According to petsinclude, the capital of Spain is located almost exactly in the center of the Iberian Peninsula. Madrid is also the administrative center of the autonomous region of the same name. The lively city is the royal residence and the political, cultural and economic center of Spain. Magnificent buildings from the 17th to 19th centuries Century, wide avenues and spacious squares shape the cityscape. Among the numerous museums, the Prado is one of the most visited in the world. Another tourist attraction is the nearby monumental monastery residence Escorial.
The center of the Iberian Peninsula
Madrid is located in the center of the Iberian Peninsula at an altitude of 650 m. It extends in terraces above the Manzanares. The city has almost 3.3 million residents. About 5.8 million people live in the autonomous region of Madrid, which includes the entire metropolitan area. Madrid is the political and cultural center of Spain as well as the financial and commercial metropolis.
Its central location makes it the most important transport hub. The city is the royal residence and seat of the highest government authorities and an archbishop. It has six universities, several academies, a nuclear research institute, an Islamic cultural center, the national library and other institutions. The more than 50 museums – in addition to the Prado, including the Archaeological Museum, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in the Palacio Villahermosa – attract numerous international visitors. Madrid has an opera, several theaters, an observatory as well as a botanical and a zoological garden.
Prado, Spanish for meadow, is the name of one of the most important museums in the world. The museum was named after the Prado de San Jerónimo Park, where construction began in 1785. It opened as the Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture in 1819 and has been a national museum since 1868. His holdings of old paintings, which go back to royal possession, are among the most important on earth. Of the total of 8000 paintings, only about 1500 can be shown in the more than 100 exhibition rooms. The focus is on the masterpieces of Spanish painting (EL GRECO, D. VELÁZQUEZ, B. E. MURILLO, F. DE GOYA and others), but many Flemish, Dutch, Italian and German masters can also be admired.
Other historical buildings, including the Royal Palace, as well as its squares (Puerta del Sol, Plaza España, etc.) and parks (Buen Retiro) make Madrid one of the most visited cities in Europe.
As the seat of numerous major banks and an international stock exchange as well as the location of international trade fairs, Madrid is also the most important economic center of Spain, although industry plays a rather subordinate role compared to the service sector. The former royal carpet and porcelain factories were once important. Today, machine, vehicle and aircraft construction, metal production and processing, electrical, chemical, textile, paper, food and luxury goods industries, the graphic trade and the building materials industry dominate. With four terminal stations, Madrid is the central hub of the railways on the Iberian Peninsula. It has an international airport (Barajas) and a subway.
Magnificent buildings from the 17th to 19th centuries Centuries and spacious avenues and squares shape the historic old town. The center of the city is the Plaza Puerta del Sol, which is connected to the Royal Palace in a westerly direction via the Calle del Arenal. This houses the largest collection of weapons in Europe. To the south of it is the New Cathedral La Almudena, in the northwest of the Parque de la Montaña with the Nubian temple of Debod, which was removed during the construction of the Aswan Dam and erected here in 1970. The old town also includes the arcade-lined Plaza Mayor and several churches and monasteries, including the cathedral, a former Jesuit church. The Museo del Prado is located on the eastern edge of the magnificent avenue Paseo del Prado, near the spacious Parque del Retiro and the triumphal arch of Puerta de Alcalá. A symbol of Madrid is the Cybelebrunnen on the Plaza de la Cibeles. More recently, the Plaza de España with the Cervantes monument (1927) was laid out in the northwest. The boulevard Paseo de la Castellana developed as the central north-south axis.
The strong population growth at the turn of the 20th century led to the expansion of the urban area in a chessboard layout. Numerous modern functional and high-rise buildings were built, including the Torre de Madrid (1954–59), the glass tower of the Banco de Bilbao (1979/80) and the Palacio de Congresos with the wall ceramics designed by JOAN MIRÓ in 1980.
Madrid was founded in the 9th century as the center of a Vega, an irrigated and agricultural region created by the Moors. The old irrigation systems supplied the city with water until 1855. The Moorish fortress was conquered from León in 1083. In 1561 PHILIP II moved his seat of government to Madrid, which became the official capital in 1606. Since then, Madrid has been the center of the Spanish empire. On May 2nd, 1808, a popular uprising in Madrid gave rise to the Spanish struggle for freedom against the Napoleonic troops. In the Spanish Civil War, which caused severe damage to the historical building stock, the Republican government of Madrid was able to hold its own until March 28, 1939.
About 60 km northwest of Madrid is the Escorial, a monastery residence that PHILIP II of Spain had built in 1563–1584. The Escorial has been the burial place of the Spanish kings since CHARLES V. The largest Renaissance building in the world, a strictly regular structure of 207 x 162 m made of granite blocks, is structured by a monumental facade and encloses around 400 rooms, 16 courtyards, 15 cloisters and the basilica, a central building based on the model of St. Peter’s Church in Rome. The Escorial has a valuable library with around 130,000 volumes, a valuable collection of manuscripts, and collections of paintings and tapestries. The UNESCO declared the much-visited facility a World Heritage Site.