General information about Madrid
Madrid, the capital city of Spain is 646 mts. above sea level and lies in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula. This city with 3 million inhabitants with a multicultural background has a climate which is warn & dry during summers and cold and wet during the winters. This city is at the center of the country and connects most towns by air, road or train. When one talks of Madrid, one thinks of the economy and the industry. Madrid is also the commercial capital of the country and thanks to its central location it is quite easy to reach this place from across the world. The most important commercial sectors for Madrid include manufacturing of metals, chemicals, construction materials and alimentary products. This city is also known for its services and, commerce& administration sectors form the other pillar for the economy. Thanks to its tight relations with South America, Madrid attracts a lot of foreign capital. In fact, it is home to some international companies like Iberia, Repsol YPF and Telefonica.
This city is also home to the Royal family and has multiple government and national institutions spread across the city. This town is known for its rich, long & fascinating history and one can always see multiple monuments & museums spread across the whole of the city. As such, Madrid is a city which sees a lot of visitors, even in the form of foreign students. In fact, this city attracted 6.7 million tourists in the year 2017. Thus, it can be said that this city is a great tourist attraction.
As far as the history of this city is concerned, Madrid was originally known as Mayrit. This city was founded by a Muslim ruler who went by the name emir Muhammad. This city came to life in the IX century and had been under the Arab influence ever since. IT should be noted that the main city belonging to the Spanish plain at that time was Toledo, which in itself was highly developed. In the year 1083, a battle took place between the Arabs and the Spaniards and Madrid got conquered by King Alfonso I. Thus, the city came under the Christian rule, during which the Muslin world symbols were removed entirely, resulting in the loss of the heritage forever. During the centuries which followed, the city reached its current aspect. Plaza Mayor which is the main square was built by John II in the 13th Century. Enrique III started building the El Pardo palace as a royal residence and the city continued to grow. In 1561, the Spanish court was moved from Toledo to Madrid and a new leaf was added in the history of this place. However, the court was moved to Valladolid in the year 1601 only to be moved back to Madrid in 1606. Later on, the city continued adding churches and building the famous park which is now known as Retiro.
The city later on witnessed a war or succession where the Bourbons took over the reins of the city. Some years later, the French marched in and tried taking the possession of Madrid. This resulted in a war in 1808 which yielded no success. The year 1813 saw Spaniards movement for independence. In the year 1936, this city witnessed a civil war and this continued for three years. In the year 1978, the facist rule of General Franco came to an end, which allowed for a local general election to be conducted in 1979. It was this year where Madrid was confirmed as the capital of Spain. When this event happened, Madrid had around 3 million inhabitants and it was quite big in size. Thanks to frequent exposure of multiple cultures, this city is soaked in multiple cultural heritages.
Where is Madrid
Madrid, the capital of Spain is 665 meters above the sea level and is located at the center of Iberian Peninsula. This city has latitude of 40.42 and longitude of -3.70.
Best Things to do in Madrid
Thanks to the weather in Madrid, it attracts hundreds of tourist all year long. This place is known for its amazing architecture and museum and some of the best things to do in Madrid are-
- Palacio Real: This royal palace boasts of 2500 decorated rooms and is massive. This was built in 1764 and was used as a place of royal residence. This place is used for the official ceremonies even today. 50 rooms of the palace are thrown open to the public and these rooms offer some amazing views to the culture of this city.
- Prado Museum: This museum was designed in the 18th century and houses some of the best art collections of the world. It has more than 7000 pieces of artwork and represents work from the 12th to the 19th
- Museo Reina: This museum, which was inaugurated in the year 1992, is complementary to the Prado museum. This museum houses some of the best works done by Spanish artists and has extensive collection of artworks of Pablo Picasso & Salvador Dalí.
- Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art: This museum houses the collections of German and English artists like Hans Holbein, Albrecht Dürer and Hans BaldungGrien. This place offers some amazing modern and contemporary art form.
- National Archaeological Museum: This places houses some invaluable pieces of history gathered over the course of years. The main attractions here are the items pre-dating the Roman era. Some of the Iberian sculptures here are atleast 2500 years old.
Madrid tourist attractions
Madrid is a city full of culture and life. There are countless things which make Madrid memorable, right from cafes to rooftop bars to parks. Some of the best tourist attractions in this city are-
- Retiro Park: These elegant gardens are to the east of Prado and belonged to the royal family till some years back. This garden has a grand pond and houses the glass and iron pavilion. This park also contains the oldest tree planted in the city in the year 1633.
- Santiago Bernabéu Stadium: This stadium remains home to Real Madrid, which is Europe’s one of the most successful teams. This stadium can occupy 85000 people at one go and is one of the biggest football stadiums in the world. A visit to this stadium allows you to see the dressing room, the dugout and the trophies collected by the Real Madrid football team.
