The Madrid Metro network opened for business in 1919, and has since grown to be the 6th largest metro network in the world. Along the way, many changes have been made; the network now includes more than 12 lines, spanning the entire city and some of the suburban communities around Madrid.
One of these changes – the increase in train length in the 1960s – resulted in the closing of Chamberi Station, one of the first metro stations in the city. To accommodate the change in length, existing platforms had to be elongated. Chamberi station was built on too much of a curve to lengthen its platform, and the station was abandoned.
It came back into the public consciousness in 2008, when it was reopened as a museum named Anden 0 (Platform 0). Tourists and Madrileños alike visit the station for a quick peek into life Madrid life in the early 20th century. While the experience isn’t 100% authentic (it was cleaned up and repainted before reopening), it still had a very charming feel to it.
I expected the visit to take a quick 15-20 minutes as it isn’t very big. However, we actually ended up spending 40 minutes looking at the details and taking it all in. One of the best features of the museum is the old, tile advertisements that can be seen along the platform walls. I can’t imagine the time and effort it must have taken to create and then put up these ads.
Opposite the public area, there is another platform that screens old advertisements, further giving a historical feel to the experience.
On the way out you may watch a short documentary about the history of the metro system of Madrid. It is all in Spanish, which doesn’t make it very tourist friendly, but it was still interesting to see the old film footage.
If you’re interested in checking it out, I suggest going early. When we went on a Sunday morning, there was only one other visitor there. Since there wasn’t a crowd, I went at my own pace and was able to appreciate the experience a bit more.
Metro Stop: Iglesia, Alonso Martínez, or Bilbao
Hours: Every Friday from 11am to 1pm and from 5pm to 7pm. Every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm. Opening times also apply to public holidays.
What was your favourite unconventional museum to visit? Are there any unconventional museums in your city?
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