910s. In addition to being a school, it also has a museum attached to it that is open to the public.

The building at Calle de las Huertas, 41 is where Elena Fortún lived as a child, starting at the age of 4 when her father became the administrator in charge of the building. There is a plaque on the building to honor her.

Cuatro Vientos


Aeropuerto de Madrid-Cuatro Vientos is located at Ctra. Barrio de la Fortuna. It is a airport founded by the air force in 1911, and is one of the two oldest airports in the country. It has since become a civilian airport, with military and police sections. The airport is the base for the Policia Nacional to use for things like road traffic and crowd monitoring. The facilities also include the Museo del Aire. Lucía Sánchez Saornil wrote the poem, Cuatro Vientos, drawing on the airport for inspiration. The poem was published in a 1919 edition of the magazine Cervantes.

El Viso


Mujeres Libres was anarchist women’s union co-founded by Lucía Sánchez Saornil, Mercedes Comaposada and Amparo Poch Gascón. At its peak, the organization had 20,000 affiliates. In 1933, Sánchez was appointed the Secretary of Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), and worked on integrating women and women’s needs into the organization; she was prevented from doing so though because of the patriarchy baked into the system and sexist men working to protect their own entrenched interests. This was the catalyst for her co-founding the organization. They had an office and library at Plaza Cataluña, 4. There is no plaque or anything else to indicate the organization once was there. The current building is a mixed use commercial and residential building.



Conservatorio Superior de Música y Declamación, located at Calle Doctor Mata, 2, is where Victorina Durán Cebrian studied painting and piano from around 1906 at age 9 to 17. It is also where Lola Rodríguez Aragón worked as a teacher during the Franco period. Founded in 1830, it is the oldest music school in Spain. It was originally located at Plaza de los Mostenses, a street now called Calle de Isabel la Católica, and located at number 25. The school moved to buildings attached to the Teatro Real de Madrid in 1852. During the Second Republic, in 1932, the school moved again to Calle Zorrilla, 2. It moved again in 1939 to the Teatro Alcázar. As this location proved to small, it moved again to Calle de San Bernardo, 44, the following year. In 1966, the school moved yet again, this time back to its original home attached to the Teatro Real de Madrid. The school moved for a final time to its current home on 12 December 1990. The Indumentaria del Conservatorio de Música y Declamación is part of the music school.

The Centro Dramático Nacional produced a show in 2020 about the life of Elena Fortún based on the research by Nuria Capdevilla-Argüelles, María Jesùs Fraga y Marisol Dorao and directed by María Folguera at the Teatro Valle-Inclán. While the play references the relationship with Matilde Ras, it does not make explicit the couple’s relationship. The theater is located at Calle de Valencia, 1 and seats around 450 people. It was constructed from 2002 to 2005 on the framework of a previous theater in the same location.

El Rastro is an open-air market in Madrid. It has featured in the art and writing of generations of lesbians from the city. Victorina Duran had had a novel based on the market. Gloria Fuertes had a collection of children’s stories published with the name of the market. Both women frequently visited the market, which has over 1,000 vendors. The market, open on Sundays from 9am to 3pm, is bounded by Calle Toledo, Calle Embajadores and Ronda de Toledo.



Café Bar Roma, called by patrons El Roma, was a fashionable Italian cafe located at the intersection of Calle Serrano and Calle de Ayala. The floors were made of marble, and the entrance was on Serrano. It was a place where Gregorio Marañon and Manuel de Falla liked to hold tertulias. It closed sometime around 1974. It was also a gathering place for meetings of the Círculo Sáfico de Madrid during the 1920s. There is nothing there to mark the spot.



The Spanish Civil War started in Madrid in July 1936. Following its start, Consuelo Berges Rabago was charged with running an orphanage in the barrio. The orphanage had been abandoned by the nuns who previously ran it. Berges, working with a team of volunteers, successfully managed to organize an evacuation of children, getting them away from the bombing in the city to Granollers in Catalonia.



Museo del Prado, located at Calle de Ruiz de Alarcón, 23, is one of the most important museums in the world and is the most visited tourist attraction in Madrid. The museum officially opened on 19 November 1819 in a building first created in 1786. The building has undergone several major renovations in 1853, 1882, 1885, 1914 to 1921, 1943 to 1946, 1954-1956 and 2001 to 2007. It houses a number of important works of Spanish artists, giving a chronology the greats in Spanish art history. An oil painting of Carolina Coronado hangs in Sala A. The portrait was done by Federico de Madrazo in 1855. The collection also contains the work of Marisa Roesset Velasco. In 2018, the museum appeared in an advertisement for Orgullo 2018 that featured a pair of lesbian grandmothers reminiscing on how much Madrid has changed for lesbians in the past 40 years.

