Arab Town Wall
According to Arab chroniclers, it was in AD 852 that the Emir of Córdoba, Mohamed I, ordered a fortress to be built on the left bank of the Manzanares River, the geographical centre of the Iberian Peninsula. He named the settlement Mayrit (source of water) and in it lay the seeds of the city now known as Madrid.
San Nicolas de los Servitas Church
This church tower is one of the oldest buildings in Madrid, dating back, it is believed, to 1085. Exhibits inside detail the Islamic history of early Madrid.
San Pedro Church
This church is well known for two things. First it's 14th century tower leans 25 inches off plumb. It has been steadied to reduce any further tilting, but remains Madrid's answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Inside the church is a painting of the Virgen de la Paloma which is a painting of the Mary with a dove on each side of her. This painting has been the inspiration of one of Madrid's most well known festivals, the Verbena de la Paloma which is held August 6th to 15th.
The House of Bakery
This house situated in the central square Plaza Major is from the 15-16th century and has some beautiful wall paintings. It originally housed the Bread Corporation and is today used by the municipality of Madrid.
The Segovia Bridge
This is the oldest bridge in the city which spans the river Manzanares, situated at the end of the Calle Segovia. It was built by Juan de Herrera at the end of the 16th century. It deserves a visit just to enjoy the view of the Royal Palace and gardens.
The Trinitarias Descalzas Convent
The 'Convento de las Trinitarias Descalzas de San Ildefonso' is located on Calle de Lope de Vega # 18 in the beautiful Huertas district. The convent was founded in 1609 by Francisca Gaitán Romero, the daughter of Julián Romero, captain of Felipe II's army in Flanders. Soon there were problems coming up. They were so bad that Romero completely separated herself from the convent. It finally found the protection of María de Villena y Mello, marquise of la Laguna and who belonged to the House of Braganza. In 1639 it was decided to reconstruct the building and a new church and convent was planned. The convent and church was declared a national monument in 1921. It was renovated between 1869 and 1939 by the Real Academia Española. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was buried here but unfortunately his tomb has disappeared.
The Santa Cruz Palace
The Santa Cruz Palace was originally a prison where prisoners sentenced to death were kept during their last days before public execution in Plaza Major. The prison was built in the 17th century and is today used by the ministry of foreign affairs.
The Zarzuela Palace
During the 17th century, King Felipe IV ordered a small country palace or hunting lodge to be built in a place called La Zarzuela, in the El Pardo woods close to Madrid. Designed by the Royal architects, Gomez de Mora and Carbonell, who represented the sober, early baroque style in Madrid, it comprised a rectangular, slate-roofed building with two lateral arcades. The main feature was the Italianate garden, with fountains at different levels on three terraces, an orchard and a tree nursery.
The palace was to give its name to the Spanish zarzuela, a genre of light theatrical works including both spoken dialogue and song. The earliest works of this type, based on libretti by Calderon de la Barca, were performed between 1657 and 1660.
Carlos IV carried out alterations to the building to adapt it to late 18th century taste, and adorned it with tapestries, porcelain and lamps from the Royal factories as well as furniture and his much-loved clocks, of which he created a magnificent collection.
The palace was seriously damaged during the Civil War (1936-1939) and required extensive re-building. While retaining the original layout, it was re-designed as the residence for Prince Juan Carlos and, for the first time, was provided with the necessary facilities and services for the life and official functions of the Heir to the Crown.
Their Majesties have lived in the palace since their marriage in 1962. The atmosphere is one of simplicity, comfort and family life.
The Monastery of Encarnacion
Apart from being one of the most beautiful monasteries of Madrid containing paintings and decorations by Ribera and Talavera, this monastery is specially known for containing a shrine with blood of the Saint Pantaleon.
The House of the Post Office
The Cibeles fountain depicts the goddess in a chariot pulled by two lions. The fountain was built between 1777 and 1782 by Ventura Rodriguez. Whenever the local football team Real Madrid wins a cup, fans flock around the fountain to celebrate.
The Royal House La Aduana
Oratory of the Caballero de Gracia
This is another typical building designed in a neo-classic style. Inside the oratory can be found important paintings by Velazquez and Zacarias.
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 9.00 - 18.00, Sundays 9.00 - 15.00.
The Gateway of Alcala
It used to be the gateway to the city by the Aragón road. It was designed by the Italian architect Francisco Sabatini in 1778.
The construction of this neoclassic library was initiated in 1866. Today it still serves as the national library of Spain.
Madrid Stock Market
The Stock Market of Madrid was build in the 19th century by Enrique Repulles. Today the neoclassical building still serves as a stock market.
Although the construction of the Almudena Cathedral did not start till the 19th century, its story begins in the 16th century, when the king of Spain set the capital of Spain in Madrid (1561). He thought, as almost all his successors did, that the capital has to have a Cathedral. During the time of Felipe IV (17th century), doña Isabel de Borbón, the king's wife, donated the money to build this cathedral dedicated to the Virgin of la Almudena. However, the works did not start till 1883. Finally in 1993, the cathedral of Madrid was consecrated.
Atocha Train Station
This is one of the central train stations of Madrid and contains an old part inaugurated by Isabel II in 1851 and a modern part from 1992. The roof of the long distance train station is characterized by the slenderness of the columns which support the horizontal plane of its construction, composed of thin slabs and beams, including skylights which guarantee adequate illumination and ventilation.
This crystal palace from 1887 is located in the center of the Retiro park. Modeled on London's Crystal Palace of the 1850s, it is Madrid's greatest wrought iron and glass-domed Industrial Revolution structure and was launched to stage an exhibition of Phillipine tropical plants. It stands in the heart of the Retiro Park, reflecting charismatically in a small lake inhabited by ducks, grey lag geese, and black swans, and forms one of Madrid's most enduring bucolic images. Exhibitions of modern art are regularly held inside the building, these range from surrealistic metal sculptures to aviary shows.
This palace, which today hosts one of the trendiest bar-discothèques in Madrid, is from 1846. Inside the bar you can still find the classic roof paintings and furniture's from the palace.
This gateway was ordered built by Napoleon in 1812 during the French occupation of Spain, which lasted only 4 years.
The Royal Theater
The construction of the Royal Theater was initiated in 1818 on orders of Isabel II.
This building is a typical example of the modernist architecture in Madrid from the 19th century.
Gate of Europe
This is an example of architecture from the 20th century in the modern Madrid. The gateway was designed by Philip Johnson and consists of 2 towers inclining towards each other.
The Picasso Tower
This is the highest building in Madrid and one of the highest in Spain. The Picasso tower is designed by Japanese architect Minoru Yamasaki.
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