March 26 was a very important day for the Earth. Hundreds of buildings of 4,500 cities in 135 countries worldwide turned their lights off as a symbol of the fight against global warming.

Madrid was one of the cities which wanted to contribute in this annual awareness campaign promoted by the World Wildlife Fund. Therefore, the lights of the most representative buildings of the city were turned off. For example, the Royal Palace, the Escorial Palace and la Cibeles where some of the buildings left in darkness.

Real Madrid wanted to participate in this event, too. So, its stadium Santiago Bernabeu attended such a yearned appointment with our world.

Why is Santiago Bernabeu such an emblematic building in Madrid? Some facts of its history may help you get an idea of how important it is.

A group of players started a football team in a vacant lot next to the old Madrid bullring in 1901. Some years later, another vacant lot on O’Donnell Street was turned into the best football pitch in Madrid. This pitch became a small stadium named Chamartín in 1924, and the team played there for 23 years.

After that, Santiago Bernabeu who was the president of Real Madrid, had an ambitious idea and proposed the construction of a much bigger stadium with capacity for 100,000 fans. This idea soon was the object of a lot of criticism, considering the work as a hideously monumental structure. Anyway, the new stadium was built on the foundations of the old one and inaugurated in 1947. And it was also renamed as Santiago Bernabeu in honor of the president of the club.

The stadium was modernised for the 1982 World Cup and, in 1998, alterations was also made in the inside of the building. The UEFA rewarded the Club for its huge investment and magnificent organisation with the inclusion of the stadium in their list of Elite Stadiums.

As one of the UEFA Elite Stadiums and part of the history of Madrid, Santiago Bernabeu couldn't miss the worldwide appointment with the Earth Hour. From 20.30 to 21.30, its facade lights, including the billboard with the stadium's name and the Club's centenary dates, and the lights directed at the pitch went off. Thanks to this, 30,000 watts on facade lighting and 16,000 watts on pitch light energy were saved.

Author's Bio: 

Harriet Freeman, representative of OK Madrid apartments. Specialist in tourism and general issues about Spain.
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