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Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 1
Statue of the Fallen Angel
(Retiro Park) page 30
Editor´s note… … …
Our team is...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 2
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 3
adrid offers all kinds of possibilities to suit all budgets,
from uncomfortable...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 4
Madrid and Barcelona are
separated by 623 km.
After many steps forward
and a fe...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 5
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 6
adrid is probably one of the cities with the best public
transport network in E...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 7
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 8
Commuter trains (Cercanías) makes life easier for millions of
madrileños every ...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 9
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 10
hen someone visits a city for the first time is always
important to take into ...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 11
The ambulance must arrive at the required location within an
average of eight ...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 12
If the phone number starts with 9 indicates that it is a landline. If it
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 13
During your visit to the city probably you have seen some small
kiosks under t...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 14
to Visit
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 15
Madrid's fate changed forever in 1561 when King Felipe II decided to move his ...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 16
History of Madrid
We hardly have data on Madrid in pre-Roman times. Some
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 17
Historical Timeline
711: The Arabs invaded and conquered Spain.
Ninth Century:...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 18
Royal Palace
Located in the heart of the city, the Royal
Palace is an essentia...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 19
designed in 1789 by Jean Demosthenes Dugourc who sent
it, dismantled in pieces...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 20
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 21
Address: Calle Bailen 8 (Visitor Entrance)
Metro Station: Opera 
Prices: Alm...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 22
popularly known as “El Cid Campeador”) and hundreds of thousands
of “madrileño...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 23
Address: Plaza Mayor
Metro Station: Sol  / La Latina 
Prices: -
Opening Ho...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 24
Address: Puerta del Sol
Metro Station: Sol 
Prices: -
Opening Hours: -
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 25
Gran Via Street
Gran Via Street is, with no doubt, the most
famous street in S...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 26
,when Javier Feduchi Benlliure designed the triumphal arch that
today dominate...
Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 27
Cybele´s Square
This unique square, designed by King Carlos
III, is one of the...
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  1. 1. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 1 Statue of the Fallen Angel (Retiro Park) page 30 Editor´s note… … … Our team is open to new suggestions and comments from all readers. If you wish to contact us you can send an email to: info@mundo-guides.com Mundo Guides assumes no responsibility for changes and errors in the information. Copyright Notice .…. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, except brief extracts for the purpose of review, without written permission from the publisher and copyright owner. Chief Editor Javier Molina info@mundo-guides.com Editor Pedro García Contributors Courtney Likkel (www.adelante.com) Layout & Design Javier Molina Photography Arturo Osorio Advertising Director Irene Hurtado advertising@mundo-guides.com Administration Manager Ricardo Redondo Arriving 2 Getting Around 5 What to Visit 14 Expats´ Stories in Madrid Last September I packed my bags and said “hasta luego” to Seattle, anxious to call Madrid my new home. Little did I know how much would become infatuated with this gorgeous city. What I love the most about Madrid is how alive it is. The vibrant streets are lined with colorful buildings and filled with bustling locals. Each neighborhood has a different personality, and it’s this captivating variation that makes the city so full of life. My favorite spot in Madrid is atop the Círculo de Bellas Artes, where you can enjoy a glass of wine while admiring some of the most spectacular views of the city. Madrid abounds with new places to discover, as the opportunities for exploration and enjoyment are endless. You can follow Courtney´s adventures on her blog Adelante (www.adelanteblog.com). Courtney is a Seattle native living in Madrid and working as an assistant English teacher. Besides venturing around Europe, she likes drinking tinto de verano in the sunshine, embarrassing herself by trying to speak the local language, and attempting to seek out the best brunch in Spain.  The Royal Palace 18  Almudena Cathedral 21  Plaza Mayor 23  Puerta del Sol 24  Gran Vía Street 25  Cybele´s Square 27  Alcalá Gate 29  Retiro Park 30  Golden Triangle of Art 32  Canovas del Castillo Square 36  Spanish Parliament 38  Plaza España 39  Santiago Bernabéu Stadium 41  Las Ventas Bullring 42 Basics 9 Culture 43  Museums 44-48  Theatres 48-49  Flamenco 50  Modern Architecture 51-52 Gastronomy 53 Where to stay 59 Entertainment 62 Shopping & Souvenirs 65 CONTENTS Contents
