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Madrid (English /məˈdrɪd/, Spanish: [maˈðɾið]) is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be around 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union, after London andBerlin, and its metropolitan area is the third-largest in the European Union after London and Paris. The city spans a total of 604.3 km2(233.3 sq mi).

The city is located on the Manzanares river in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid (which comprises the city of Madrid, its conurbation and extended suburbs and villages); this community is bordered by the autonomous communities of Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political, economic and cultural centre of Spain. The current mayor is Ana Botella from the People's Party (PP).

The Madrid urban agglomeration has the third-largest GDP in the European Union and its influences in politicseducationentertainment,environmentmediafashionscienceculture, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities. Due to itseconomic output, high standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial centre of Southern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula; it hosts the head offices of the vast majority of the major Spanish companies, such as TelefónicaIberia or Repsol. Madrid is the most touristic city of Spain, the fourth-most touristic of the continent, and the seventh most visited city in the world according to Forbes. Is the 10th most livable city in the world according to Monocle magazine, in its 2010 index. Madrid also ranks among the 12 greenest European cities in 2010. Madrid is currently a Candidate City for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Madrid houses the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), belonging to the United Nations Organization (UN), the SEGIB,theOrganization of Ibero-American States (OEI), and the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB). It also hosts major international institutions regulators of Spanish: the Standing Committee of the Association of Spanish Language Academies, headquarters of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), theCervantes Institute and the Foundation of Urgent Spanish (Fundéu). Madrid organizes fairs as FITUR,[19] ARCO,[20] SIMO TCI [21] and the Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week.[22]

While Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets. Its landmarks include the Royal Palace of Madrid; the Teatro Real (Royal theatre) with its restored 1850 Opera House; the Buen Retiro Park, founded in 1631; the 19th-century National Library building (founded in 1712) containing some of Spain's historical archives; a large number of National museums,[23] and the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three art museums: Prado Museum, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, a museum of modern art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which completes the shortcomings of the other two museums.[24] Cibeles Palace and Fountain have become the monument symbol of the city.[25][26][27]

History

Main article: History of Madrid


Toponym

There are several theories regarding the origin of the name "Madrid". According to legend Madrid was founded by Ocno Bianor (son of King Tyrrhenius of Tuscany and Mantua) and was named "Metragirta" or "Mantua Carpetana". Others contend that the original name of the city was "Ursaria" ("land of bears" in Latin), because of the many bears that were to be found in the nearby forests, which, together with the strawberry tree(Spanishmadroño), have been the emblem of the city from the Middle Ages.[28]

The most ancient recorded name of the city Magerit (for *Materit or *Mageterit ?) comes from the name of a fortress built on the Manzanares River in the 9th century AD, and means "Place of abundant water".[29] If the form is correct, it could be a Celtic place-name from ritu- 'ford' (Old Welsh rit, Welsh rhyd, Old Breton rit, Old Northern French roy) and a first element, that is not clearly identified *mageto derivation of magos 'field' 'plain' (Old Irish mag 'field', Breton ma 'place'), or matu 'bear", that could explain the Latin translation Ursalia.[30]

Nevertheless, it is now commonly believed[citation needed] that the origin of the current name of the city comes from the 2nd century BC. The Roman Empire established a settlement on the banks of the Manzanares river. The name of this first village was "Matrice" (a reference to the river that crossed the settlement). Following the invasions carried out by the Germanic Sueves and Vandals, as well as the Sarmatic Alans during the 5th century AD, the Roman Empire no longer had the military presence required to defend its territories on the Iberian Peninsula, and as a consequence, these territories were soon occupied by the Vandals, who were in turn dispelled by the Visigoths, who then ruled Hispania in the name of the Roman emperor, also taking control of "Matrice". In the 7th century, the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula saw the name changed to "Mayrit", from the Arabic term ميرا "Mayra" (referencing water as a "trees" or "giver of life") and the Ibero-Roman suffix "it" that means "place". The modern "Madrid" evolved from theMozarabic "Matrit", which is still in the Madrilenian gentilic.[31]

Middle Ages

Although the site of modern-day Madrid has been occupied since prehistoric times,[32][33] and there are archeological remains of a small Visigoth basilica near the church of Santa María de la Almudena[28][34] and two visigoth necropolises near Casa de campo and Tetúan, the first historical certainty about the existence of an established settlement in Madrid dates from the Muslim age. At the second half of the 9th century,[35] Emir Muhammad I of Córdoba built a fortress on a headland near the river Manzanares,[36] as one of the many fortress he ordered to be built on the border between Al-Andalus and the kingdoms of León and Castile, with the objective of protecting Toledo from the Christian invasions and also as a starting point for Muslim offensives. After the disintegration of the Caliphate of Córdoba, Madrid was integrated in the Taifa of Toledo.

With the surrender of Toledo by Alfonso VI of León and Castile, the city was conquered by Christians in 1085, and it was integrated into the kingdom of Castile as a property of the Crown.[37] Christians replaced Muslims in the occupation of the center of the city, while Muslims and Jews settled in the suburbs. The city was thriving and was given the title of "villa", whose administrative district extended from the Jarama in the east to the river Guadarrama in the west. The government of the town was vested to the neighboring of Madrid since 1346, when king Alfonso XI of Castile implements the regiment, for which only the local oligarchy was taking sides in city decisions.[38] Since 1188, Madrid won the right to be a city with representation in the courts of Castile. In 1202, King Alfonso VIII of Castile gave Madrid its first charter to regulate the municipal council,[39] which was expanded in 1222 byFernando III of Castile.

The first time the Courts of Castile were joined in Madrid was in 1309 under Ferdinand IV of Castile, and later in 1329, 1339, 1391, 1393, 1419 and twice in 1435. Since the unification of the kingdoms of Spain under a common Crown, the Courts were convened in Madrid more often.

Modern Age

During the revolt of the Comuneros, led by Juan de Zapata, Madrid joined the revolt against Emperor Charles V of Germany and I of Spain, but after defeat at the Battle of Villalar, Madrid was besieged and occupied by the royal troops. However, Charles I was generous to the town and gaves it the titles of "Coronada" (Crowned) and "Imperial". When Francis I of France was captured at the battle of Pavia, he was imprisoned in Madrid. And in the village is dated the Treaty of Madrid of 1526 (later denounced by the French) that resolved their situation.[40]

In June 1561, when the town had 30,000 inhabitants, Philip II of Spain moved his court from Toledo to Madrid, installing it in the old castle.[42] Thanks to this, the city of Madrid became the political center of the monarchy, being the capital of Spain except for a short period between 1601 to 1606 (Philip III of Spain government), in which the Court translates to Valladolid. This fact was decisive for the evolution of the city and influenced its fate. A famous expression indicated that identity: "Sólo Madrid es corte" (Madrid is the only court) which, conceptually, is also understood backwards: "Madrid es sólo corte" (Madrid is just court).

