A picturesque and little known corner in the north part of Madrid, a green island that preserves an olive grove with more than a hundred ancient olive trees, together with almond trees, rockroses, broom and rosemary. In the early 20th century it belonged to the village of Chamartín, now a district of Madrid; nowadays it is a private park managed by the Olivar de Castillejo Foundation.
In 1917, José Castillejo Duarte (1877-1945), disciple of Francisco Giner de los Ríos, bought the olive grove and convinced a group of fellow intellectuals to live there and enjoy a healthy life in the countryside. The new residents included historian Ramón Menéndez Pidal and writer Dámaso Alonso. The homes owned by these distinguished intellectuals and still preserved today are now on the “Buildings of Interest” list drawn up by the Madrid Association of Architects.
In addition to its agricultural value (the park still uses traditional farming methods) the park is also valuable historically speaking, as it was where Napoleon based his camp during the War of Independence and it was also a strategic anti-aircraft position during the Spanish Civil War.
The Foundation holds a number of cultural events in the park, such as book launches, poetry readings, concerts, exhibitions and open-air opera performances.