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Madrid travel guide — Madrid tourism and travel information

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about Madrid

Madrid, the capital of Spain, is located in the center of the country at 40°25'N, 3°45'W. As of 2003 census, population of the city of Madrid proper was 3,092,759. Population of the whole urban area was estimated in 2003 at 5,603,285 inhabitants.

Madrid is the capital not only of the country but also of the province and autonomous community of Madrid.

Madrid sights

Important cultural and tourist spots include the so-called Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising the famous Prado Museum (with highlights such as Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas and Francisco de Goya's La Maja vestida and La Maja desnuda), the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum (where Pablo Picasso's Guernica hangs); the Plaza Mayor; the Gran Via; the Casón del Buen Retiro (hosting the 19th-century collection of the Prado Museum; currently closed for reform), the Palacio Real, the Templo de Debod (a temple brought stone-by-stone from Egypt) , the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, the Puerta del Sol and the Parque del Buen Retiro.

Madrid is also host to one of the most famous bullfighting rings in the world, Las Ventas.

Other nearby towns are popular as day trips from Madrid, including Toledo, Segovia, Ávila, Aranjuez, Alcalá de Henares, the monastery and palace complex of El Escorial, and Chinchón.

This section is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

Madrid history

Although the site of Madrid has been occupied since prehistoric times, the first historical data we have from the city is from the middle of the IX Century, when Mohamed I ordered the construction of a small palace (in the same place that is occupied now by the Palacio Real). Around this palace there was built a small citadel (al-Mudaina). Near that palace was the River Manzanares, which the muslims called Mayrit meaning source of water. (from which Magerit, then Madrid). The citadel was conquered in 1085 by Alfonso VI in his advance towards Toledo. He reconsecrated the mosque as the church of the Virgin of Almudena (almudin, the garrison's granary). In 1329 the Cortes first assembled in Madrid to advise Fernando IV. Jews and Moors continued to live in the city in their quarter, still called the "Moreria" until they were expelled and every mosque and synagogue utterly obliterated.

After troubles and a fire Enrique III (1379-1406) rebuilt the city and established himself safely fortified outside its walls in El Pardo. The grand entry of Ferdinand and Isabella into Madrid signalled the end of strife between Castile and Aragon.

The kingdoms of Castile, with its capital at Toledo, and Aragon, with its capital at Barcelona, were welded into modern Spain in the person of Carlos I. Though King Carlos favored Madrid, it was his son, Felipe II (1527-1598) who moved the Court to Madrid in 1561. Although he made no official declaration, the seat of the Court was the de facto capital. Seville continued to control the Spanish Indies, but Madrid controlled Seville. Aside from a brief period, 1601 - 1606, when Felipe III installed his court in Valladolid, Madrid's fortunes have closely mirrored those of Spain. During the Siglo de Oro (Golden Century), which is situated between the XVI y el XVII centuries, Madrid had no resemblance with other European Capitals, in fact, the population of the city lived out of business that were court related.

Felipe V decided that an European Capital could not stay in such state and new palaces (including the Palacio Real are built under his kingdom. However, it would not be until Carlos III (1716-1788) that Madrid, as a modern city, would be born. Carlos III would be one of the most popular kings in the history of Madrid, and the saying "the best mayor, the king" would become popular during those times. When Carlos IV (1748-1819) became King the people of Madrid revolves. After the Mutiny of Aranjuez which was impulsed by his own son Fernando VII against him, Carlos IV resigns, but Fernando VII kingdom would be short since in May of 1808 the troops of Napoleon enter the city.

After the war of independence (1814) Fernando VII came back to the throne but after a liberal military revolution, Coronel Riego made the king swear respect to the Constitution. This would start a period where liberal and conservative alternate government that would end with the enthronement of Isabel II (1830-1904), who would not be able to calm down the political tension that would lead to yet after another revolt, the First Spanish Republic, the comeback of the monarchs which eventually would lead to the Second Spanish Republic and the Spanish Civil War. During this war (1936-1939) Madrid would be one of the most affected cities and its streets became battlezones.

During the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco Madrid became very industrialized and there were massive migrations into the city. Towards the end of the dictatorship ETA assassinated Franco's prime minister, Luis Carrero Blanco, in the Street of Claudio Coello, which would be applauded by the liberals and would provocate a political change that lead the country into a Monarchic Democracy. After the demise of Franco, Spain became a constitutional monarchy. Befitting its new-found prosperity, the capital city of Spain has consolidated its position as the leading economic, cultural, industrial, educational, and technological center on the Iberian peninsula.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Madrid".

This city is also known as: Madrid.

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