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El sol i el temps | routes >> The 17 of Usera, Madrid

The 17 of Usera, Madrid

In the "Colonia Salud y Ahorro" in the neighborhood of Usera (Madrid, ES), is this important gnomonic set composed of 17 vertical sundials of different sizes, shapes, colors and technical characteristics.

The colony was created in the 30s of the last century under the name of "Colonia Salud y Ahorro", which later became known as "Colonia Moscardó". At present it has recovered its original denomination. Deteriorated by the passage of time, it was partially rehabilitated fifty years later (80s) by the Empresa Municipal de la Vivienda, under the direction of the architects Mr. Pedro Casariego Hernández-Vaquero and Mr. Antonio Vélez Catrain.

When carrying out the rehabilitation, they thought of "The idea of the neighborhood as a daily space and, as a consequence, the passage of time of its inhabitants and the Sun as a source of life". To clearly establish this character, 4 large sundials and a series of 11 smaller sundials reproducing known historical models were developed. The calculation of the 17 sundials was carried out by D. Alberto Corazón and D. Juan José Caurcel respectively.

The sundials can be grouped according to their location and orientation in the following way:

• 4 large-size sundials on the eastern façades on the street of Calesas (characterize the whole).

From this street you can see these large sundials on the lateral facades of 4 buildings declining 67 degrees east. The sundials are equal two to two, and with dimensions of 8 x 4 m and 4 x 2.5 m respectively. The dominant colors are ocher, brown and gray (gnomones). All have a sun drawn on top and his gnomon is an elongated straight trapezoid 2 m long, cut out of painted aluminum sheet.

The fourth sundials must be seen from Mirasierra, since a Health Center has been built in front of it. The third sundial is partly hidden by the aforementioned Health Center and by the foliage of the trees that surround it.

Due to their orientation, you must visit them before noon (12 UTC).

• 2 sundials next to the window (which is part of the whole design) on side facades in the street of Bernardino de Antequera.

The declination of the walls is 21 degrees west. In the box of sundials (3.5 m wide and 2 m high) a window is included and they are at the height of the third floor, their basic colors are beige (the one on the facade) and the tile, Both have an extension where a sun is painted. The gnomones are triangles of painted aluminum sheet, with the side that holds them to the wall in the direction of the subestilar line.

Due to its decline, it is not recommended to visit them before 10:30 UTC.

• 11 sundials on facades of houses and in passages and streets that connect the streets of: a) Gumersindo Azcárate and Doctor Sanchís Banús. b) Doctor Sanchís Banús and Ramón de Madariaga and c) Plaza del Painter Lucas and General Marva.

The walls where the sundials are located decline to the west between 17 and 23 degrees west. The dominant colors in the sundials of the facades are intoned with the exterior paint of the same, yellow and fuchsia, while in the interior of the passageways dominates the blue and white. All exterior sundials have a flaming Sun drawn. The gnómones are triangles of painted aluminum sheet, with the side that holds them to the wall in the direction of the subestilar line.

The design of the sundial on the facade of Gumersindo Azcárate 40-42 coincides with that of the facade of the Plaza del Painter Lucas. It has not been possible to properly photograph the sundial on the façade of Doctor Sanchis Banús due to the excessive foliage and height of the tree planted in front of him on the sidewalk. The view of all the sundials inside the passageways is broken by the structures and plants placed to avoid the whips of the Sun, and in some cases, the reading of the time on the sundial is limited by some awning. The sundial that is most splendidly displayed on the facade is that of the Plaza del Painter Lucas, given the absence of trees and the width of the street.

Due to its decline, it is not recommended to visit them before 10:30 UTC.

Note: Information extracted from the book: "Relojes de sol de Madrid" (ISBN-10: 84-451-2777-2), edited by the Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ord. del Territorio, Comunidad de Madrid, ES.

Route map

Data and documents relating to the route
Author of text:
Jacinto del Buey / Javier Martin-Artajo
Author photos:
Bartomeu Torres i Ruiz


Bernardino de Antequera


Dr Sanchis-Banus

Gumersindo Azcarate

Gumersindo Azcarate 20

Plaza del Pintor Lucas 5

Sanchis Banus 10

Gumersindo Azcarate 30

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