Chamberí might sound very traditional, like the name of a zarzuela. However, its origin is in French lands; in the capital of the historic region of Savoy. So as you can see: we have a first mystery to solve.
It is not known the reason why this name is in Madrid, but there is no lack of theories. One of them speaks of a Napoleonic regiment that camped in the area at the time of the War of Independence, but apparently, the name had already been used before.
Maybe it was because to Gabriela de Saboya, the first wife of Felipe V, it reminded her of her land? That is what the second theory says, but we would not put our hand in the fire either.
The thing is that this open space in Madrid ended up becoming a district of the city. And the thing is, also, that Chamberí was one of the first eight stations built when modernity brought the metro to the capital.
It was opened in 1919, but the people, they say, were quite reluctant to travel under the earth as if they were worms. So much so, that the matter had driven Antonio Palacios, the architect in charge of the project, crazy.
Palacios used colourful tiles and bright-bright-looking materials so that the locals could enter his station in a more relaxed way. And he must have succeeded because the place remained in operation until 1966 when the impossibility of certain renovations works led to its closure.
So the station was frozen in time, for better or for worse. The external accesses were bricked up and the years did, little by little, as they do. The work of Antonio Palacios, so concerned that the place was warm and welcoming, ended up being a sinister, dark and degraded corner. And, to finish it, stories and legends of ghosts emerged.
According to one of them, an orphan girl had been pushed to the tracks for discovering the forbidden love between a priest and a nun. And since then, the spirit of the girl takes a walk on the platform every year, when the anniversary of the misfortune approaches.
In 2006 it was decided to recover its facilities, restoring them and returning them to their original appearance. So visiting the Chamberí Station today is jumping back a whole century. And that’s without Fluzo’s condenser from Back to the Future!