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Madrid – The Spanish City of Bullfights, Skyscrapers and Art
Madrid is the capital city of Spain. It is also the largest city in the country. It is centrally located in the country. Its land area is around 698 square kilometers.
The city serves as the seat of the Spanish government. It also serves as the political centre of the country. Madrid is also the major financial centre of Southern Europe.
The name of city has many origins. It can mainly be found in its history.
The city first historically started as a palace. It was constructed in the 9th century. The Palacio Real now occupies its location. The area was first called Majerit. The reason was because of the Manzanares River. The Muslims called it al-majrit at that time.
A citadel was built near the palace. It was conquered in the 11th century by King John I of Castile. Leon VI of Armenia became the first Lord of Madrid in 1383 AD. The Royal palace was rebuilt at that time. The city was also restored. Jews and Moors lived in the city until the 15th century.
The court of Spain was moved to Madrid in 1561. The city later became the de facto capital. It gained control of Seville. The 16th to 17th century was marked as the golden century.
Philip V ordered the construction of Palacio Real de Madrid. Madrid later became a modern city under Charles III in the 18th century. Ferdinand VII lead the city soon after. Napoleon entered the city in 1808. The French force was held off with the war of independence in 1814.
The First Spanish Republic was later formed. The Second Spanish Republic followed soon after. The city later fell to the nationalists in 1939. The city became industrialized under Francisco Franco. Rural areas developed to form a part of the city.
Spain later became a constitutional monarchy after the death of Franco. Madrid remained as the capital city. It has become a prosperous city of culture, education, industrial development and technology.
Signs of prosperity can be seen around the city. These developments can be seen in the various tourist attractions around the city. Some of them are the:
Royal Palace of Madrid
It is also called The Orient Palace. You can find it on Bailen Street. It is located in the western part of the city.
North of the Palace is the Jardines de Sabatini. West of it is the gardens of Campo del Moro. East of the Palace is the Plaza de Oriente. The Teatro Real is also located on the east side. South of the Palace is the Plaze de la Armas. The Cathedral de la Almudena is also on the south side.
You can visit the palace to explore its interior. The palace has 252 guest bedchambers. It has a throne room. It also has a royal chapel. Royal armoury and weapons are kept in the palace. Historical items are also collected in the palace. A complete Stradivarius string quintet is also kept in the palace.
Royal Botanical Garden
This 8 hectare garden is an Artistic Garden. You can find it at Plaza de Murillo. It is located near the El Prado Museum.
The garden has around 30,000 plants. The Terraza de los Cuadros outdoor section contains plants in box plots. Orchards can also be found here. The Terraza de las Escuelas Botanicas outdoor section also contains plants. The botanical garden also contains 1500 trees. They are located in the Terrza del Plano de la Flor outdoor section.
The classical romantic garden is a popular spot among tourists. A duck pond can be found near it. You can take a rest here. Comfortable benches surround the water.
Parque del Buen Retiro
The Park of Pleasant Retreat is also called the lungs of Madrid. This 1.4 square kilometer park is located at C/ Alfonso XII, S/N 28014 Madrid. It is the central park of the city.
An artificial Retiro pond is placed on the north side of park. A monument of King Alfonso XII is centrally located on the pond. The only known public monument of Lucifer is located in the park. The monument is the Fountain of the Falling Angel. The sculpture of Lucifer is called El Angel Caido.
Museo del Ejercito is a museum in the park. It contains “La Tizona”. It is the sword of the Spanish warrior El Cid. Cason del Buen Retiro is another museum in the park. It mainly contains Spanish paintings.
The park also contains various exhibitions. The Velazquez Palace was added in 1884. The Palacio de Cristal was later added in 1887. You can find art galleries in the exhibitions now. The park also has a statue. It is the Paseo de la Argentina. It is also known as the “Statue Walk”.
The Forest of the Departed was recently added in the park. This monument honors the 2004 Madrid attacks.
The theme park is a popular attraction in Madrid. It is located in Avenida Communidades, 28, 28032 Madrid.
Attractions in the park include the zoo. The zoo uses a polar eco-system. Inside the zoo is over 3,500 animals. Free visits are available. Guided tours are also provided. The park also has a night time area. Animals are allowed to roam free inside the area. The park also has an aquarium.
Restaurants are open inside the park. You can get inexpensive meals there. Summer camp activities are available in the park. Workshops are also provided for students.