During the reign of Philip III and Philip IV of Spain, Madrid saw a period of exceptional cultural brilliance, with the presence of geniuses such as Miguel de CervantesDiego VelázquezFrancisco de Quevedo and Lope de Vega.[43]

The death of Charles II of Spain resulted in the War of the Spanish succession. The city supported the claim of Philip of Anjou as Philip V. While the city was occupied in 1706 by a Portuguese army, who proclaimed king the Archduke Charles of Austria under the name of Charles III, and again in 1710, remained loyal to Philip V.

Philip V built the Royal Palace, the Royal Tapestry Factory and the main Royal Academies.[44] But the most important Bourbon was King Charles III of Spain, who was known as "the best mayor of Madrid". Charles III took upon himself the feat of transforming Madrid into a capital worthy of this category. He ordered the construction of sewers, street lighting, cemeteries outside the city, and many monuments (Puerta de Alcalá, Cibeles Fountain), and cultural institutions (El Prado Museum, Royal Botanic Gardens, Royal Observatory, etc.). Despite being known as one of the greatest benefactors of Madrid, its beginnings were not entirely peaceful, as in 1766 had to overcome the Esquilache Riots, a traditionalist revolt instigated by the nobility and clergy against reformist intentions that brought Charles III,demanding the repeal of the clothing decree ordering the shortening of the layers and the prohibition of the use of hats hide the face, with the aim of reducing crime in the city.[45]

The reign of Charles IV of Spain is not very meaningful to Madrid, except for the presence of Goya in the Court, which portrayed the popular and courtly life of the city.

From the 19th century to present day

On 27 October 1807, Charles IV and Napoleon I signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau, which allowed the passage of French troops through Spanish territory to join the Spanish troops and invade Portugal, which had refused to obey the order of blockade international against England. As this was happening, there was the Mutiny of Aranjuez (17 March 1808), by which the crown prince, Ferdinand VII, replaced his father as king. However, when Ferdinand VII returned to Madrid, the city was already occupied by Joachim-Napoléon Murat, so that both the king and his father were virtually prisoners of the French army. Napoleon, taking advantage of the weakness of the Spanish Bourbons, forcing both, first the father then the son, to join him in Bayonne, where Ferdinand arrived on 20 April.

In the absence of the two kings, the situation became more and more tense in the capital. On 2 May, a crowd began to concentrate at the Royal Palace. The crowd saw the French soldiers pulled out of the palace to the royal family members who were still in the palace. Immediately, the crowd launched an assault on the floats. The fight lasted hours and spread throughout Madrid. Subsequent repression was brutal. In the Paseo del Prado and in the fields ofLa Moncloa hundreds of patriots were shot due to Murat's order against "Spanish all carrying arms". Paintings such as The Third of May 1808 by Goya reflect the repression that ended the popular uprising on 2 May.[46]

The Peninsular War against Napoleon, despite the last absolutist claims during the reign of Ferdinand VII, gave birth to a new country with a liberal and bourgeois character, open to influences coming from the rest of Europe. Madrid, the capital of Spain, experience like no other city the changes caused by this opening and filled with theaters, cafes and newspapers. Madrid is frequently altered by revolutionary outbreaks and pronouncements, such as Vicálvaro 1854, led by General Leopoldo O'Donnell and initiating the progressive biennium. However, in the early-20th century Madrid looked more a small town than a modern city. During the first third of the 20th century the population nearly doubled, reaching more than 950,000 inhabitants. New suburbs such as Las Ventas, Tetuán or El Carmen, became the homes of the influx of workers, while Ensanche became a middle-class neighbourhood of Madrid.[47]

The Spanish Constitution of 1931 was the first legislated on the state capital, setting it explicitly in Madrid.

Madrid was one of the most heavily affected cities of Spain in the Civil War (1936–1939). The city was a stronghold of the Republicans from July 1936. Its western suburbs were the scene of an all-out battle in November 1936 and it was during the Civil War that Madrid became the first European city to be bombed by airplanes (Japan was the first to bomb civilians in world history, at Shanghai in 1932) specifically targeting civilians in the history of warfare. (See Siege of Madrid (1936–39)).[48]

During the economic boom in Spain from 1959 to 1973, the city experienced unprecedented, extraordinary development in terms of population and wealth, becoming the largest GDP city in Spain, and ranking third in Western Europe. The municipality is extended, annexing neighbouring council districts, to achieve the present extension of 607 km2 (234.36 sq mi). The south of Madrid became very industrialized, and there were massive migrations from rural areas of Spain into the city. Madrid's newly built north-western districts became the home of the new thriving middle class that appeared as result of the1960s Spanish economic boom, while south-eastern periphery became an extensive working-class settlement, which was the base for an active cultural and political reform.[48]

After the death of Franco and the democratic regime, the 1978 constitution confirms Madrid as the capital of Spain. In 1979, the first municipal elections bring democracy to Madrid's first democratically elected mayor since the Second Republic. Madrid was the scene of some of the most important events of the time, as the mass demonstrations of support for democracy after the foiled coup, 23-F, on 23 February 1981. The first democratic mayors belong to the leftist parties (Enrique Tierno Galván, Juan Barranco), turning the city after more conservative positions (Agustin Rodriguez Sahagun, Jose Maria Alvarez del Manzano, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón and Ana Botella). Benefiting from increasing prosperity in the 1980s and 1990s, the capital city of Spain has consolidated its position as an important economic, cultural, industrial, educational, and technological centre on the European continent.[48]

Government

See also: List of mayors of Madrid


The City Council consists of 52 members, one of them being the Mayor, currently Ana Botella. The Mayor presides over the Council.

The Plenary of the Council is the body of political representation of the citizens in the municipal government. Some of its attributions are: fiscal matters, the election and deposition of the Mayor, the approval and modification of decrees and regulations, the approval of budgets, the agreements related to the limits and alteration of the municipal term, the services management, the participation in supramunicipal organizations, etc. Nowadays, mayoral teamconsists of the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and 8 Delegates; all of them form The Board of Delegates (the Municipal Executive Committee).

Madrid has tended to be a stronghold of the People's Party, which has controlled the city's mayoralty since 1989. In the 2007 regional and local elections, the conservative People's Party (PP, right-wing political party) obtained 34 seats, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE, centre-left political party) obtained 18 and United Left (IU, left political party) obtained 5.