Parque el Retiro is one of the largest parks in Madrid. In the 1600s and until the early 1800s, it was home to Palacio Buen Retiro. Several Spanish monarchs called it home and it was the seat of the Spanish court. It was here that members of the Court of Felipe IV smeared the Queen of Sweden. It is also where Isabel de Borbón-Parma was born on 31 December 1741. Isabel would go on to write many love letters to the sister of her husband. Parts of the existing palace that are visible today include the Salón de Baile, now known as the Casón del Buen Retiro. This was originally a ballroom. It also includes the Salón de Reinos, which used to be royal reception room. Elena Fortún would, like many other mothers of the period, take her children, Luis born in 1908 and Manuel born in 1909, to sunbath at El Retiro during the 1910s. It was also here that, while watching her children, Fortún began to write her children’s stories. In 1931, the Lyceum Club Feminino ran a conference in María Martínez Sierra’s honor in El Retiro, collecting 600 pesetas that the author gave to unemployed workers in the city. The focus of the conference, named Literad, was on women’s rights.

Ateneo de Madrid, located at Paseo del Prado, 21, was an important cultural venue in Madrid during the early part of the 20th century, especially for members of the generación del 98, generación del 14 and the generación del 27. The Ateneo was founded in 1820. By the 1880s, events organized by the Ateneo were being attended a large number of important women of the day including María Luisa Guerra, María Luisa Chevalier, Isabel Echevarría de Aguirre and Matilde Torregrosa. The ability for women to attend events made it an important gathering place in the cultural lives of women from the 1880s onwards. Members of the Círculo Sáfico de Madrid would use it to hold their own meetings, to network and to give speeches. Among those attending events in the 1920s included Victorina Durán and Rosa Chacel. On 13 March 2017, the Ateno de Madrid hosted a tribute to Gloria Fuertes in celebration of the centenary of her birth.


Hotel Mandarín Oriental Ritz, located at Plaza de la Lealtad, 5, is a five-star hotel. Following a successful performance by Margarita Xirgu in Saint Joan at Teatro Eslava in 1926, a tribute was paid to the actress at the hotel. It was here that she would hear about a promising poet, Federico García Lorca, for the first time. This event initiated a lifelong friendship between the two.



Lyceum Club Femenino is the Madrid branch of an enlightenment period cultural circle of women first created in London in 1904. The Madrid branch opened in 1926. It was founded by several women. Its membership included a number of women who were lesbians including Victorina Durán Cebrian, María de Maeztu, Victoria Kent and Elena Fortún. The Club also hosted a number of art exhibitions, including one by Marisa Roesset Velasco who was not a member. The Lyceum officially closed in 1939 when Franco came to power in Madrid. It was officially replaced by the Club Medina, which was part of the Francoist Sección Femenina. The original Lyceum Club Femenino continued its activities in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, though they did so clandestinely to avoid government repression. Their activities continued to support women’s education and feminist ideals. A commemorative plaque is attached to the building where the Lyceum once was at the intersection of Plaza del Rey and Calle del Barquillo.

Los Rosales


Calle de Carmen de Burgos is a street located not far from the Cercanais Villaverde Bajo stop. It is named after Carmen de Burgos, who was born in the province of Almería on 10 December 1867. The author would go on to write one of the most important feminist works of her era, La mujer moderna y sus derechos, supporting women’s right to vote and divorce, as well as being an out lesbian later in her life. In addition to these things, she would become the first war correspondent for a newspaper.



Calle de Bailén is the street where Elena Fortún was born on 18 November 1886 with the name María de la Encarnación Gertrudis Jacoba to Leocadio Aragoneses Esteban and Manuela Urquijo Ribacova. The family lived there after her father moved to Madrid to get a position of halberdier of the Palace. Her parents met in Madrid, with her mother residing in Madrid after having been widowed in her first marriage.

Escuela del hogar y Profesional de la Mujer was a school designed to prepare young women for a life of fulfillment in the home as wives and mothers. The original location of the school when they were founded in 1911 was at Cuesta de Santo Domingo. A year later in March 1912, they moved to Paseo de la Castellana, 60 and a bit later, they moved down the street to Paseo de la Castellana, 72. In 1932, they moved to Calle Pinar, 7. Rosa Chacel was a member of the first class of the school, developing her feminist beliefs at the school. Matilde Calvo was a teacher there.

Victorina Durán lived in an attic apartment without an elevator on Calle del Reloj near Plaza de España when she returned to Spain in 1963.



