Welcome to my description page of the Canal de Isabel II 150th anniversary celebration, for photos & videos of this event click --> HERE
"¡Agua, agua, miren que agua tenemos!" = "Water, water, look at the (great) water we have". This was the cry that woke me up at 11:00am on Satuday July 27th, 2001. Upon stepping out onto my balcony, my eyes got hold of The "Aguadores" ("Water Carriers"), "Burros" ("Donkeys"), serving ladies, craftsmen and women and even a few "ladies of ill repute" in a makeshift brothel set up in the Plaza Mayor. This event, organized by the city and the Canal de Isabel II, was a time machine that took Madrileños and visitor alike back 150 years to the Madrid of the mid 19th century. As you can see form the photos, the Plaza was decorated as it might have looked 150 years ago, complete with Madrileños of the "época" ("period").
The party lasted from 11:00am to 12:00pm and was thrown in celebration of th 150th anniversary of the "Canal de Isabel II" which is the water system here in Madrid. Amongst other sites, there was a massive handing out of water (Madrid has the best tasting tap water in all of the world) by "Aguadores" (water carriers)...
, exhibitions by craftsmen and women from the period and a stage set up for dancing and the "Zarzuela" which closed the party that evening.
|It was interesting to say the least, with everyone (tourists and Spaniards alike) sharing "botijos" (an antique botijo from Morocco is pictured at left). Botijos come in many shapes and sizes and are not Spanish in origin. They are used in many countries of the world. They are porous jugs that are used to cool water and ar almost always made of prcelain, ceramics or clay. You can see some of the more modern day botijos that were used in the Plaza during this festival on my photo page of this event.|
Some Canal de Isabel II history (for those of you who care :-)
The "Canal" was begun in 1846 and work started with about 2,000 laborers (1,500 of which were Carlist prisoners). Add over 400 Donkeys and other animals to carry construction materials and 5 years of hard labor and we get the Canal de Isabel II.
Madrid, in a city of 236,000 inhabitants the 950 "Aguadores" had their work cut out for them. Delivering the precious water to homes, they had a reputation of being hard and trustworthy workers. So , nearly 250,000 residents of Madrid needed the water supply and hence the "Canal de Isabel II" was inaugurated in 1858. Initially, it only brought water to lower levels of the city from underground reservoirs. By the time a second phase was completed however in the early 20th century, water was available to everyone, even the more eleveted homes.