Ana Botella has been in office since 2011, as former mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon, also from the PP, left the post after the 2011 General Election to become Spain's Minister of Justice. Botella's party keeps the majority in the City Council that PP reached in the 2011 Municipal Election (31 seats out of 57), taking 49.6% of the popular vote and winning in all but two districts.

Geography

Climate


The Madrid region features a Mediterranean climate[51] (Köppen Csa)[52] with cool winters due to its altitude of (667 m (2,188 ft) above sea level), including sporadic snowfalls and minimum temperatures often below freezing. Summers are warm to hot with temperatures that consistently surpass 30 °C (86 °F) in the middle of summer, in July and August and rarely above 40 °C(104 °F). Due to Madrid's altitude and dry climate, diurnal ranges are often significant during the summer. Precipitation is concentrated in the autumn and spring. It is particularly sparse during the summer, taking the form of about two showers and/or thunderstorms a month.

[hide]Climate data for Madrid, Buen Retiro Park in the city centre
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 9.7

(49.5)

12.0

(53.6)

15.7

(60.3)

17.5

(63.5)

21.4

(70.5)

26.9

(80.4)

31.2

(88.2)

30.7

(87.3)

26.0

(78.8)

19.0

(66.2)

13.4

(56.1)

10.1

(50.2)

19.4

(66.9)

Daily mean °C (°F) 6.2

(43.2)

7.9

(46.2)

10.7

(51.3)

12.4

(54.3)

16.1

(61)

21.0

(69.8)

24.8

(76.6)

24.5

(76.1)

20.5

(68.9)

14.6

(58.3)

9.7

(49.5)

7.0

(44.6)

14.6

(58.3)

Average low °C (°F) 2.6

(36.7)

3.7

(38.7)

5.6

(42.1)

7.2

(45)

10.7

(51.3)

15.1

(59.2)

18.4

(65.1)

18.2

(64.8)

15.0

(59)

10.2

(50.4)

6.0

(42.8)

3.8

(38.8)

9.7

(49.5)

Precipitation mm (inches) 37

(1.46)

35

(1.38)

26

(1.02)

47

(1.85)

52

(2.05)

25

(0.98)

15

(0.59)

10

(0.39)

28

(1.1)

49

(1.93)

56

(2.2)

56

(2.2)

436

(17.17)

Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 6 6 5 7 8 4 2 2 3 6 6 7 63
Mean monthly sunshine hours 148 157 214 231 272 310 359 335 261 198 157 124 2,769
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[53]

Location

Destinations from MadridA CoruñaBilbaoBarcelonaLisbonValencia   Madrid    CadizMalagaMurcia

Water supply

Madrid derives almost 75 percent of its water supply from dams and reservoirs built on the Lozoya River, such as the El Atazar Dam.

Demography

The population of Madrid generally increased from when the city became the national capital in the mid-16th century and stabilised at about 3 million from the 1970s.

From around 1970 until the mid-1990s, the city's population dropped. This phenomenon, which also affected other European cities, was caused in part by the growth of satellite suburbs at the expense of the downtown. Another reason might have been the slowdown in the rate of growth of the European economy.

The demographic boom accelerated in the late 1990s and early first decade of the 21st century due to international immigration, in response to a surge in Spanish economic growth. According to census data, the population of the city grew by 271,856 between 2001 and 2005.

As the capital city of Spain, the city has attracted many immigrants from around the world. About 83.8% of the inhabitants are Spaniards, while people of other origins, including immigrants from Latin America, Europe, Asia, North Africa and West Africa, represented 16.2% of the population in 2007.[55]

The ten largest immigrant groups include: Ecuadorian: 104,184, Romanian: 52,875, Bolivian: 44,044, Colombian: 35,971, Peruvian: 35,083,Chinese: 34,666, Moroccan: 32,498, Dominican: 19,602, Brazilian: 14,583, and Paraguayan: 14,308. There are also important communities ofFilipinosEquatorial GuineansBulgariansIndiansItaliansArgentinesSenegalese and Poles.[55]

Districts that host the largest number of immigrants are Usera (28.37%), Centro (26.87%), Carabanchel (22.72%) and Tetuán (21.54%). Districts that host the smallest number are Fuencarral-El Pardo (9.27%), Retiro (9.64%) and Chamartín (11.74%).

Districts

Main article: Districts of Madrid

Madrid is administratively divided into 21 districts, which are further subdivided into 128 wards (barrios)


  1. Centro: Palacio, Embajadores, Cortes, Justicia, Universidad, Sol.
  2. Arganzuela: Imperial, Acacias, La Chopera, Legazpi, Delicias, Palos de Moguer, Atocha.
  3. Retiro: Pacífico, Adelfas, Estrella, Ibiza, Jerónimos, Niño Jesús.
  4. Salamanca: Recoletos, Goya, Parque de las Avenidas, Fuente del Berro, Guindalera, Lista, Castellana.
  5. Chamartín: El Viso, Prosperidad, Ciudad Jardín, Hispanoamérica, Nueva España, Castilla.
  6. Tetuán: Bellas Vistas, Cuatro Caminos, Castillejos, Almenara, Valdeacederas, Berruguete.
  7. Chamberí: Gaztambide, Arapiles, Trafalgar, Almagro, Vallehermoso, Ríos Rosas.
  8. Fuencarral-El PardoEl Pardo, Fuentelarreina, Peñagrande, Barrio del Pilar, La Paz, Valverde, Mirasierra, El Goloso.
  9. Moncloa-AravacaCasa de Campo, Argüelles, Ciudad Universitaria, Valdezarza, Valdemarín, El Plantío, Aravaca.
  10. Latina: Los Cármenes, Puerta del Ángel, Lucero, Aluche, Las Águilas, Campamento,Cuatro Vientos.
  11. Carabanchel: Comillas, Opañel, San Isidro, Vista Alegre, Puerta Bonita, Buenavista, Abrantes.
  12. Usera: Orcasitas, Orcasur, San Fermín, Almendrales, Moscardó, Zofío, Pradolongo.
  13. Puente de VallecasEntrevías, San Diego, Palomeras Bajas, Palomeras Sureste, Portazgo, Numancia.
  14. Moratalaz: Pavones, Horcajo, Marroquina, Media Legua, Fontarrón, Vinateros.
  15. Ciudad Lineal: Ventas, Pueblo Nuevo, Quintana, La Concepción, San Pascual, San Juan Bautista, Colina, Atalaya, Costillares.
  16. Hortaleza: Palomas, Valdefuentes, Canillas, Pinar del Rey, Apóstol Santiago, Piovera.
  17. Villaverde: San Andrés, San Cristóbal, Butarque, Los Rosales, Los Ángeles.
  18. Villa de Vallecas: Casco Histórico de Vallecas, Santa Eugenia.
  19. Vicálvaro: Casco Histórico de Vicálvaro, Ambroz.
  20. San Blas: Simancas, Hellín, Amposta, Arcos, Rosas, Rejas, Canillejas, Salvador.
  21. Barajas: Alameda de Osuna, Aeropuerto, Casco Histórico de Barajas, Timón, Corralejos.

