The Palace of the Stock Exchange of Madrid has been the financial centre of Spain for more than one hundred years. Although in 2006, the team and all operations moved to the new headquarters of BME in Las Rozas, the building continues to preside over the Plaza de la Lealtad in Madrid. Today you can still imagine the murmuring of the crowd and the cries of the brokers in the rooms of this neoclassical building.
We visited the palace with a group of Repsol’s shareholders and there we discovered some of the curiosities it hides.
“I had seen it from the outside but not inside. I knew what it was like from the TV and I wanted to see it. The most curious thing is the symbology: the references to the peseta, to the Jewish culture, etc.”
“The open outcry rooms and the table in the auditorium are two of the things that most attracted my attention. Whenever I can, I try to sign up for these kinds of activities. I have been a Repsol shareholder for over 20 years and these initiatives are very interesting.”
“I was here a few years ago because I worked in a bank. At that time there was still activity going on; there were the agents’ tables and it was very interesting to see the open outcry and all the hustle and bustle. At that time you couldn’t access the top floor, so what I have found most curious is seeing all the rooms that were previously private”.
“This is the first time I’ve come to the Stock Exchange Palace. The auditorium is the most curious thing, it looks a lot like the old Senate and I didn’t expect anything quite like it. I’d seen the rest through the media.”
“My wife and I have been Repsol shareholders for many years and we have participated in different visits. We particularly liked this one because of the history of the stock exchange but also because of the building itself; it’s beautiful”.
“I found it a beautiful building and although it is strange to see it empty, it also allows you to imagine how it would have been years ago. I have signed up for several activities for shareholders. On one occasion, visited Campus Repsol in Méndez Álvaro with my husband and we loved it, it’s wonderful.”
Then, we tell you some of the curiosities that this building hides:
It is inspired by the Eiffel Tower. The magnificent use of iron and glass in the Parisian tower impressed many architects of the 19th This was also the case with Enrique María de Repullés, who observed the masterpiece of Gustave Eiffel to design the Stock Exchange.
The word ‘Bolsa’* comes from the Van der Bürse, a Belgian family based in Bruges who celebrated business meetings in their house back in the 13th In their shield appears a woman’s handbag, an icon represented in many corners of the Stock Exchange Palace as a tribute to the saga that originated financial activities in Europe.
Traces of a skirmish remain. During the Civil War, the stock exchange remained closed and therefore, also the building. After the war, the first workers who returned to the palace discovered some bullet marks in one of the stained glass windows. The only thing that is known is that they were made with a 22 calibre weapon.
The Palace that always burned. Such was the amount of smoke permanently emerging from the windows from the cigarettes smoked by the workers, that many passers-by thought there was a fire in the building. The marks of the cigarette ends can also be seen on the parquet of the upper floor.
The mark of the Masons. Symbology is present in all the rooms. The Greek heritage is observed in the god Mercury and in the caduceus, symbols of commercial operations. The visitor will also find iconography attributed to Freemasonry, such as the compass and square. References to Jewish culture, linked to trade, also appear through the Star of David.
The bell has not rung since 1989. With the computerization of transactions, it was no longer necessary to maintain the premises for the brokers to gather. From 1989 to 2006, the BME workers gradually moved to the new headquarters in Las Rozas. The palace is currently used for television broadcasts, the organization of events and cultural visits.
* “Bolsa” means “bag” in Spanish and also refers to the Stock Exchange