37 Doors in Santander

Almost every post to date has involved me walking down ‘Paseo de Pereda’ in Santander. It’s the best-known street of the city with spectacular views of the bay. Whilst the buildings themselves are impressive and interesting, I was even more struck by the doors and thought I’d bring them to you here.

Santander Paseo de Pereda doors

Number 1 Paseo de Pereda bears the initials of J G for Jose Garcia. There is a family connection with this man that I’ll recount in another post. Today the building houses members of the legal profession

Paseo de Pereda Santander

Number 3 Paseo de Pereda – I love the reflection of the palm trees which line this street – in the glass panel

No 7 & 8 Paseo de Pereda SAntander

Numbers 7 & 8 Paseo de Pereda – wonderful ironwork

Numbers 1 – 8 of the Paseo de Pereda date back to 1755 – when Santander was declared a city.  These first four blocks formed part of a project to re-model the port area by Catalan engineer Francisco Llobet. The streets facing the port of Santander were being developed to handle the commercial trade with the American colonies and the basements of these first blocks were designed to be used as warehouses. In 1786 the name ‘El Muelle’ first crops up in state records. The word ‘muelle’ translates as quay, dock, pier or wharf. Today the ground-floor occupants include a bank, an opticians, the Carolina Herrera store in Santander, and the pastry shop ‘Confitería Máximo Gómez’ – which itself dates from 1850.

Paseo de Pereda 9 10 11 12 Santander

Number 9-12 is the location for Banco Santander’s historical headquarters. The arch is a major landmark in the city

I’m not sure exactly when numbers 9-12 Paseo de Pereda were built. I do know that they went on fire in 1880 but don’t know what they looked like immediately before or after the event. I do know a hotel was operating on part of the site when the current owners – Banco Santander – took an interest. The present structure was designed in 1919 by Javier Gonzales de Riancho – although the arch wasn’t added until the 1950s. Today it is the social headquarters for the institution that is now managed from its purpose-built financial city 448km south of its birthplace – just outside Madrid.

No 13 Paseo de Pereda Santander

A detail of number 13 Paseo de Pereda – it’s a Ministry for Finance building. I was asked by a security guard not to photograph the full building. Of course, I went back at lunchtime and took a picture but liked this one best

Numbers 13-29 date from the early 1800s. Today they house a local ministry building, a Danish consulate, a bank, a sweet shop, a clothes shop and the birthplace of Juan Ignacio Pombo – an interesting character who flew the 15,970km from Santander to Mexico in 1935 and broke a world record in distance for light aircraft.

Paseo de Pereda no. 18 & 19

Numbers 18 & 19 Paseo de Pereda share this single door – I love this design

Paseo de Pereda 28 & 29 Santander

Another door responsible for two numbers – 28 & 29 Paseo de Pereda. You can just make out the reflection of a cafe terrace

The street was completed in 1875 by local architect Atiliano Rodriquez Collado who designed the final block: numbers 35-37. This architect is best known for the Club de Regatas – The Regata Club – in the Plaza de Pombo directly behind the Paseo de Pereda that he built in 1884. Numbers 35-37 include a shipping agent, a private-banking arm of Banco Santander called Banif and a tapas bar called Casa Lita – which has won a number of local tapas competitions.

Paseo de Pereda no. 35 Santander

Number 35 Paseo de Pereda – one of the newest and largest doors in the street

Paseo de Pereda no. 36 Santander

A sense of the original purpose for the street – number 36 houses a shipping agency established in 1853 that traded with Cuba. Notice the ‘for rent’ sign on the first floor. I looked at this office space a few months ago and it is huge!

The street or the quay as it was then was widened into a boulevard from 1891 to 1902. Around this time tramlines were laid down, and were initially pulled by mules. This is when the street as we now know it became popular for a ‘paseo’ or a stroll.

Paseo de Pereda strolling Santander

The road was widened significantly at the turn of the last century – creating plenty room for strolling – which is done with gusto in the late afternoon, in particular

It was as these changes were taking place to the dimension and function of the street that the name of the street itself changed. Jose Maria de Pereda (Polanco, Cantabria 1988-1906) was a writer and member of the Royal Spanish Academy who had honoured the street in his own novels. He was rewarded for his success with the renaming of the street to Paseo de Pereda in 1903. It didn’t stop there – in 1905 the Pereda gardens were completed just opposite the Paseo de Pereda. And in 1911, a monument to the writer was erected inside the Pereda gardens.

These improvements to the street and the city in general coincided with the construction of the Palacio de la Magdalena – the Spanish Royal Family’s summer residence in Santander. Alfonso XIII and his family holidayed in Santander from 1913-1930. There is a square near the Paseo de Pereda (with an new underground carpark that’s handy if you want to need to park on this street) named after this king.

In 1985 the street of Paseo de Pereda was listed ‘Bien de Interes Cultural’ – ‘of cultural interest’ and is now untouchable.

The stunning views of the bay from Paseo de Pereda are partly obstructed by the crane and diggers on the building site of the Botin Centre (see my posts on the Botin Centre). The nearby Pereda gardens will also be extended and re-modelled as part of this development.

Bay of Santander opposite Paseo de Pereda Santander

The calm before the storm of activity taking place in this bay area of Santander

It’s an interesting street, alright…

Do you like the doors?


  1. Una entrada muy interesante. Estas son fotos de los dos edificios que fueron transformados para la sede social del Banco Santander: http://portal.ayto-santander.es/portalcdis/image/DownloadFileExposicion.do?id=66925&ima=1 (se unieron el tercero y el cuarto comenzando por la izquierda ), pero antes de la unión el tercer edificio fue ampliado y adornado con una cúpula: http://portal.ayto-santander.es/portalcdis/image/DownloadFileExposicion.do?id=76099&ima=1
    y http://portal.ayto-santander.es/portalcdis/image/DownloadFileExposicion.do?id=69969&ima=1

    Y puede que también te resulte interesante este plano diseñado por Llobet: http://www.mcu.es/ccbae/es/consulta/resultados_busqueda.cmd?tipo_busqueda=mapas_planos_dibujos&posicion=4&forma=ficha&id=100229

    Un saludo

    1. Gracias Borja por el comentario, las fotos y el dibujo de Llobet. Me encantan! Creo que el enlace del MCU ha cambiado en los ultimos dias – lo presento aqui de nuevo: http://www.mcu.es/ccbae/es/consulta/resultados_navegacion.cmd?posicion=4&forma=ficha&id=103703

      Many thanks Borja for your comment, the photos and Llobet’s drawings. They’re brilliant. The MCU has changed its link in the past few days so I’ve provided the third link again.

      Un saludo – Regards

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