Spain: Where the streets have strange names

What's in a name?

Video game tribute: Credit: Campeones 2008/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International l

Throughout Spain, some streets carry names that spark curiosity, veering away from the conventional royal or historical figure tributes.

In the heart of Spain’s urban and rural landscapes, certain street names stand out for their unique origins.

These range from pop culture references to names that evoke mystery or even a hint of the macabre. Here’s a look at some of the most intriguing Spanish streets that are sure to catch your attention.

Rock legends and cultural icons

One such example is Calle de AC/DC Street, located in Leganes, near Madrid’s Casa del Reloj metro station. This street was named in 2000 in honour of the legendary rock band, a name that was so coveted it was stolen shortly after its unveiling, only for a replacement to be swiftly installed.

Leganes also boasts streets named after German band, The Scorpions as well as Spanish rock singer Rosendo. There is even a square dedicated to the popular music artist Joan Manuel Serrat, illustrating a broad appreciation across the musical spectrum.

Echoes of the past and popular culture

Further afield, the city of Zaragoza embraces cinematic culture with names such as Calle Citizen Kane, after the 1946 Orson Welles biopic.

Visitors will also come across streets named Cantando Bajo la Lluvia (Singing in the Rain) and Un Perro Andaluz (An Andalucian Dog) in honour of the 1929 film by Salvador Dali.

There is also a reference to popular video games and Avenida Super Mario Bros, together with areas named after The Legend of Zelda and Tetris.

Another street with a fascinating backstory is Calle Desengaño (Disenchantment Street) in Madrid, named after a legend involving two men in love with the same woman, and a duel that ended badly, but not in the way one would normally expect.

The story goes that the confrontation was interrupted by the appearance of the woman, who, upon revealing her face, turned out to be a skull, leaving both suitors horrified and running for the hills.

From the macabre to the humorous

Zamora’s Calle Quebrantahuesos, translating to ‘Bonebreaker Street’, may sound foreboding, but its name actually reflects the area’s historical connection to butcheries and charcuteries.

Similarly, other streets in the city such as Cortarrabos (Tailcutter) and Escuernavacas (Cow Skinner) point to Zamora’s rich livestock trading past.

In a lighter vein, Valladolid hosts the whimsically named Calle Me Falta un Tornillo (I’m Missing a Screw Street), situated near a commercial area and an IKEA store, adding a touch of humour to the daily commute.

Spain’s streets serve as a mosaic of its rich history, cultural influences, and a love of storytelling.

From homage to rock legends and cinematic masterpieces to tales of love, mystery, and historical trades, these names offer a glimpse into the diverse and vibrant tapestry that is Spain.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.