Evolution in the use of natural building stone in Madrid, Spain

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Many types of stone have been used for construction in Madrid. In historical times, their use was determined by the proximity of the geological resources, the ease of quarrying and transportation links to the city. More recently, as transport connections and quarrying techniques have improved, quality and durability have become key determinants of building stone selection. Local flint was used intensively from the ninth to the eleventh century, when it was replaced by Redueña dolostone, used in turn until the seventeenth century. Granitic rocks from the Guadarrama Mountain Range that crop out in the northern and western area of the province increasingly began to be used in the city from the sixteenth century. Traditionally known as Berroqueña stone, this building stone was quarried in a number of areas; the primary point of supply was Zarzalejo, and from the eighteenth century the granite used was mainly quarried in the Alpedrete area. Eighteenth century advances in underground quarrying made it possible to extract a limestone (Colmenar stone) located in the southeastern part of the region. Together with Berroqueña stone, this limestone became one of Madrid's traditional building stones, and both, highly esteemed for their excellent petrophysical properties and durability, are still used today.
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