Salamanca is a district in Madrid. According to the writings of Victorina Durán, the barrio was an important one for lesbians in the 1920s as it was a place where they could feel relaxed and more liberated. The barrio itself was created on the outskirts of Madrid in 1860 by the Marquis de Salamanca, starting with Calle Serrano. The project bankrupted him. The barrio up until the 1930s was one which had a mixture of different classes.

Café Granja El Henar, located at calle Alcalá, 40, was a meeting for Spanish intellectuals, politicians, journalists, writers, artists and teachers and hosted many tertulias during its prime. It opened in 1910 as a dairy that sold butter and cheeses, before converting to a specialist dairy in 1912. In 1924, keeping the same name, it changed its interior layout and decoration and relaunched as a modern cafe, that included a separate entrance for women to a tea salon. For lesbians, the cafe played an important role as it was one of only two major places outside private homes where they could participate in tertulias. The cafe also was home to a number of meetings of the Círculo Sáfico. The cafe survived the Civil War for a few years, but finally folded in 1948. The building it once was in is now occupied by the Ministerio de Educación.

Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid is the bar association for lawyers in Madrid. It is located at Calle de Serrano, 9 y 11. Its history dates back to 1596 when it was founded by a group of thirty-seven lawyers who were part of the Court of Rey Felipe II. In 1924, Victoria Kent became its first woman in Spain to join the organization and the second female lawyer ever in the country. She would go on to be involved with important cases, including being the first female lawyer in the world to represent someone before a military tribunal.

Calle de Villanueva is where Elena Fortún lived starting in September 1900, when Fortún was a 14-year-old. The family’s move meant her father lived much further away from his mistress. Fortún was also no longer enrolled in school by the time she moved there as it was typical for girls to stop education by that point in order to prepare themselves for marriage. In 1904, Fortún’s father died and the family could no longer afford the high rent on their building. They moved to another place, down the street at Calle de Villanueva, 17.

Palacio de Biblioteca y Museos Nacionales is a neo-classical building located at Paseo de Recoletos, 20-22. It houses the Biblioteca Nacional de España and the Museo Arqueológico Nacional. The building construction began in 1866 and ended in 1892. The Biblioteca Nacional opened there on 16 March 1896. Prior to the building being put on the site, the site was a farm from which the nearby Calle del Prado draws its name. Among the works in the collection of the National Library are those of painter Marisa Roesset Velasco.

San Isidoro


Cementerio Sacramental de San Isidro, located at Paseo de la Ermita del Santo, 72, is a monumental cemetery that opened in 1811, and quickly became the place where the city’s nobility were interred. Among the people buried there is Dolores Cabrera y Heredia; she was originally interred in Zaragoza following her death in 1899 before being moved to be next to her daughter. Marisa Roesset Velasco and Lola Rodríguez Aragón are interred together in a family tomb belonging to Rodríguez Aragón. Roesset Velasco died in 1976 and Rodríguez Aragón died in 1984.

Sacramental de San Justo, located at Paseo de la Ermita del Santo, 70, is a cemetery next to Cementerio de San Isidro, separated only by a wall. Opening in August 1847, it is still active today. Among the people interred there are Carmen Conde.



Centro Hijos de Madrid was a school for orphans that opened on 18 April 1904. It was located at Calle de Alcalá, 12. Students included Lucía Sánchez Saornil, who enrolled around 1908 when her mother died.

Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, located at Calle de Alcalá, 13, was founded by Royal Decree on 12 April 1752 as a national academy of fine arts; the school subsequently added a museum. Women were allowed to join long before other institutions in Spain were open to them. Lesbians who have attended the academy include Carolina Durán, Rosa Chachel and Matilde Calvo Rodero in the 1910s.

Cines Callao, located at Plaza de Callao, 3, was opened in 1926. It was and remains a popular place for all Madrileños to visit and catch a movie. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, it was also a place where lesbians would covertly have dates with other women. Among those lesbians taking dates there was Victorina Duran. The best day of my life is a documentary film made during World Pride Madrid, and follows the story of six people who attended the march from countries where homosexuality is illegal. A March 2018 preview of the film was held at Cines Calloa that was attended by Manuela Carmena and the film’s director Fernando González Molina. One of the stories told was that of Ugandan lesbian activist Ruth Muganzi. In her country, being a lesbian can result in up to seven years in prison and where others can murder lesbians with impunity.

Escuela de Artes y Oficios de Madrid was a school located at the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente and Calle de Atocha on the site of an old convent. Rosa Chacel was enrolled at the school to study drawing around 1910. She was only a student for a single year before transferring to the newly opened the Escuela del hogar y Profesional de la Mujer. It was also here that Carmen de Burgos took a teaching position in 1911. It was around this same time that de Burgos also started teaching the deaf and blind in the city, an activity she would keep up until her death. The building where the school once stood no longer exists.