Metropolitan area

Main article: 


Madrid metropolitan area

The Madrid metropolitan area comprises the city of Madrid and forty surrounding municipalities. It has a population of slightly more than 6.271 million people[56] and covers an area of 4.609,7 km². It is the largest metropolitan area in Spain and the third largest in European Union.[3][4][5][6]

As with many metropolitan areas of similar size, two distinct zones of urbanisation can be distinguished:


The largest suburbs are to the South, and in general along the main routes leading out of Madrid.

Submetropolitan areas inside Madrid metropolitan area:

Submetropolitan area Area

(km²)

Population

(pop.)

Density

(pop./km²)

Madrid – Majadahonda 996.1 3,580,828 3,595.0
Móstoles – Alcorcón 315.1 430,349 1,365.6
Fuenlabrada – Leganés – Getafe – Parla – Pinto –Valdemoro 931.7 822,806 883.1
Alcobendas 266.4 205,905 772.9
Arganda del Rey – Rivas-Vaciamadrid 343.6 115,344 335.7
Alcalá de Henares – Torrejón de Ardoz 514.6 360,380 700.3
Colmenar Viejo – Tres Cantos 419.1 104,650 249.7
Collado Villalba 823.1 222,769 270.6
Madrid metropolitan area 4,609.7 5,843,031 1,267.6

Cityscape

Architecture

Very little medieval architecture is preserved in Madrid. We know from historical documents that the city was walled and had a castle (the Alcázar) in the same place where the Royal Palace now stands. Among the few preserved medieval buildings are the mudejar towers of San Nicolás and San Pedro el Viejo churches, the palace of Luján family (located in the Plaza de la Villa), the Gothic church of St. Jerome, part of a monastery built by the Catholic Monarchs in the 15th century, and the Bishop's Chapel.

Nor has Madrid retained many examples of Renaissance architecture, except for the Cisneros house (one of the buildings flanking the Plaza de la Villa), the Bridge of Segovia and the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, whose austere exterior gives no idea of the magnificent art treasures inside.

When Philip II moved his court to Madrid in 1561,[57] a series of reforms began, reforms that aimed to transform the town into a capital city worthy of the name. These reforms were embodied in the Plaza Mayor, designed by Juan de Herrera (author of El Escorial) and Juan Gomez de Mora, characterized by its symmetry and austerity, as well as the new Alcazar, who would become the second most impressive royal palace of the kingdom.

Many of the historic buildings of Madrid were built during the reign of the Hapsburgs. The material used was mostly brick and the humble façades contrast with the elaborate interiors. Juan Gómez de Mora built notable buildings such as Casa de la Villa, Prison of the Court, the Palace of the Councils andRoyal Convent of La Encarnación. The Buen Retiro Palace was a vanished work by Alonso Carbonel, today on the grounds of the Buen Retiro Park, with beautiful rooms decorated by the best artists in times of Philip IV (VelázquezCarducciZurbarán). Imperial College become an important institution run by the Jesuits, and the model dome of the church would be imitated in all Spain, thanks to the cheap materials used in its construction.

Before the arrival of the Bourbons at Madrid, the architect Pedro de Ribera was one of the most important architects in Madrid. Ribera introduced Churrigueresquearchitecture to Madrid, characterized by ornamental overload on their covers, as an altarpiece. The History Museum, the Cuartel del Conde-Duque, the church of Montserrat and the Bridge of Toledo are the best examples.

The arrival of the Bourbons marked a new era in the city. The burning of the Alcazar of Madrid served as an excuse for Philip V of Spain to build a palace on its foundations, a palace more in line with the French taste. Filippo Juvarra, an architect specializing in the construction of royal palaces, was chosen to design the new palace. His design was inspired by a Bernini's design rejected for the Louvre in Paris. Juvarra died before the work began, and the project was substantially modified by his disciple Giovainni Battista Sacchetti. Other buildings of the time were the St. Michael's Basilica and the Convent of Santa Barbara.

King Charles III of Spain was more interested in beautifying the city. He was an enlightened monarch and endeavored to convert Madrid into one of the great European capitals. He pushed forward the construction of the Prado Museum (designed by Juan de Villanueva). The building was originally intended to serve as a Natural Science Museum. Charles III was also responsible for design of the Puerta de Alcalá, the Royal Observatory (Juan de Villanueva), the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande (Francesco Sabatini), the Casa de Correos in Puerta del Sol, the Real Casa de la Aduana (Francesco Sabatini) and the General Hospital by Sabatini (now houses the Reina Sofia Museum and Royal Conservatory of Music). The Paseo del Prado, surrounded by gardens and decorated with neoclassical statues inspired by mythological gods, is an example of urban planning. The Duke of Berwick ordered Ventura Rodríguez the construction of the Liria Palace.

Subsequently, the Peninsular War, the loss of colonies in the Americas, and the continuing coups prevented the city from developing interesting architecture (Royal Theatre,the National Library of Spain,the Palace of the Senate and the Congress). In the slums of Madrid during this time, a kind of substandard house was developed that today has a special historical charm: an example is the corralas, which currently still exist in the neighborhood of Lavapies.

From the late 19th century until the Civil War, Madrid modernized and built new neighborhoods and monuments, both in the capital and in neighboring towns. In the mid-19th century the expansion of Madrid developed under the plan Castro, resulting in the neighborhoods of SalamancaArgüelles and ChamberíArturo Soria conceived the linear city and built the first few kilometers of the road that bears his name, which embodies the idea. Antonio Palacios build a series of eclectic buildings inspired by the Viennese Secession. Some representative examples are the Palacio de Comunicaciones, the Circulo de Bellas Artes and theRío de La Plata Bank (Instituto Cervantes). Ricardo Velázquez Bosco designed the Crystal Palace and the Palacio de Velázquez in the Retiro Park. Secundino Zuazo built the Palacio de la Música and the Casa de las Flores. The Bank of Spain was designed by Eduardo Adaro and Severiano Sainz de la Lastra. Meanwhile, the Marquis of Cubas began the Almudena Cathedral project, which was to be a neo-Gothic church with neo-Romanesque cloister. Alberto de Palacio designed Atocha Station. The Palace of Longoria was designed by José Grases Riera in Catalan art-nouveau. Las Ventas Bullring was built in the early 20th century, as the Market of San Miguel (Cast-Iron style). Finally, Delicias Railway Station is the oldest example of this kind of infrastructure according to the model ofHenri de Dion.

