The Puerta del Sol is the center of Madrid and thus the center of all of Spain. Here is the zero point "Kilómetro Cero", from which the distances from Madrid are measured. Most of Madrid's shopping streets start at the square Puerta del Sol. The east gate of the medieval city fortifications stood here until 1570. In the morning the sun shone into the city through this gate. From this the name Puerta del Sol "Gate of the Sun" evolved. The largest building on the Puerta del Sol is the Casa de Correos with the bell tower, which was built in 1768 as a post office. The bell rings in the New Year with twelve strikes on New Year's Eve. Today the Comunidad de Madrid, the administration of the Madrid region, is located in the Casa de Correos. The uniform, semicircular facade of the square was built in 1862. In the middle of the square is the equestrian statue of Carlos III.
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 "Estata del Oso y el Madroño" was created in 1967 by the sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafé. The Oso y Madroño statue is one of the most popular selfie subjects in Madrid.
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.
Welcome to Madrid
The Spanish capital is 667 m above sea level, in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula. As a result, the climate here is relatively cool in winter and very hot and dry in summer because of the distance to the sea. With around 3.2 million inhabitants, Madrid is the biggest city in Spain. There are many beautiful buildings and squares in the city center. Numerous restaurants and bars lure visitors to the old town in the evening and to nice squares in the districts north and south of the center.
In addition to the sights, Madrid also has a lot of culture to offer. The Prado is one of the most famous museums in the world. The famous painting "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso hangs in the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Treasures from the "New World" are exhibited in the Museo de America.
Madrid also has many beautiful green areas, the most famous park in the city is the wonderful Parque del Buen Retiro. The Real Jardin Botanico is highly recommended in spring. To the west of the center is the Casa de Campo wooded area, which is connected to the center by a cable car in Calle Rosaleda. The Casa de Campo park can also be reached by underground (Lago station).
Architecture in Madrid
Many international architects have also immortalized themselves in Madrid. Sir Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, MVRDV, Herzog & de Meuron and Philip Johnson to name a few.