  2. 2. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 2 Arriving
  3. 3. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 3 adrid offers all kinds of possibilities to suit all budgets, from uncomfortable seats in a low-cost airline to some of the most modern high-speed trains in the world. Don´t think twice and enjoy one of the most attracting cities in Europe! By Train www.renfe.es Spain, along with France, has one of the best High-Speed networks in Europe. The country is enjoying this modern transportation system since 1992 when the High speed Train (AVE) Madrid-Seville was inaugurated. Currently many countries (China, U.S., Germany or Russia) are studying the Spanish growth to imitate the model and develop a similar system which had been highly successful for Spain. AVE trains can reach 300km / h, becoming a serious competitor for airlines companies. In addition, AVE trains have seven passenger wagons and a bar-cafeteria. During high season, two trains can be united, multiplying the capacity. In few words: speed, punctuality and service are the three characteristics that best define these trains. Talgo 200 trains are cheaper than high speed trains (AVE), but they are also very comfortable and punctual. There are as well overnight trains with sleeping cars that connect different Spanish cities with the Spanish Capital (Tren Estrella). Madrid has two main Railway Stations: Atocha Railway Station Atocha Railway Station, one of the icons of Madrid with its magnificent iron and glass structure, has two distinct areas: the old station which was designed in the nineteenth century and now has been converted into a beautiful tropical garden that makes the wait much more pleasant to travelers. And the new part of the station, designed by Rafael Moneo, that functionally integrates trains, subway, buses and commuter trains along with lots of shops, kiosks, cafes, etc. Unfortunately Atocha Station gained international relevance for a tragic event. On March 11, 2004 several bombs placed strategically at different commuter trains exploded killing nearly 200 people. A few hours after, radical Islamic terrorist groups claimed responsibility. The attack shocked Spain, a country used to endure the terrorist atrocities, and Atocha Station became the epicenter of global news for several weeks. Upstairs you can visit a small memorial to the victims. At the same time, in Retiro Park (page 30) was inaugurated the “Forest of Memory” in honor of the victims of this despicable act. Chamartín Railway Station This Railway Station was built in 1967 and primarily serves the northern part of Spain (Barcelona, Leon, Irun, Salamanca, Valladolid, Hendaye, etc.) and France. Attention! High Speed Train Madrid- Barcelona departs from Atocha Station. In 1970 the Station was closed and reformed in order to adapt it to the new traveler needs: cafeterias, shops, ATM Machines, etc. Commuter trains comfortably connect Chamartin Station with downtown (Puerta del Sol and Atocha Station) and metropolitan areas. At the same time, two metro lines connect directly Chamartin Station with the city center. By Plane Adolfo Suarez Barajas Airport (MAD) is one of the world's most busiest Airports (50 million passengers a year) and over the years, has become an important hub between Europe and South America. Despite that, Madrid-Barajas is easy to navigate and pleasantly efficient. The Airport is 12km away from the city center but well connected by metro, bus, commuter trains and taxi. Barajas Airport consists of four terminals of which three are linked together through mechanical corridors. However, the new Terminal 4 is 2 kilometers away. Anyway, there is a free shuttle bus (24/7) connecting the different terminal buildings. The Airport, access point for most tourists, has numerous information desks, cafes, restaurants, tax free shops, pharmacies, banks, car hire, Christian chapel, luggage service, parking, etc. Luggage trolleys and strollers are abundant and free for all passengers. For disabled passengers and the elderly, Barajas Airport has started a service with individual support for physical handicap travelers (ask at information desks). The Airport's most important airlines are Iberia and Air Europa which connect numerous European and South American capitals with Madrid. Click here and see the full list of airlines operating in Barajas. M ARRIVING Atocha Railway Station Address: Plaza Emperador Carlos V s/n Telephone Number: (+34) 902240202 Passengers: 88 million passengers per year Services: Elevators, Baggage Room, Cafeteria, Restaurants, Shops, Tourist Information, Parking, ATM Machines, Rent a Car. Public Transportation: Taxi, Metro , Commuter Trains (C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C10). Urban Buses (10,14,19,24, 26,32,37,54,57,102,141). Attention: Airport Express Bus connects Atocha Railway Station directly with Madrid-Barajas Airport in about 40 minutes (5€). Atocha Train Station Address: Calle Agustín de Foxa, s/n Telephone Number: (+34) 902240202 Passengers: 30 million passengers per year Services: Elevators, Baggage Room, Cafeteria, Restaurants, Shops, Tourist Information, Parking, ATM Machines, Rent a Car. Public Transportation: Taxi, Metro ( ), Commuter Trains (C1, C2, C3, C4, C7, C8, C10). Urban Buses (5, T62). Chamartin Train Station TAXI: The cost of a trip from the airport to downtown should never exceed 30€ (Official Fare). Official licensed taxis are white with a red diagonal strip and their official numbers are indicated on the front doors. Airport Express Bus: it connects the Airport with downtown (O'Donnell, Cibeles and Atocha Station) in 40 min (5€). These buses are running 24/7 every 15 minutes, plus special spaces for luggage have been designed making your trip to the Airport more comfortable. Metro: Line  Barajas-Nuevos Ministerios (5€) The ride from Barajas to Nuevos Ministerios takes about 15-20 minutes. Once you get Nuevos Mnisterios, you can take metro lines  and  (lines to reach the historical center) and commuter trains which connect with Puerta del Sol, Atocha Station and Metropolian areas. Commuter Train (C1) The new line (C1) connects the Terminal 4 with Principe Pio Station (2.45 €) every 30 minutes Bus: Lines 200, 204, 101 connect the Airport with Avenida AmericaTransport Hub and Canillejas (1,50€). Getting to the Center
  4. 4. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 4 Madrid and Barcelona are separated by 623 km. After many steps forward and a few back, the Spanish Government and Iberia Airlines realized the need to communicate these two major economic centers to promote tourism and business. In 1974 Iberia launched the "Puente Aéreo” (literally Air Bridge in Spanish) which connects the two cities every 1-2 hours with special rates if returning the same day. The flight takes about an hour and a quarter and it is advisable to purchase your ticket in advance to get better prices (more info www.iberia.es). Currently the options have multiplied thanks to the inauguration of the High Speed Train (AVE) between Madrid and Barcelona (3 hours) but its price is still excessive when compared to the plane. By Bus Traveling by bus is generally cheaper than train or plane, although competition from low cost airlines is becoming fierce due to their aggressive pricing strategies adopted over the past years. Generally Spanish bus companies have modern and comfortable air- conditioned buses that will make your trip more enjoyable than years ago. One advantage of using the bus is that bus companies connect practically all the country with the capital of Spain. There are two bus stations in Madrid: Estación Sur de Autobuses Méndez Álvaro (South Madrid) It is the largest bus station in Spain and one of the busiest bus stations in Europe. Mendez Alvaro was inaugurated in 1997 and serves a large number of domestic destinations (Córdoba, Ávila, Valencia, Granada, Leon, etc.) and international destinations (Lisbon, Paris, Kiev, Bucharest, Marrakesh, etc.). The bus station, integrated with Méndez Álvaro Transport Hub, was designed with all modern comforts a traveler could imagine: extensive docks, cafeteria, kiosks, luggage room, Free Wi-Fi, etc. Unfortunately the station is the working place for tens of pickpockets and thieves who try to cheat and steal absent-minded tourists. Watch your belongings and stay alert. If you need a last minute purchase before the trip, there is a large Department Store (El Corte Ingles and Hipercor) right next to the Station where you can find whatever you need. Avenida America Station This station, organized vertically into different levels, forms part of a huge intermodal transport hub (Avenida America). The upper floors are intended for buses and the lower floors for metro trains. Everything is well connected with escalators and elevators. From Avenida America you can take daily buses to northern Spain, Andalusia (Granada) and Aragon (Zaragoza, Tudela, etc.). By Car There are six motorways connecting Madrid to the north, south, east and west of Spain, following a practical radial pattern. At the same time, the city is surrounded by four regional highways that allow you to reach your destination without passing through the city center (M50, M45, M40 and M30). To drive in Spain you will need the International Driving Permit. If you are a citizen of the European Union, driving license from your country will suffice. Traffic laws in Spain are very restrictive compared to other European countries, besides the police carry out surprise checks quite often. The use of seat belts is mandatory both for front seats and rear seats. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is 300€. Likewise it is forbidden to use your mobile phone while driving. Alicante 421 Km Valencia 352 Km Barcelona 623 Km Bilbao 395 Km Valladolid 352 Km Toledo 71 Km Córdoba 400 Km Seville 538 Km Granada 434 Km Lisbon 710 Km Oporto 600 Km Barajas Airport Connections to Barcelona (BCN) Address: Calle Mendez Alvaro 83 Telephone Number: (+34) 914684200 Website: www.estacionautobusesmadrid.com/ Services: Elevators, Baggage Room, Cafeteria, Restaurants, Shops, Tourist Information, Parking, ATM Machines, Free Wi-Fi, Police. Public Transportation: Taxi, Metro (), Commuter Trains (C1, C5, C7, C10). Urban Buses (8, 102, 113, 148,152). Mendez Alvaro Bus Station Mendez Alvaro Bus Station ARRIVING Address: Avenida America 9 Telephone Number: (+34) 915624468 Services: Elevators, Baggage Room, Cafeteria, Restaurants, Shops, Parking, ATM Machines. Public Transportation: Taxi, Metro (,,,) Urban Buses (12,29,52,72,73,114,115,122,200,C1,C2). Attention! Take bus 52 to get Old Town (30-35 minutes) Avenida America Bus Station M40 Orbital Motorway Distances in kilometres from Madrid Travel Guides by Local Experts www.mundo-guides.com