Also the construction of Gran Vía began in the early 20th century, with the task of freeing the old town. They used different styles that evolved over time: TheMetropolis building is built in French style and the Edificio Grassy is eclectic, while Telefónica Building is art deco, with baroque ornaments. The Carrión (or Capitol) Building is expressionist, and the Palace of the Press, another example of art deco.

The Civil War severely damaged the city, including the Ciudad Universitaria (University City), which was one of the most beautiful architectural complexes of the time. Subsequently, unscrupulous mayors would destroy the old town and the Ensanche, in a city which until the war was a good example of urban planning and architecture. Numerous blocks of flats with no value were built, and some examples of Fascist architecture, such as the Spanish Air Force headquarters (inspired by El Escorial), the Nuevos Ministerios by Secundino Zuazo and the skyscrapers of Plaza de España, at the time the highest in Europe, were built.

With the advent of democracy and Spanish economic development, skyscrapers appeared in the city such as Torre Picasso, designed by Minoru Yamasaki; Torres Blancas and Torre BBVA (both by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza) and in the 1990s, the Gate of Europe, architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee. Moreover, in the 1990s construction was completed of the Cathedral of the Almudena. The National Auditorium of Music is a work of 1988.

In the 21st century, Madrid faces new challenges in its architecture. An old industrial warehouse is the Interpretation Centre of New Technologies, and theCaixaForum Madrid (Herzog & de Meuron) was a former power station.

Under the government of Alberto Ruiz Gallardón the four tallest skyscrapers in Spain were built, and together form the Cuatro Torres Business Area. The Manzanares River is crossed by new edge bridges, and work started on the International Convention Centre (Mansilla+Tuñón), an original round building, whose works remain paralyzed by the crisis. Caja Mágica(Dominique Perrault) sport centre was also built and the Reina Sofia Museum has been expanded with the help of Jean Nouvel.

Madrid Barajas International Airport Terminal 4, designed by Antonio Lamela and Richard Rogers (winning them the 2006 Stirling Prize), and TPS Engineers, (winning them the 2006 IStructE Award for Commercial Structures) was inaugurated on 5 February 2006. Terminal 4 is one of the world's largest terminal areas, with an area of 760,000 square metres (8,180,572 square feet) in two separate terminals: a main building, T4 (470,000 square metres), and satellite building, T4S (290,000 square metres), which are separated by approximately 2.5 km (2 mi). The new terminal is meant to give passengers a stress-free start to their journey. This is managed through careful use of illumination, available by glass panes instead of walls and numerous domes in the roof which allow natural light to pass through. With the new addition, Barajas is designed to handle 70 million passengers annually.

Urban sculpture

The streets of Madrid are a veritable museum of outdoor sculpture. The Museum of Outdoor Sculpture, located in the Paseo de la Castellana, is dedicated to abstract works, among which theSirena Varada (Strander Mermaid) by Eduardo Chillida.

Since the 18th century, the Paseo del Prado is decorated with an iconographic program with classical monumental fountains: the Fuente de la Alcachofa, the Cuatro Fuentes, the Fountain ofNeptune, the Fountain of Apollo and the Fountain of Cybele, designed by Ventura Rodríguez them all.

The equestrian sculptures are particularly important, starting chronologically with two designed in the 17th century: the statue of Philip III, in the Plaza Mayor by Giambologna, and the statue of Philip IV, in the Plaza de Oriente (undoubtedly the most important statue of Madrid, projected by Velázquez and built by Pietro Tacca with scientific advice of Galileo Galilei).

Many areas of the Buen Retiro Park are really sculptural scenography: among them are The Fallen Angel by Ricardo Bellver, and the Monument to Alfonso XII, designed by José Grases Riera.

In another vein are the neon advertising signs, some of which have acquired a historic range and are legally protected, such as Schweppes in Plaza de Callao or Tio Pepe in the Puerta del Sol, recently retired from its location for the restoration of the building.

Environment

Madrid is the European city with the highest number of trees and green surface per inhabitant and it has the second highest number of aligned trees in the world, with 248,000 units, only exceeded by Tokyo. Madrid's citizens have access to a green area within a 15 minute walk. Since 1997, green areas have increased by 16%. At present, 8.2% of Madrid's grounds are green areas, meaning that there are 16 m2 (172 sq ft) of green area per inhabitant, far exceeding the 10 m2 (108 sq ft) per inhabitant recommended by the World Health Organization.


Buen Retiro Park, formerly the grounds of the palace built for Felipe IV, is Madrid's most popular park and the largest park in central Madrid. Its area is more than 1.4 km² (350 acres) and it is located very close to the Puerta de Alcalá and not far from the Prado Museum. A magnificent park, filled with beautiful sculpture and monuments, galleries, a peaceful lake and host to a variety of events, it is one of Madrid's premier attractions. The park is entirely surrounded by the present-day city. Its lake in the middle once staged mini naval sham battles to amuse royalty; these days the more tranquil pastime of pleasure boating is popular. Inspired by London's crystal palace, the palacio de cristal can be found at the south-eastern end of the park.

In the Buen Retiro Park is also the Forest of the Departed (Spanish Bosque de los Ausentes), a memorial monument to commemorate the 191 victims of the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks.

Atocha Railway Station is not only the city's first and most central station but also home to a distinctive indoor garden with 4,000 square metres of tropical plants. Atocha station has become a hothouse destination in itself for plant lovers, with more than 500 species of plant life and ponds with turtle and goldfish in, as well as shops and cafes. It's a nice place to visit on a cold or wet day with its even temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, or on a scorching summer day as a retreat from the heat.



Casa de Campo is an enormous urban parkland to the west of the city, the largest in Spain and Madrid's main green lung. Its area is more than 1,700 hectares (6.6 sq mi). It is home to a fairground, the Madrid Zoo, an amusement park, the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid, and an outdoor municipal pool, to enjoy a bird's eye view of the park and city take a cable car trip above the tree tops. Casa de Campo's vegetation is one of its most important features. There are, in fact, three different ecosystems: oak, pine and river groves. The oak is the dominant tree species in the area and, although many of them are over 100 years old and reach a great height, they are also present in the form of chaparral and bushes. The pine-forest ecosystem boasts a large number of trees that have adapted perfectly to the light, dry conditions in the park. In addition, mushrooms often emerge after the first rains of autumn. Finally, the river groves, or riparian forests, are made up of various, mainly deciduous, species that grow in wetter areas. Examples include poplars, willows and alder trees. As regards fauna, this green space is home to approximately 133 vertebrate species.

