Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain, located in the center of the country. Being the highest capital of Europe, Madrid is very hot in summer and quite cool in winter, and mild weather reigns in spring and autumn. Spring is the best time for a visit and walks in the squares and alleys of this densely populated city.
The city grew around the fortress Majirít, the first mention of which dates back to 932. During the Reconquista, in 1083 Madrid was subjugated by King Alfonso IV. The development of the city until 1561 (when King Philip II made it the capital of the kingdom) was largely dependent on the relationship between the Arabs and Spaniards, who fought, then lived in peace. The outlines similar to the modern city acquired in the period from the 1570s to the 1670s, the years of the most intensive development.
Under King Carlos III, Madrid became the real European capital. Architects such as Sabatini, Marche, Ventura Rodriguez, Juan de Villanueva and others were invited. Improvement work was carried out – the streets were paved and illuminated, water supply was modernized. A major restructuring of the city occurred in the late XIX – early XX century. In place of the old, new, wide streets and boulevards were laid, many buildings in the Art Nouveau style were built.
In 1936, during the Civil War, the city began to be defended by Republicans from nationalists (phalangists) under the command of Francisco Franco. In March 1939, the garrison capitulated. Many historic buildings were damaged, and the economy was in trouble. At the same time, several large architectural projects have been launched – the Arc de Triomphe, the Air Force headquarters in the Moncloa region and some others. In the 1950s, a boom in the economy and the development of tourism began. After the death of Franco in 1975 and the third restoration of the Bourbons, the current ruling king, Juan Carlos I, ascended the throne.
The historic core of Madrid is located southeast of the area of the former royal palace. Unfortunately, most of the architectural monuments were lost during the reconstruction of the city in the XIX-XX centuries.
The appearance of old Madrid with the irregular layout inherent in the medieval city has been preserved only to the southwest of Puerta del Sol, located on the eastern gate of the medieval city. Here you can highlight such architectural monuments of the XVI-XVII centuries as the Episcopal Chapel, the ensemble of Plaza Mayor and the church of San Antonio de los Alemanes in the style of herresco.
In the XVIII – the first quarter of the XIX century. classicism dominated the architecture of Madrid. Architectural monuments dating back to this period are the Royal Palace, Town Hall, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts “San Fernando”, the Church of San Francisco El Grande, the Prado Museum and the Church of San Antonio de la Florida, in which the murals of F Goya.
The rapid growth of Madrid falls on the second half of the XIX century. During this period, Madrid intensively merged with the suburbs. The leading architectural style has become Art Nouveau. The Cathedral of Nuestra Senor de la Almudena, built at the end of the 19th century, is the most striking example of this trend in the history of the development of Spanish architecture.
The numerous museums of the city, the most famous of which is the Prado, hold priceless collections of paintings, the architectural heritage eloquently testifies that Madrid was the center of a great empire. The National Center for Art is dedicated to 20th-century Spanish art. The works of Miro, Dali, Juan Gris and many cubists, including Picasso, are presented there. The Thyssen-Bornemissen Museum is one of the most extensive private painting collections in the world, containing more than 800 paintings ranging from the Italian Renaissance to the avant-garde of the twentieth century. Cason del Buen Retiro is the largest collection of Spanish art of the 19th century.
In the restaurants of the city you can taste amazing dishes of national cuisine, and in the evening tourists will find an inexhaustible selection of entertainment. Madrid is one of the most visited cities in the world and is known as one of the most “night” capitals in Europe. Life here does not calm down, day or night.
The economic and cultural life of the city is concentrated on Paseo de la Castellana and Alcalá street. It is here that the most expensive shops and luxurious restaurants are located.
Casa de Campo is located in the western part of the city center and is a huge open space with a swimming pool, tennis courts, jogging tracks and a zoo with an aquarium. At the end of the Casa de Campo is the Amusement Park – a large amusement park for children and adults.