Plague hospital found under Madrid Apple shop

Builders at Madrid's new Apple store, set to open in the capital's emblematic Puerta del Sol square this Christmas, have unearthed the foundations of a 15th century hospital while working on the building's basement.

Plague hospital found under Madrid Apple shop
No human remains have yet been found at the 16th-century plague hospital unearthed under Madrid's new Apple store. Timothy A. Clary/ AFP

Apple's new seven-storey mega shop is being built on the former site of Madrid’s 600-year-old Buen Suceso hospital, once used to treat plague victims.

The technology giant's renovation of Puerta del Sol's symbolic Tío Pepe building led to the discovery of the foundations of the ancient building last week.

Back in 2009, railway construction workers unearthed the remains of an historical church located next to the hospital, both buildings carried the same name.

"We’re not surprised to find these remains because we knew they could be there", the director of the Madrid Heritage Department, Jaime Ignacio Muñoz of the Popular Party, told Spanish daily El País.

Although diggers at the Buen Suceso Church discovered remains from burials and executions from the 19th century Napeolonic Wars between Spain and France, no bones have yet been found at the recently unearthed hospital.

Madrid's emblematic Tío Pepe building is the new site of Apple flagship store in Spain. Photo: librarygroover/Flickr

Buen Suceso Hospital is believed to have been demolished in 1854 during a revamp of the capital's main square, Puerta del Sol.

The church's remains, which delayed the railway improvements for nearly a year in 2009, have been preserved behind protective glass in the mezzanine of the station ever since.

Muñoz has told Apple they will only have to change their basement plans and "symbolically" trace the outline of these newly discovered walls.

This means the tech giant will not have to postpone the opening of its new 6,000-square-metre store this Christmas.

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Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.