The Madrid writer Alejandro Pérez Lugín moved to Santiago in 1886 to study law. After working as a journalist for several newspapers, he published the novel La Casa de la Troya, in which he remembers his student life.
The real Casa de la Troya, which inspired the novel’s writer, was nothing more than a boarding house for students. It was thereafter owned by several families until 1960, when it was closed due to its poor state of repair.
On March 24, 1966, the radio program Ustedes son formidables (You’re wonderful) decided to collect five hundred thousand pesetas (three thousand euros) in order to purchase the old guest house and restore it. After an hour and a half broadcasting, they had already collected the money. The house was bought, but the restoration did not take place until the nineties.
The Casa de la Troya Museum was opened on February 27, 1993, thanks to an association of former students. It is an evocation of what a boarding house used to be at the end of the 19th century and, by extension, a clear reflection of the city’s social habits in those days when the theatre, dances, serenades and walks in Alameda Park brightened up everyday life.
The visit to the house brings back memories frozen in time in a collection of furniture, pictures, photographs and objects that would have belonged to the people that inspired the novel. The building has a basement, three upper floors and an attic. The stables were turned into small meeting rooms.
On entering the boarding house, we find ourselves in the so-called “room of respect,” the place where the youths received visits from their relatives. The former dining hall is used as a study room and, above all, as the place where Compostela’s “tuna” (student musical group) rehearse. On the second floor we will find the bedrooms, one of them double and the other one single. This one was one peseta more expensive than the first, and it was the room occupied by the novel’s main character, Gerardo Roquer.
This young man from Madrid was obliged by his father to come to Santiago, to finish his Law studies. The unhappiness of his exile soon ends when he meets Miss Carmiña Castro Retén, a woman of remarkable beauty and charm.
The novel deals with youthful love and the ups and downs of its characters, with a happy ending when the couple get married.