'Tras Julia' – Madrid, Spain - Atlas Obscura

'Tras Julia'

Dedicated to a young woman who broke gender barriers at the University of Madrid.  


Next to the Noviciado metro station in barrio de Malasaña stands this life-size bronze statue, the work of Madrid-born sculptor Antonio Santín Benito. It pays homage to Julia, a young university student who, according to legend, attended the Universidad Central de la Calle de San Bernardo disguised as a male since only men were allowed access.

The statue was unveiled in April 2003, on the exterior façade of the Bauer Palace where the old University was located and today houses the Superior Singing School. The piece represents a young woman with books in one of her arms, leaning against the wall. The statue of Julia is one of the most popular urban sculptures in the Malasaña neighborhood.

Julia is standing on the sidewalk at the end of Calle del Pez. In addition to its artistic and decorative merit, it has a legendary history associated with the University of Madrid. Julia’s story takes place in the mid-19th century when women were banned from studying at the university.

We don’t really know who Julia was, but some say that Julia is a representation of Concepción Arenal, a jurist, writer, and human rights activist. It is known that Concepción Arenal dressed up as a man to study law in 1840.

Know Before You Go

You will find Julia at Calle del Pez, 42, on the corner of Pez and Noviciado streets. Across the street from the Noviciado metro station.

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December 6, 2022

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