The Royal Botanic Garden or Real Jardin Botanico is an 8-hectare botanical garden located in the Plaza de Murillo, next to the Prado Museum. It was an 18th-century creation by Carlos III and it was used as a base for the plant species being collected across the globe. There is an important research facility that started life as a base to develop herbal remedies and to house the species collected from the new-world trips, today it is dedicated to maintaining Europe's ecosystem.

The Royal Palace is surrounded by three green areas. In front of the palace, are the gardens of the Plaza de Oriente; to the north, the gardens of Sabatini and to the west up to the Manzanares river, the famous Campo del Moro. Campo del Moro gardens has a surface area of 20 hectares and is a scenic garden with an unusual layout filled with foliage and an air of English romanticism. The Sabatini Gardens have a formal Neoclassic style, consisting of well-sheared hedges, in symmetric geometrical patterns, adorned with a pool, statues and fountains, with trees also disposed in a symmetrical geometric shape. Plaza de Oriente can distinguish three main plots: the Central Gardens, the Cabo Noval Gardens and the Lepanto Gardens. The Central Gardens are arranged around the central monument to Philip IV, in a grid, following the barroque model garden. They consist of seven flowerbeds, each packed with box hedges, forms of cypress, yew and magnolia of small size, and flower plantations, temporary. These are bounded on either side by rows of statues paths, popularly known as the Gothic kings, and mark the dividing line between the main body of the plaza and the Cabo Noval Gardens at north, and the Lepanto Gardens at south.

Monte de El Pardo is a mediterranean forest inside the city of Madrid. It is one of the best preservedMediterranean Forests in Europe. The European Union has designated the Monte de El Pardo as a Special Protection Area for bird-life. This meadow, which has been used as hunting grounds by the royalty given the variety of game animals that have inhabited it since the Middle Ages, is home to 120 flora species and 200 vertebrae species. Rabbits, red partridges, wild cats, stags, deer and wild boars live among ilexes, cork oaks, ash trees, black poplars, oaks, junipers and rockroses. Monte del Pardo is part of the Regional Park of the High Basin of the Manzanares, spreading out from the Guadarrama Mountains range to the centre of Madrid, and protected by strong legal regulations. Just before crossing the city, the River Manzanares forms a valley composed by sandy elements and detritus from the mountain range.

Soto de Viñuelas, also known as Mount Viñuelas, is a meadow-oak forest north of the city of Madrid and east of the Monte de El Pardo. It is a fenced property of 3,000 hectares, which includes important ecological values, landscape and art. Soto de Viñuelas is part of the Regional Park of the High Basin of the Manzanares, a nature reserve which is recognised as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, where it has been classified as Area B, the legal instrument that allows agricultural land use. Soto de Viñuelas also received the statement of Special Protection Area for Birds.

El Capricho is a 14-hectare garden located in the area of Barajas district. It dates back to 1784. The art of landscaping in El Capricho is displayed in three different styles of classical gardenscapes: the "parterre" or French garden, English landscaping and the Italian giardino.

Madrid Rio is a linear park that runs along the bank of the Manzanares River, in the middle of Madrid. It is an area of parkland 10 kilometres long and covers 649 hectares in six districts: Moncloa-AravacaCentroArganzuela,LatinaCarabanchel and Usera. It is a large area of environmental, sporting, leisure and cultural interest. Madrid Río provides a link with other green spaces in the city such as Casa de Campo and the Linear Park of the Manzanares River. The main landscaped area in Madrid Río is the Arganzuela Park, covering 23 hectares where pedestrian and cycling routes cover the whole park. The Madrid Río cycle network covers some 30 kilometres and is linked to another bike routes. To the north, Madrid Rio connects to the Senda Real, the Green Ring for Cyclists and the E 7 (GR 10) trail, which goes as far as the Sierra de Madrid mountain range. To the south, Madrid Río provides access to the Enrique Tierno Galván Park and the Linear Park of the Manzanares River, an extensive green zone running parallel to the river as far as Getafe. As well as the cycle routes there are 42 kilometres of paths for walkers and runners. In the Salón de Pinos, a 6-kilometre long tree-lined promenade, there are circuits for aerobic and anaerobic exercise, while near the Puente de Praga bridge a tennis court and seven padel tennis courts.

The theme park Faunia, is a natural history museum and zoo combined, aimed at being fun and educational for children. It comprises eight eco-systems from tropical rain forests to polar regions, and contains over 1,500 animals, some of which roam freely.

Economy

Main article: Economy of Madrid

Middle ages to 20th century

During the end of the Middle Ages, Madrid experienced astronomic growth as a consequence of its establishment as the new capital of the Spanish Empire. As Spain (like many other European countries) continued to centralize royal authority, this meant that Madrid took on greater importance as a center of administration for the Spanish Kingdom. It evolved to become an important nucleus of artisanal activity that eventually experienced industrial revolution during the 19th century. The city made even greater strides at expansion during the 20th century, especially after the Spanish Civil War, reaching levels of industrialization found in other European capital cities. The economy of the city was then centred on diverse manufacturing industries such as those related to motor vehicles, aircraft, chemicals, electronic devices, pharmaceuticals, processed food, printed materials, and leather goods.[58]

1992 to present

Madrid is a major centre for international business and commerce. It is one of Europe's largest financial centres and the largest in Spain.


During the period from 1992 to 2006, Madrid experienced very significant growth in its service sector. The most notable of these services are those geared towards companies, followed by transport and communications, property and financial services. These four groups generate 51% of gross value added for Madrid's economy and 62% of gross value added for the services sector. The importance of the Barajas Airportto the city's economy is substantial. The construction of housing and public works, such as the ringroads and train network, constituted a major pillar of the economy up to 2006.

As Spain has become decentralized politically, Madrid has taken on a smaller administrative profile as compared to the rest of the Spanish state. Even so, the Community of Madrid (centred upon the city of Madrid) experienced the highest growth of all the Spanish regions between 2004 to 2006. Its growth rate was higher than for the country as a whole by 1.4% during the period 2000–2006, and that of the Eurozone by 13%.[59]

Madrid has become the 23rd richest city in the world and third richest in Europe in terms of absolute GDP; the economic output for the year 2005 was of $201.5 billion, behind the considerably larger cities of Paris ($460 billion) and London ($452 billion) and ahead of Moscow and Barcelona.[60] Additionally in terms of GDP per capita, Madrid, in specific the Madrid region is the richest in Spain and one of the richest in Europe. At 133.9% of the European average of 25,800€ (34,572€/$48,313) Madrid is ahead of all the other 8 Spanish regions above 100%.[61] Similarly, Madrid is just 97.8% of New York's purchasing power.