El Prado Museum
The museum is located at Paseo del Prado, Madrid. It is considered as the greatest museum of art. The museum ranked one in national tourist visits for 2009. It also ranked nine in international tourist visits for 2009.
The museum is famous for its collection of European art. 7,600 paintings are kept in the museum. The famous Las Meninas is inside the museum. 4,800 prints are also in the museum. One of them is the Iliad. Another famous print is The Odyssey. The famous Theogony or Divine Comedy is also kept there. 8,200 drawings are also kept in the Prado museum. Drawings by Michelangelo are also included.
The museum also contains around 1,000 sculptures. The Greek horse head is one of the sculptures in the collection. The Allegory of Francisco I de'Medici is another sculpture.
Auditorio Nacional de Musica
The auditorium is a venue for symphonic concerts in the city. It is located at Calle del Principe de Vergera, 146, 28002 Madrid.
Various halls fill the stadium. First is the Sala Sinfonica. It is also called the Symphonic Hall. It is the largest of the halls. It can accommodate 2324 seats. Next is the Chamber Hall. It has 692 seats. The General Choir Hall is the last hall. It has 208 seats. The hall also has rehearsal rooms.
Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas
The plaza is the famous place for bullfights. The 60 meter diameter bullring is located in the Guindalera barrio at the Salamanca district. The bullring can accommodate 25,000 people.
The bullfights are opened in March. They end in December. The bullfights usually start at 6 to 7 pm. The arena or bullring has 5 gates. The bullring also has three additional gates. They are called toriles. The bulls enter the ring from these gates.
Other events are also held in the bullring. An Australian concert was held there in 1996. The bullring was made into a tennis court in 2008.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
It is also called Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. The stadium is located at Paseo de la Castellana, 144, 28046 Madrid. The football stadium has a capacity of over 80,000 people. The stadium recently hosted the 2010 UEFA Champions League final. It also hosted the 1982 World Cup.
Stadium tours are available on non-match days. You can visit the trophy room on the tour. You can also go to the tunnel of the stadium. A cafe is located on the south side of the stadium. The cafe offers a pitch side view of the stadium. It also offers Spanish and continental cuisine. Greenhouses are also found in the garden.
Madrid is also famous for other tourist locations. There is the Teatro Real. It is the main opera house in the city. There is St. Michael's Basilica. The Opus Dei currently owns it. This Ramon Catholic Church contains the Cristo de la Fe y del Perdon wood sculpture.
The modern city also has the tallest skyscrapers in Spain. Torre Espacio (Space Tower) stands 236 meters from the ground. Torre de Cristal (Crystal Tower) is 249 meters tall. Torre Sacyr Vallehermoso is 236 meters tall. The Torre Caja Madrid is the tallest skyscraper in Spain. It has a height of 250 meters.
Accommodations in Madrid can offer great comfort. They also provide great value. You will find various luxury accommodations in the capital city. Some accommodations are also inexpensive.
Hotel accommodations have various prices. Cheap hotel accommodations are available in the centre of the city. The best hotels are near the airport. Family run hotels are also available in the city. The hostels offer comfortable accommodations for cheap prices.
Apartments are also open in the city. The inexpensive accommodation provides relaxing rooms. Apartment accommodations are available with 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms.
So choose wisely. Search ahead. Make reservations as early as possible. Get great value for your stay in Madrid.
Transport & Security
Madrid serves as the main location for airline transportation in Europe. The Madrid Barajas Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. The airport served 52 million passengers in 2006. Two airports will be added in 2016.
Transport is mainly through the railway system. Atocha is the main terminal in the Southern end of the city. Chamartin serves the northern end of the city. The Madrid Metro is also available for transportation in the city. It is the second largest metro in Western Europe. It also ranks as the 6th longest metro internationally.
Did you know?
Madrid is the 10th most livable city in the World
Miguel de Cervantes came from Spain. He is the author of Don Quixote de la Mancha.
Madrilenos are also called cats or gatos
Madrid has an open air pool (Aquasur)
The Warner Brothers Movie World is available in the city
Tapas bars and cafes in Madrid are known across the world
Madrid is a famous city. Historical works can be found in their museums. The city is rich in culture. Symphonies are held in the auditoriums. A wide variety of plants flourish in their gardens. Animals roam in the Faunia. Tall skyscrapers reach the sky in the city. The modern Spanish capital city has a lot to offer. You can discover it all here at Madrid.