capital simply through its geographical position at the centre of Iberia.
When Felipe II moved the seat of government here in 1561 his aim was to
create a symbol of the unification and centralization of the country, and
a capital from which he could receive the fastest post and communications
from each corner of the nation. The site itself had few natural advantages
- it is 300km from the sea on a 650-metre-high plateau, freezing in winter,
burning in summer - and it was only the determination of successive rulers
to promote a strong central capital that ensured Madrid's survival and
Madrid is a modern, world-class,
but also historic city - the capital of Spain - located almost centrally
in the heart of the country. A contrast of old and new, Madrid is
a beautiful and vibrant city of great architectural interest. You
might find the drive into the city a bit boring with its suburbs of concrete
apartment blocks, but once in the centre, you will enjoy the traditional
streets, with medieval buildings and some narrow and very atmospheric alleys,
containing shops and bars.
The old quarter has a concentration
of magnificent attractions including the Prado Museum with its great art
collection, as well as the Reina Sofia and Thysssen-Bornemisza galleries,
displaying Picasso and many other European and American masters.
The people of Madrid are
among the great attractions of the city. Commonly known as the "Madrileños"
they can be seen relaxing in the traditional cafes and cars, at the Sunday
El Rastro flea market, and also late into the night at the many bars and
nightclubs of Madrid.
For shopping, Madrid is a
shopper's paradise, including the classy and expensive shops of the Salamanca
Quarter. For those on a more modest budget, the El Rastro flea market
is highly recommended.
Parque del Buen Retiro
(Park of the Pleasant Retreat) - a lovely green and leafy oasis in the
heart of the city including a lake where rowing boats can be hired.
There are also wonderful puppet shows for the children in the park.
Temple of Debod -
an ancient Egyptian temple which has been rebuilt in Madrid. The temple
was originally built in southern Egypt, close to the first cataract of
the Nile and is dedicated to the goddess Isis, in Philae. Due to the construction
of the Great Dam of Aswan In 1960, and the subsequent threat it posed
to certain monuments and archaeological sites, UNESCO made an international
call to save this rich historical patrimony. As a sign of gratitude for
the help provided by Spain in saving the temples of Abu Simbel, the Egyptian
state donated the temple to Spain in 1968.
The Teatro Real (Royal
Theatre) which has the world's finest stage and acoustic settings for opera.
The Santiago Bernabéu
Stadium - home to Real Madrid - is a must visit for football fans.
The city has many relaxing
plazas with beautiful sculptures, including the Plaza de Cibeles with
its magical fountain and the Plaza Mayor, a lovely place for strolling,
feeding the pigeons and enjoying a cup of coffee at one of the sidewalk
Weather in Madrid:
Freezing cold in winter, and boiling hot in summer! Recommended seasons
for visiting this fascinating city are Spring and Autumn, when you can
stroll around the city and enjoy its many pleasures in comfort.
Transport - with the
versatile metro and bus transport systems, plus convenient taxis that can
be hailed in the street, you will have no problems getting around Madrid.
to stay in Madrid: The city offers many and varied accommodation options,
with everything from bed & breakfasts,
and hostels to self-catering holiday rental apartments in the centre of
the city. While hotels are great, sometimes it is better to live
like a Madrileño in your own little home-from-home! Either
eat in or dine out at your leisure and enjoy the entertainment on offer.
In conclusion, Madrid
is among the world's most popular destination cities and is well worth
The Community of Madrid
(Spanish: Comunidad de Madrid) is one of the seventeen autonomous communities
of Spain. It is located at the center of the country, the Iberian peninsula,
and the Meseta Central or Central Plain. The community is also conterminous
with the province of Madrid and contains the capital of Spain, which is
also the capital of the community. It is bounded to the south and east
by Castile-La Mancha and to the north and west by Castile and León.
It has an estimated population of 6.2 million (2008) mostly concentrated
at the metropolitan area of Madrid.
The creation of the contemporary
Community of Madrid was preceded by an intense political debate during
the "pre-autonomic" period; that is, the period of political debate that
led to the institution of autonomous communities as the first-level political
divisions of Spain consisted of provinces, a political division that had
existed since 1833. Autonomous communities were to be created by one or
more provinces with a distinct regional identity; since Madrid was part
of the historic region of Castile, assigned to New Castile in the 1833
provincial organization, it was first planned that the province of Madrid
would be part of future community of Castile-La Mancha (which was roughly
similar to New Castile, with the adding of the province of Albacete) but
with some special considerations as the seat of government of the State.
The integrating provinces of Castile-La Mancha opposed such a special status,
and after considering other options—like its inclusion to the community
of Castile and León or its constitution as an entity similar to
a federal district—it was decided that the province of Madrid would become
a single-province autonomous community by appealing to the 144th article
of the constitution, whereby the Parliament can authorize the creation
of an autonomous community, even if it did not satisfy the requirement
of having a distinct historical identity, if it was the "nation's interest".
Thus, in 1983, the Community of Madrid was constituted and a Statute of
Autonomy was approved taking over all the competences of the old Diputación
Provincial and the new ones the Statute considered.
The City of Madrid
(Spanish: Villa de Madrid) was designated as the capital of the community
as well as has been explicitly designated as the capital of the country
by the 1978 Constitution. Nonetheless, several proposals have been made
to make other towns the capital of the community like Alcalá de
Henares, in the 1980s, and more recently, Getafe, without any relevance.