Madrid is a world's financial leader, rising to the top five Centres of Commerce in Europe. Madrid continues its upward trajectory as a key European city, rising from its 2007 spot at number 16 to number 11 globally and from number 6 to the number 5 spot in Europe. Madrid's stable GDP, exchange rate and strong bond market, coupled with a high standard of living, place this city in the company of Europe's most prominent cities: LondonParisFrankfurt and Amsterdam.[62]

Madrid is one of the cities in the Iberian Peninsula that attracts most foreign investment and job seekers. The average salary in Madrid during 2007 was 2540€, clearly above the Spanish average of 2085€.[63] In terms of net earnings, Madrid also places first in Spain; Madrid is 28th in the world, at 78.6%.[64]

Art and culture

Museums

Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations concerning art museums. Best known is the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three museums. The most famous one is the Prado Museum, known for such highlights as Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas and Francisco de Goya's La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. The other two museums are the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, established from a mixed private collection, and the Reina Sofia Museum, where Pablo Picasso's Guernica hangs, returning to Spain from New York after more than two decades.

The Museo del Prado is a museum and art gallery that features one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection. The collection currently comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, in addition to a large number of works of art and historic documents. El Prado is one of the most visited museums in the world, and it is considered to be among the greatest museums of art. It has the best collection of artworks by GoyaVelázquezEl GrecoRubensTitianHieronymus BoschJosé de Ribera and Patinir; and works by Rogier van der WeydenRaphael SanzioTintorettoVeroneseCaravaggioVan DyckAlbrecht Dürer,Claude LorrainMurillo and Zurbarán, among others.

The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) is the Spain's national museum of 20th-century art. The museum is mainly dedicated to Spanish art. Highlights of the museum include excellent collections of Spain's greatest 20th-century masters, Pablo PicassoSalvador DalíJoan Miró,Juan Gris and Julio González. Certainly the most famous masterpiece in the museum is Picasso's painting Guernica. The Reina Sofía also hosts a free-access library specializing in art, with a collection of over 100,000 books, over 3,500 sound recordings and almost 1,000 videos.[65]

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is an art museum that fills the historical gaps in its counterparts' collections: in the Prado's case this includes Italian primitives and works from the EnglishDutch and German schools, while in the case of the Reina Sofia the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, once the second largest private collection in the world after the British Royal Collection,[66] includes ImpressionistsExpressionists, and European and American paintings from the second half of the 20th century, with over 1,600 paintings.[67]

The Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando currently functions as a museum and gallery that houses a fine art collection of paintings from the 15th to 20th centuries: Giovanni BelliniCorreggioRubensZurbaránMurilloGoyaJuan GrisPablo Serrano. The academy is also the headquarters of the Madrid Academy of Art. Francisco Goya was once one of the academy's directors, and, its alumni include Pablo PicassoSalvador DalíAntonio López GarcíaJuan Luna, and Fernando Botero.[68][69]

The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of Juan Carlos I of Spain, but he uses it only for official acts. It is a baroque palace full of artworks is one of the largest European Royal Palaces, which is characterized by its luxurious rooms and its rich collections of armors and weapons, pharmaceutical, silverware, watches, paintings, tapestries and the most comprehensive collection of Stradivarius in the world[70]

The National Archaeological Museum of Spain collection includes, among others, Pre-historicCelticIberian,Greek and Roman antiquities and medieval (VisigothicMuslim and Christian) objects. Highlights include a replica of the Altamira cave (the first cave in which prehistoric cave paintings were discovered), Lady of Elx (an enigmatic polychrome stone bust), Lady of Baza (a famous example of Iberian sculpture), Biche of Balazote (an iberian sculpture) and Treasure of Guarrazar (a treasure that represents the best surviving group of Early Medieval Christian votive offerings and the high point of Visigothic goldsmith's work).[71]

The Museum of the Americas (SpanishMuseo de América) is a National museum that holds artistic, archaeological and ethnographic collections from the whole American continent, ranging from the Paleolithicperiod to the present day. The permanent exhibit is divided into five major thematical areas: an awareness of America, the reality of America, society, religion and communication.[72]

The National Museum of Natural Sciences is the National Museum of Natural History of Spain. The research departments of the museum are: Biodiversityand Evolutionary BiologyEvolutionary EcologyPaleobiologyVulcanology and Geology.[73]

The Naval Museum is managed by the Ministry of Defence. The Museum's mission is to acquire, preserve, investigate, report and display for study, education and contemplation, parts, sets and collections of historical, artistic, scientific and technical related to naval activity in order to disseminate the story sea of Spain; to help illustrate, highlight and preserve their traditions and promote national maritime awareness.

The Monastery of Las Descalzas Reales resides in the former palace of King Charles I of Spain and Isabel of Portugal. Their daughter, Joan of Austria, founded this convent of nuns of the Poor Clare order in 1559. Throughout the remainder of the 16th century and into the 17th century, the convent attracted young widowed or spinster noblewomen. Each woman brought with her a dowry. The riches quickly piled up, and the convent became one of the richest convents in all of Europe. It has many works of Renaissance and Baroque art, including a recumbent Christ by Gaspar Becerra, a staircase whose paintings were painted by unknown author (perhaps Velázquez) and they are considered of the masterpieces of Spanish illusionist painting, and Brussels tapestries inspired by paintings of Rubens.[74]

The Museum of Lázaro Galdiano houses an encyclopedic collection specializing in decorative arts.

Apart from paintings and sculptures it displays 10th-century Byzantine enamel; Arab and Byzantine ivory chests; Hellenistic, Roman, medieval, renaissance, baroque and romantic jewelry; Pisanello and Pompeo Leoni medals; Spanish and Italian ceramics; Italian and Arab clothes and an collection of weapons including the sword of Pope Innocent VIII.[75]

The Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (National Museum of Decorative Arts) is one of the oldest museums in the city. It illustrates the evolution of the called "minor arts" (furniture, ceramics and glass, textile, etc.). Its 60 rooms expones 15,000 objects, of the approximate 40,000 which it has.[76]

The Museo Nacional del Romanticismo (National Museum of Romanticism) contains a large collection of artefacts and art, focusing on daily life and customs of the 19th century, with special attention to the aesthetics about Romanticism.[77]

The Museo Cerralbo houses a private collection of ancient works of art, artifacts and other antiquities collected by Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, XVII Cerralbo Marquis.[78]

The Museo Nacional de Antropología(National Museum of Anthropology) provides an overview of the different cultures in the world, with objects and human remains from around the world, highlighting a Guanche mummy of the island of Tenerife.[79]

The Museo Sorolla is located in the building in which the Valencian Impressionist painter had his home and workshop. The collection includes, in addition to numerous works of Joaquín Sorolla, a large number of objects that possessed the artist, including sculptures by August Rodin.[80]

CaixaForum Madrid is a post-modern art gallery in the centre of Madrid. It is sponsored by the Catalan-Balearic bank la Caixa and located next to the Salón del Prado. Although the CaixaForum is a modern building, it also exhibits retrospectives of artists from earlier time periods and has evolved into one of the most visited museums in Madrid. It was constructed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron from 2001 to 2007, which combined an old unused industrial building and hollowed it out at the base and inside and placed on top further floors which are encased with rusted steel. Next to it is an art installation of green plants growing on the wall of the neighbouring house by French botanist Patrick Blanc. The red of the top floors with the green of the wall next to it form a contrast. The green is in reflection of the neighbouring Royal Botanical Gardens.

