The well-preserved architecture, notable monuments and noteworthy historical sites in Madrid make it a captivating capital city in Europe. Here are some of the places in Madrid where one can take a glimpse of its interesting past:
Platform 0 in English, Andén 0 is an exhibition project
featuring Estación de Chamberí and the generator building, Nave de motores de
Pacífico. Popularly known as Madrid Metro ghost station, Estación de Chamberí
was inaugurated in 1919 but was closed in 1966 when it can no longer be extended
as part of the upgrading of Madrid Metro Line 1. It remained unused since then,
but was restored in 2006 and reopened in 2008 to form Platform 0, along with Nave
de motores de Pacífico.
A landmark building on Calle de Alcalá in Madrid, it is the
Bank of Spain main headquarters. Inaugurated in 1891, it went through its first
renovations in the 1930s. In 1999, it was recognized as a property of cultural
With a reputation for being the largest public park in the
city of Madrid, Casa de Campo was once a hunting estate of the Spanish king.
While it now features a zoo and amusement park within its boundaries, Casa de
Campo has seen its share of turbulent history. In the Spanish Civil War of the
1930s, front liners of the Siege of Madrid trampled through Casa de Campo.
The former home of Spanish playwright Lope de Vega, this 16th
century house is a national monument and presently under the protection of Bien
de Interés Cultural and care of Real Academia Española. It was made into a
museum in 1935 and has three Lope de Vega manuscripts on display.
Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena or simply
Almudena Cathedral is home to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid. The cathedral
features Gothic Revival, Neoclassical and Neo-Romanesque architectural styles. A
medieval mosque formerly stood on the current site of the cathedral, until it
was destroyed in the 11th century when Madrid was re-conquered by Alfonso
VI. In 1993, Pope John Paul II consecrated the cathedral.
Estación de Atocha is a rail complex where Estación de
Mediodía, the first railway station of Madrid, was opened in 1851. In the late
1800s, the building was severely damaged in a fire and was subsequently rebuilt
and reopened. 2004 marked another dark event in the complex when arriving
commuter trains packed with passengers were targeted in a succession of
coordinated bombing attacks. Memorials to the attack can be seen within the
Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales or the Convent of Las
Descalzas Reales is a convent of the Poor Clare order of nuns. Founded by
Joanna of Austria, daughter of Emperor Charles V and Empress Isabel of
Portugal, the convent is set at the former royal palace and attracted young
spinster and widowed noblewomen during the late 16th century until
the 17th century. Each noblewoman brought a dowry that contributed
to the riches of the convent. Over time, the demographics of Monasterio de las
Descalzas Reales gradually changed that in the 20th century, all the
nuns lived in poverty. While the past riches of the convent were maintained,
the nuns were not allowed to auction any of the riches, nor could they spend
the money received from dowries. In 1960, the convent was opened as a museum.
Commonly known as El Escorial, Monasterio y Sitio de El
Escorial en Madrid is the bygone residence of the Spanish King. Being a Spanish
royal site, it served as a royal palace, basilica, monastery, pantheon, museum,
hospital, university and school during its glory days. In 1984, El Escorial was
recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built in the 9th century, Muralla Árabe or Muslim Walls of Madrid and also referred to
as Arab Walls of Madrid, are deemed to be the oldest surviving construction in
the city. They formed part of a Moorish fortress, from which the city center of
Madrid developed. In 1954, the walls were declared an Artistic-Historic
Opened in 1944, Museo Cerralbo is home to the art and
historical collections of the 17th Marquis of Cerralbo, Enrique de
Aguilera y Gamboa. Built during the 19th century, the building was
designed with Italian influences and opulently decorated with baroque wall
paintings, furniture and chandeliers. In 1962, it was recognized as Bien de
Formerly recognized as Palacio de Comunicaciones and Palacio
de Telecomunicaciones, Cybele Palace at Plaza Cibeles is a 2-building complex
with white facades. It used to house the main post office of Madrid, as well as
the telegraph and telephone centers of operations of the city. Presently, it
serves as the city hall of Madrid.
Palacio de Linares is a historic 19th century
palace known for its ornate interiors and speculated resident ghost. This
stately building was acknowledged as a national historic-artistic monument in
1976. Presently it houses Casa de America that hosts cultural events.
Simply referred to as the Royal Palace, Palacio Real de
Madrid is the official Spanish royal family residence. At present, however, it
is only utilized for state ceremonies. The original structure burned in 1734.
Under the orders of King Felipe V, a new palace was constructed, following a Berniniesque
Panteón de Hombres Ilustres or
Pantheon of Illustrious Men at the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Atocha houses
the tombs of several famous Spaniards, including those of the dramatist Leandro
Fernández de Moratín, six Spanish liberal politicians, and the Marqués del
Duero. The pantheon is a royal site and presently under the administration of
Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas is a bullring that was completed in 1929. It follows a Neo-Mudejar style and features ceramic incrustations of the heraldic crests of Spanish provinces. These days, the bullring has seen other uses, including being a venue for concerts, theatrical performances, and tennis matches.
First built in the latter part of the 16th
century until the early years of the 17th century, the Plaza Mayor
was the center of the old city. Over the course of its history, the square has
survived 3 major fires. It has also been the venue for several events in
history, including executions.
Puerta del Sol was among the city gates of Madrid during the
15th century and is one of the most famous public squares in the
city. From the 17th to the 19th century, the public
square was a central meeting place, visited by those keen on hearing about the
latest news. This was due to the presence of the Post Office at the square.
This Neoclassic 18th century place of worship in
Central Madrid is part of the Franciscan convent, Jesus y Maria. Inside, one
can find paintings by Francisco Goya and Zurbaran. For a time, the church
served as a national pantheon that enshrined the corporeal remains of renowned
politicians and artists.
Originally erected in Egypt, the Temple of Debod is an
ancient temple that was disassembled and later on reconstructed in Madrid,
Spain. Egypt, with the assistance of UNESCO, donated the Temple of Debod to
Spain when the Aswan High Dam construction posed a threat to the nearby
archaeological sites and monuments in the 1960s. In 1972, the reconstructed
Temple of Debod at Parque del Oeste in Madrid was opened to the general public.
Valle de los Caídos or Valley of the Fallen is comprised of a memorial to those who perished during the Spanish Civil War and Catholic basilica. The monument is said to be an act of national atonement, as well as a symbol of reunification after the Spanish Civil War.
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