Apple has been called “groundbreaking” for its innovative phones and user-friendly computers, but the word took on a much more literal meaning this week when a construction crew in Madrid broke ground for a new Apple Store and discovered the remnants of a 15th century hospital.
The hospital was used to treat victims of the plague that swept through Europe in the 1400s. It was demolished in 1854 and sealed beneath the paving stones of a public square.
The discovery did not come as a complete surprise, according to Fox News Latino. Four years ago, construction workers at a neighboring site unearthed the ruins of a church that used to adjoin the hospital. Construction halted for 10 months as local officials negotiated a way to preserve the ruin without canceling the planned light-rail station for the site. Their solution was to open a window onto the ruin so commuters could see the medieval church as they rushed through the station.
El Pais reports that Apple would not have to incorporate the ruins into its sleek, glass-box store design, but officials at the local heritage department did ask for the store’s footprint to “symbolically” trace the walls of the ruin. That may suit Apple just fine, as it would have been a jolt to Apple store customers, if they stumbled onto a window into a plague-ridden past while browsing through the latest models of i-gadgets.