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Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a cosmopolitan city that combines the most modern infrastructures and the status as an economic, financial, administrative and service centre, with a large cultural and artistic heritage, a legacy of centuries of exciting history.
Strategically located in the geographic centre of the Iberian Peninsula at an altitude of 646 m above sea level, Madrid has one of the most important historic centres of all the great European cities. This heritage merges seamlessly with the city’s modern and convenient infrastructures, a wide-ranging offer of accommodation and services, and all the latest state-of-the-art technologies in audiovisual and communications media. These conditions, together with all the drive of a dynamic and open society –as well as high-spirited and friendly– have made this metropolis one of the great capitals of the Western world.
It has been populated since the Lower Palaeolithic era, although it was not until 1561 that King Philip II made Madrid the capital city of his vast empire. The historic centre, also known as the “Madrid of Los Austrias” (in reference to the Hapsburg monarchs), and the spectacular Plaza Mayor square –inaugurated in 1620 and one of the most popular and typical sites in Spain– are a living example of the nascent splendour of the city in the 16th and 17th centuries.
An attractive blend of tradition and modernity
Madrid has many artistic attractions, thanks to the different styles that have left their imprint in the city over the centuries.
From the remains of the old Arab wall, to small Gothic churches and early Renaissance works, Madrid boasts a multitude of rich and varied works of art. Madrid comes from the Arabic word Magerit (“mother of waters”), which was the name that was given to the fortress built on the banks of the Manzanares River by the Umayyad of Cordoba, Muhammed (823-886). Although the city grew under the Arabs for two hundred years, the only remains still standing from that period are the wall and a few towers, which were turned into bell towers. The arrival of Los Austrias –as the Hapsburg dynasty was known– in the 16th century, and at the period of maximum splendour in the 17th century, brought about the monuments that today make up one of the most famous parts of the city –the area of “Los Austrias”–, along with the Plaza Mayor square, and a number of beautiful sites churches and convents. The austere Baroque façades contrast with the luxurious interiors of the palaces.
San Francisco El Grande Basilica
Royal Convent of La Encarnación
Puerta del Sol
Puerta De Alcala
Al Mudena Cathedral
Pantheon of Illustrious Men
San Jerónimo el Real