  5. 5. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 5 Getting Around
  6. 6. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 6 adrid is probably one of the cities with the best public transport network in Europe, which contributes to the development of ample green spaces and extensive parks. Generally public transport is cheap in Spain and Madrid is no an exception, especially compared to other European capitals where it is much more expensive in comparison with the cost of living. Urban Buses Madrid bus service (www.emtmadrid.com) is really complete with over 300 bus lines which run from 06:00 to 23:30. Plus, there are 26 night bus lines departing from Cibeles Square (23:30 to 06:00). The price of a simple ticket bus is 1,50€ and is sold directly by the driver. Try to pay the exact money as bus drivers don´t accept notes for operational reasons. If you plan to take several buses we recommend you to buy a 10-trip ticket (12,20€), which can be used in Metro too. This ticket, called “Bonometro”, is sold through automatic vending machines located in every metro station and is validated when you get on the bus. At the same time there is a new bus-only ticket (10 trips-18,30€) that allows you to change the bus line within 60 minutes, saving up to 25%. Buses don’t stop automatically so put your hand out when you see yours coming. All buses are equipped with wheelchair ramps. Recently the urban buses of the Spanish capital have been equipped with free Wi-Fi, something very useful for foreign tourists. City buses are always a good way to see the city and save some money. To enjoy a short tour you can take the following lines: Line 5 (Puerta del Sol - Chamartin Station) Line 2 (Manuel Becerra - Reina Victoria) Line 27 (Embajadores - Plaza Castilla) Line C1 and C2 (circular route) There is a special bus, Airport Express, which connects the city center and Atocha Train Station with Barajas Airport (5€). These buses are running 24 hours every 15-20 minutes. Metro Madrid can proudly say that its metro network is one of the best in the world. The figures speak for themselves: 12 metro lines, 300 stations, 293km of railways, 1700 escalators and more than 500 elevators. Metro trains run from 6:00am to 1:30am. Despite what many people may think, riding the Metro in Madrid is absolutely secure. Hundreds of cameras and security guards try to ensure the safety of citizens and rarely crimes are committed inside metro stations. Anyway watch your belongings, especially the wallet, luggage, cell phone and camera which are the favorite prey by metro thieves. The cost of a one-way ticket depends on your final destination: up to 5 stations 1,50€, between 5-10 stations you have to add 0,10€ per each station. More than 10 Station 2€. To know the exact amount to pay you have to indicate your destination on the touch screen and the machine will calculate the exact price.If you want to save some money, there is a 10-trip ticket (12,20€). Tickets can be bought at ticket offices (most ticket attendants don't speak English) and through automatic vending machines which accept Credit Cards and are available in several languages (English, French, Italian and German). In major metro stations you will find shops, cafes and bars where you can buy a sandwich or a coffee to go. In some outlying districts there is a tram service (Metro Ligero) which was inaugurated in 2007. Bicycle Despite the inauguration of numerous bike lanes, it is still very difficult to move around the city center by bicycle. One of the major drawbacks is the lack of awareness of citizens. Aggressive driving behaviors of “madrileños” do not help too much. Anyway something is changing in Madrid. With the intention of facilitating the mobility of people, you can go by Metro with your bike during off-peak hours: Monday to Friday (10:00-12:30 and 21:00-01:30) and Weekends (the whole day). Some companies offer bike tours, a great alternative to know the city from a different point of view (www.trixi.com). If you prefer to rent a bike and discovering Madrid by yourself (www.busvision.net). Taxi In Madrid there are 15,500 taxis running 24/7. Official taxis can be identified easily in white color with a red diagonal strip. The official number is indicated on both front doors. Given the large number of taxis, finding a taxi is never a problem in the Spanish capital: there are taxi spots everywhere and you can also hail from street at the same rate. Available taxis have a green light on the top. If the taxi is busy you will see a weak yellow light. Calling a taxi is an option as well, mention to the operator if you want to pay by credit card, as not all taxis have card- reading equipment. Within the city, the driver must always turn on the taximeter and the customer only pays the amount that is shown on the taximeter. Notice that there are some extra charges in the following cases:  Barajas Airport  Train Stations  Bus Stations  Madrid Showground (IFEMA or Congress Palace)  Night Service (from 21:00 to 06:00)  Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays M GETTING AROUND Airport Express Bus Metro Wagon If you take a Taxi at the airport, pay special attention. Some unscrupulous taxi drivers try to overcharge tourists. Never pay more than 30€ (Official Fare) for a ride from the Airport to downtown. If you have any problem, ask for a receipt and don’t forget the official taxi number written on the door. Then you can go to the nearest Police Station and report. If your final destination is near the Airport, some taxi drivers refuse the service. This refusal may lead to an uncomfortable and unpleasant situation. By law, taxi drivers are obliged to accept the service regardless of the distance. Given this situation you can go to the airport Police Station. Never take pirate taxis, their prices are higher and can even be dangerous. Taking a Taxi at the Airport