- Mercado de San Miguel: This place is a shopping destination and offers amazing local food and delicacies. This place has a beautiful architecture made up of glass walls and cast iron. This market is popular because it stays up till 2am and serves as a nightspot for the city. This site is also a host to a number of concerts and private parties.
- Temple of Debod: This temple has a lot of history associated with it. This temple belongs to the Egyptian goddess Isis. This temple was located on the banks of river Nile in Egypt. Due to the construction of the great damn of Aswan, this temple was under the threat of going under the water, due to flooding. Hence, along with other historical monuments, the temple had to be moved to some other place. Spain stepped in and helped the Egyptian government move the historical monuments to a different place. And as an expression of gratitude, the government of Egypt gifted the temple of Debod to Spain in 1968.
- Plaza de Cibeles: This beautiful plaza is one of the most well-known places in Madrid. It is surrounded by Neo-classical style constructions. This plaza houses a statue which goes by the name Fuente de la Cibeles which is considered as the symbol of the city.
- Puertadel Sol: Puerta del Sol directly translates to the gate of the sun. This square is the place where people gather during the New Year. This place is an architectural wonder and houses a clock which chimes on the New Year.
- Gran Via: This place is known as the Broadway of the city. This street never sleeps, and houses hundreds of shops, restaurants & businesses. The most famous building on this street is the Telefónica Building, which happens to be the tallest building in the whole of Europe.
- Plaza Mayor: This place was known to host bull fights. Now, this structure is decorated with frescoes and showcases wrought-iron framed balconies and elegant slate spires.
Shopping in Madrid
Shopping and Madrid go hand in hand. This place has a mix of international brands and local shops and both of them stay open till late. This place offers great clothing, shoes, wines and souvenirs. One of the most popular areas for shopping at Madrid is the upscale and fashionable Salamanca District. This place has some prominent avenues in the form of Calle Velázquez and Calle Serrano. Some of the famous malls in this area include the ABC Serrano shopping mall. This mall is upmarket and exclusive and has multiple cafes. One more interesting street here is Calle Jorge Juan which offers some amazing international brand boutiques.
One of the streets in the Salamanca district goes by the name Calle de Jose Ortega y Gasset. Here, one can find multiple designer shops and, brands like Jimmy Choo and Valentino have their shops here. One more interesting area to shop is the Grand Via district. Here one can find shops like H&M, Zara, FNAC and many more. ElRastro is a place which is well known for its flea market. This place is a tourist attraction and one can get great antiques, leather and second hand clothes and flowers at this place.
Some of the popular shopping malls in Madrid include Príncipe Pío, Palacio de Hielo and Madrid Xanadú. Príncipe Pío has some great restaurants and cinemas. Palacio de Hielo, along with its shops, it is known for its ice skating ring. And Madrid Xanadú, which is the biggest mall, is known for its restaurants, shops bowling alleys, ski, karts, hot air balloon flights and many more.
Nightlife in Madrid
Madrid is a city that never sleeps. The nightlife in this city is legendary and amazing. This city provides more night-time entertainment than most other European capitals. In fact, this is the only city, where one can spot children playing with their grandparents in a park at 1 in the morning. This city offers multiple nocturnal activities and bars. And though, it may not have the flair of Berlin or London, it surely has an unmatched variety of clubs and bars.
One of the best places in Madrid when it comes to bars, clubs and restaurants is Puertadel Sol. This place offers amazing cuevas where one can indulge in caña, while listening to some fantastic beats. Further away is Huertas and Plaza de Santa Ana which offers amazing sidewalk cafes, where one can simply enjoy their drink while they watch the world whisk away past them. For the authentic taste of the Madrid lifestyle, one needs to go to Lavapies and La Latina. Both these places offer an amazing social life, thanks to their varieties of tapas bars & nightlife spots. In fact, Lavapies is the place where one will find a delightful multicultural vibe and an artistic atmosphere. La Latina is a place which has long narrow winding streets and it’s a great place if one wishes to do bar hopping.
Again, there is a place known as Chueca which offers trendy lounges, stylish bars and hip restaurants. Simply put, this city has an amazing nightlife. What makes this city special, is its relaxed atmosphere and the attitude of its high-spirited locals who absolutely love going out, love socializing and love eating and drinking!
The winters in Madrid are cold and dry, during which, the temperatures at night falls below 0 ° C and it snows. Springs at Madrid are generally warmer. However, the night temperatures always remain low. In Madrid, summers can be divided into two different seasons – one which is pleasant and one which is hot. The earlier part of the summer is the one which is quite pleasant. However, as the calendar approaches the months of July and August, the weather gets excruciatingly hot. The autumns here are wetter. Typically, January is the coldest month here and during this month, the temperature hovers between 2 to 9 ° C. In the month of July, the temperature hovers between 17 to 31 ° C. During the start of autumn in September, the temperature ranges between 14 to 25 ° C.