The "Puerta del Sol" is the center of Madrid, from this square shopping streets run in all directions. Until 1570 this was the place of the East Gate of the city wall. This is where the morning sun appeared first. "Puerta del Sol" means "Gate of the sun".
The coat of arms of Madrid, the Bear (Oso) with the strawberry tree (Madroño), stands on a pedestal at the "Puerta del Sol". The four-meter high statue was created by sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafé in 1967.
The pedestrian street "Calle de Preciados" connects the "Puerta del Sol" square with the "Gran Via". At the elegant shopping street you will find many stores of international brands and the famous spanisch departmentstore El Corte Ingles.
The "Plaza Mayor" is a rectangular square with a uniform façade. The elegant square was built in 1620 on a market square outside the city wall. Today the "Plaza Mayor" of Madrid is a popular meeting place with many cafes and restaurants.
Between "Plaza Santa Ana" and "Puerta del Sol", there are many tapas bars, often with tiled façade on the ground floor. The most beautiful ones are in the "Callejón de Álvarez Gato", "Calle de Barcelona" and "Calle de Cádiz".
The monastery of "Santa Ana", founded in 1586, stood here until 1810. Napoleon's brother demolished the monastery and built this beautiful square in the "Huertas" quarter. The "Reina Victoria Hotel" on the west side of the square was built in 1916.
The insurance company La Union y el Fénix decided in 1905 to build this magnificent office building on the corner of Gran Via. In 1911 the "Edificio Metropolis" was opened. The landmark building on the corner of the Gran Via has become the landmark of Madrid.
The "Casa de Correos y Telegrafos" (post and communications office) was built in 1917. The neo-renaissance building is located on the famous fountain "Fuente de Cibeles". "Cibeles" is the Greek mother-erth and the fertility goddess of agriculture.
The Gran Vía is a major street breakthrough projected by the city of Madrid in 1910. Built in three sections, the boulevard was completed in 1927. On Gran Via you will find the most magnificent buildings in Madrid.
When the construction of the "Aswan dam" was begun in 1960, an important temple complex had to be relocated. Spain supported Egypt with this effort and got this temple as a gift.
President Bernabéu of Real Madrid came up with the idea of building the largest stadium of Spain to earn the highest revenue, creating the best football club in the world. In 1947 the "Estadio Santiago Bernabeu" was opened with 75,000 seats, the biggest stadium in Spain. In 1957 Bacelona built the "Camp Nou" stadium with 99.300 seats. Today the "Santiago Bernabeu" stadium has 81.000 seats, still No. 2 in Spain.
Salamanca is the noble district of Madrid. Here are the most expensive boutiques, restaurants and designer shops of the city. Tip: Don't show this part of town to your girlfriend.