Calle de Alcalá, 1, is building where the telephone company, now known as Telefónica, that Lucía Sánchez Saornil once worked for was located. She was eventually fired from this job in 1931 because of her unionist activities. Being fired resulted in Sánchez redirecting her energy towards politics.

Edificio Sociedad Madrid-París is a building located on Gran Vía, 32 and currently occupied by H & M. During the Civil War, the Republican aligned Unión Radio Madrid was based in the building. In addition to broadcasting La Pasionaria’s famous “No pasarán” speech, they also broadcast Lucía Sánchez Saornil’s poem “Madrid, Madrid, mi Madrid” around 1937 as the city was being bombed by Franco’s forces.

Because of intense bombing during the siege of Madrid, Mujeres Libres moved their offices from Gran Vía to a private home on Calle de Diego de León. Mujeres Libres was anarchist women’s union co-founded by Lucía Sánchez Saornil, Mercedes Comaposada and Amparo Poch Gascón. At its peak, the organization had 20,000 affiliates. It played an important role in educating women, teaching them a broad range of topics from basic literacy to sex education.



Calle de Nicasio Gallego, 1, is where Carmen de Burgos lived from 1927 until her death on 9 October 1932. She died in her home, having returned early from a round table discussion on sex education hosted by the Círculo Radical Socialista after feeling ill the previous day. She was attended in death by three doctors including her friend Gregorio Marañón. There is a plaque on the building in her honor.

Universidad (Malasaña)


Calle de San Vicente Ferrer, 33-31, is where Rosa Chacel lived in Madrid when she was a child. A memorial plaque is on the building saying, “En esta casa vivió de 1908 a 1911 la escritora Rosa Chacel y aquí ambientó su novela “Barrio de Maravillas.”

Escuela Normal de Maestras de Madrid is an institution that was created in 1839 with a purpose of training schoolteachers, and was located at Calle de San Bernardo, 80. María Martínez Sierra attended the school during the 1890s. Painter Victorina Durán Cebrian taught at the school for a few years. According to her autobiography, lesbian activity existed at the school. Carmen de Burgos taught there from 1905 to 1907, and again in 1909 to 1911. There is nothing at the current location to indicate the school used to be there. The school library moved to Valencia during the Civil War, and then returned following the war to a series of flats on Calle de los Madrazo. The school moved again in 1950 to Ronda de Toledo, 3, and then moved to Calle de la Santísima Trinidad, 37, in 1960 when it merged with the Escuela Normal de Maestras. In 1995, it was absorbed into the Faculty of Education at Universidad Complutense de Madrid.



Plaza de Rosa Chacel is a plaza located in Vicálvaro. It is named after the writer Rosa Chacel, who was born in Valladolid on 3 June 1898. A member of the Generación del 27, she would write her autobiography Acrópolis which discussed being a lesbian in Spain in the 1920s.



Calle Elena Fortún is a street in the city named after Elena Fortún, the creator of popular children’s book character Celia. Elena Fortún was born in Madrid in 1886, and started publishing the series as short stories in magazines in 1929. Despite her lesbian relationships while married, she did not suffer the same blacklisting as other feminist and lesbian women affiliated with the Second Spanish Republic because she remained largely apolitical during that period.

Calle Margarita Xirgu is a street in the town named after the early 20th century actress Margarita Xirgu. She was born on 18 June 1888 in Molins de Rei, Catalonia, went on to play an important role in the Círculo Sáfico de Madrid and served as a muse for Federico García Lorca before being forced into exile because of the events of the Civil War.

Plaza de Carmen Conde is a plaza in the barrio named after Carmen Conde, a poet, dramatist, essayist, Spanish teacher and a member of the generación poética del 27. Born on 15 August 1907 in Cartagena, she was also a member of the Círculo Sáfico de Madrid, and met her partner Amanda Junquera during the Civil War and was with her until Junquera’s death in 1987.



Casa del Poeta Vicente Aleixandre, located at Calle de Vicente Aleixandre, 4, is a building once owned by the poet Vicente Aleixandre. It has since been converted to a cultural center that is open to the public. Carmen Conde and Amanda Junquera moved into an apartment in the building in 1941 with Conde’s mother. They lived there until 1945, when they moved to Conde’s family home on Calle de Ferraz.

Vista Algre


Estudios del Orfanato de El Pardo was part of Finca Vistalegre Carabanchel. Created in the early 1930s with the birth of the Second Republic, they used the grounds of the old Asilos de San Juan y Santa María in a pair of buildings near the Palacio Nuevo. One of the goals was to reduce the number of children on the street who were begging. It was state run, taking over the role of a few privately run institutions that predated it and were on or near the site. One of the people who taught here was Carmen Conde.

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