GIVEN ITS CURRENT STATUS AS Spain’s Ministry of Culture, a visit to the House of the Seven Chimneys can be tricky to organize. Luckily, its most notable feature can be seen from the street for free. The Casa de las Siete Chimeneas owes its name to the chimneys that represent the seven deadly sins.
The building, which stands right in the heart of central Madrid, used to be a country home on the outskirts of the city, surrounded by orchards and gardens when it was originally conceived back in the 16th century.
Legend has it that this house was built by King Carlos V to serve as a home for one of his loyal huntsmen. Many believe that it was really for the huntsman’s beautiful daughter, Elena, who may have been the secret lover of the king’s son, Felipe II. In the end, Elena never married the future king of Spain and her husband died at war. Supposedly, when she received the terrible news from the battlefield, she locked herself in her room, refused to eat, and eventually died of grief. Her ghost, if the rumors are to be believed, still haunts these halls.
No one knows how much of the story is true, but a woman’s corpse and a bag full of coins from the time of Felipe II were found in the basement in the 19th century. The House of the Seven Chimneys is still standing today, just off the Gran Vía in the Chueca area, overlooking the Plaza del Rey.
Know Before You Go
The closest metro stops are Banco de España (L2) and Chueca (L5).