Other art galleries and museums in Madrid include:


​Landmarks

In the year 2006 Madrid was the fourth most visited city in Europe and the first of Spain, with almost seven million of tourists.[88] It is also the seat of the World Tourism Organization and the International Tourism Fair – FITUR.

Most of the tourist attractions of Madrid are in the old town and the Ensanche, corresponding with the districts of Centro, Salamanca, Chamberí, Retiro and Arganzuela. The nerve centre of the city is the Puerta del Sol, starting point for the numbering of all city streets and all the country's highways.

The Calle de Alcalá or Alcalá Street lead from the Puerta del Sol from the NE of the city. From the street you get from Plaza de Cibeles. Subsequently the street reaches the "Plaza de la Independencia", which includes the Puerta de Alcalá and an entrance to the Buen Retiro Park.

The Calle Mayor leads to Plaza Mayor continuing for the called Madrid de los Austrias, in reference to the Dynasty of Habsburg - finally reaching Calle de Bailén, near the Cathedral of the Almudena and the church of San Francisco el Grande.

The Calle del Arenal comes to Royal Theatre in Plaza de la Ópera, continuing through Plaza de Oriente, where the Royal Palace is it. From there the Calle Bailen leads to Plaza de España and the Temple of Debod, an Egyptian temple moved stone by stone to Spain in gratitude for their help in the construction of the Aswan Dam. Also in this square is the start of Gran Vía street.

Churches

Madrid has a considerable number of Catholic churches, some of them are among the most important Spanish religious artworks.

The oldest church that survives today is San Nicolás de los Servitas, whose oldest item is the bell tower (12th century), in Mudejar style. The next oldest temple is San Pedro el Real, with its high brick tower.

St. Jerome Church is a gothic church next to El Prado Museum. The Catholic Monarchs ordered its construction in the 15th century, as part of a vanished monastery. The monastery's cloister is preserved. It has recently been renovated byRafael Moneo, with the goal to house the neoclassical collection of El Prado Museum, and also sculptures by Leone Leoni and Pompeo Leoni.

The Bishop Chapel is a gothic chapel which was built in the 16th century by order of the Bishop of Plasencia, Gutierre de Vargas. It was originally built to house the remains of Saint Isidore Laborer (Madrid's patron saint), but it was used as the Vargas family mausoleum. Inside are the altairpiece and the tombs of the Vargas family, which were the work of Francisco Giralte, a disciple of Alonso Berruguete. They are considered masterpieces of Spanish Renaissance sculpture.

St. Isidore Church was built between 1620–1664 by order of Empress Maria of Austria, daughter of Charles V of Germany and I of Spain, to become part of a school run by the Jesuits which still exists today. Its dome is the first example of a dome drawing on a wooden frame covered with plaster, which, given its lightness makes it easy to support the walls. It was the cathedral of Madrid between 1885 and 1993, which is the time it took to build the Almudena. The artwork inside were mostly burned during the Spanish Civil War, but it retained the tomb that holds the incorrupt body of Saint Isidore Laborer and the urn containing the ashes of his wife Maria Torribia.

Royal Convent of La Encarnación is an Augustinian Recollect convent. The institution, which belonged ladies of the nobility, was founded by Queen Margaret of Austria, wife of Philip III of Spain, in the early 17th century. Due to the frescoes and sculptures which houses is one of the most prominent temples in the city. The building's architect was Fray Alberto de la Madre de Dios, who built it between 1611 and 1616. The façade responds to an inspiring Herrerian style, with great austerity,and it was imitated by other Spanish churches. The church's interior is a sumptuous work by the great Baroque architect Ventura Rodriguez.

In the church are preserved shrines containing the blood of St. Januarius and St. Pantaleon, the second (according to tradition) liquefies every year on the saint's day on 27 July.

San Antonio de los Alemanes (St. Anthony Church) is a pretty 17th-century church which was originally part of a Portuguese hospital. Subsequently it was donated to the Germans living in the city.

The interior of the church has been recently restored. It has some beautiful frescoes painted by Luca Giordano, Francisco Carreño and Francisco Rizi. The frescoes represent some kings of Spain, Hungary, France, Germany and Bohemia. They all sit looking at the paintings in the vault, which represent the life of Saint Anthony of Padua.

Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida is sometimes named the "Goya's Sistine Chapel". The chapel was built on orders of King Charles IV of Spain, who also commissioned the frescoes byGoya. These were completed over a six month period in 1798. The frescoes portray miracles by Saint Anthony of Padua, including one which occurred in Lisbon, but which the painter has relocated to Madrid. On every 13 June, the chapel becomes the site of a lively pilgrimage in which young unwed women come to pray to St. Anthony and to ask for a partner.

San Francisco el Grande Basilica was built in neoclassical style in the second half of the 18th century by Francesco Sabatini. It has the fifth largest diameter dome to Christianity. (33 meters in diameter: it's smaller than the dome of the Rome's Pantheon (43.4meters), St. Peter's Basilica (42.4 meters), the Florence Cathedral (42 meters)and the Rotunda of Mosta (37.2 meters) in Malta, but it's larger than St. Paul's Cathedral (30.8 meters) in London and Hagia Sophia (31.8 meters) in Istanbul).

The church is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, who according to legend was established in Madrid during his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Its sumptuous interior features many artworks, including paintings by Goya and Zurbarán.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena is the episcopal seat of the Archdiocese of Madrid. It is a temple of 102 meters long and 73 high, built during the 19th and 20th centuries in a mixture of different styles: neoclassical exterior, neo-Gothic interior and neo-Romanesque crypt and neo-Byzantine abse's paints.

The cathedral was built in the same place which was built the Moorish citadel (al-mudayna) in Madrid. It was consecrated by Pope John Paul II on his fourth trip to Spain on 15 June 1993, thus being the only Spanish cathedral dedicated by a pope.

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