  7. 7. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 7 MADRID METRO MAP
  8. 8. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 8 Commuter trains (Cercanías) makes life easier for millions of madrileños every day, connecting the metropolitan area with the city center. The commuter rail network has more than 80 stations and 370 km of railways, making it one of the most extensive urban rail networks in Europe. All trains are equipped with the latest traveler information systems: bilingual public address system (Spanish – English), screens showing the route, time and outside temperature, etc. Atocha Train Station, right in the city center, is the real heart that centralizes the whole commuter train network. The 9 commuter lines stop at Atocha Station. These trains are especially interesting for tourists who want to visit places like El Escorial (3.95€) where is located the majestic Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. This monastery was built by King Felipe II in 1584 and is seen by many as one of the eight wonders of the world. Commuter trains also connect Madrid with Aranjuez (3.95€), a small town declared a World Heritage Site where the Spanish Royal family spent long periods, especially during the summer. The line C -1 connects the financial district (Recoletos and Nuevos Ministerios) with Barajas Airport (T - 4) (2.50€). Opening Hours: The first commuter trains start around 05:00 and keep running until 24:00. The frequency of trains depends on each line, approximately 10-15 minutes. There are screens indicating the estimate time of arrival at each station. Where to buy tickets: Tickets can be purchased at every station (ticket vending machines). The commuter rail network is divided into seven areas and the ticket price depends on your destination. Use the vending machines as most of the staff do not speak English. COMMUTER TRAINS USEFUL INFORMATION:
  9. 9. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 9 Basics
  10. 10. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 10 hen someone visits a city for the first time is always important to take into account certain basic information that will help you during your stay. Language Spain's official language is Spanish, also known as “Castellano”. Generally Spaniards don’t have a high level of English so it would be convenient if you could minimally express yourself in Spanish or have a travel dictionary with basic phrases and expressions. Young people often have a level of English a little more acceptable than middle-aged people so it will be easier communicate with them. Spanish is spoken by over 450 million people. However, the language spoken in South America is a bit different from the Spanish spoken in the Iberian Peninsula. In South America the accent is softer and more delicate and they use different words and expressions than in Spain. Despite these minor differences, both can understand each other with no problem. Climate The climate of the Spanish capital can be defined as Mediterranean- Continental, which is characterized by low humidity and wide temperature variation. Winter is cold (average temperature around 5°). Overnight frosts are common and sometimes snow makes appearance, creating traffic chaos in a city famously unprepared for snow. On the contrary, summer is really hot (average temperature 25°) and very dry. On certain occasions temperature can reach 40°, something really unpleasant to those not accustomed to it. Definitely the best season to visit Madrid is autumn and spring. The temperature is quite nice and the streets, parks and bars are full of people enjoying the good weather. Some years are especially rainy during the fall, so we recommend bringing a small umbrella or a raincoat. It is better to be prepared for what may happen. What to take to Madrid During the summer it is advisable to wear light clothing and sandals as the temperature may rise up to 40°. The thermal sensation may be even higher because of the enormous pollution. Winter is cold in Madrid so do not forget your winter gear (gloves, anorak, warm footwear and winter cap). Spring and autumn are mild, but we recommend bringing a jacket or a sweater as the mornings and evenings are cold. Madrid is a great place to shop (recently the city has been awarded as the second best European city for shopping, only surpassed by London). Consider carrying a suitcase with enough space to fill it with your purchases in Madrid. The vast mayority of the hotels offer basic hygene products (shampoo, gel, soap, toothpaste, etc) which is really useful. Attention! Do not forget to photocopy your documentation and plane tickets; it could be very useful in case of theft. Emergency Services & Pharmacies Phone number for all emergency services is 112, as in others European Union countries. Depending on the nature of your problem, you should indicate the department (English spoken): Police, Fire Department or Emergency Medical Service. SAMUR (Servicio de Asistencia Municipal de Urgencia y Rescate) is responsible for responding to medical emergencies with its ambulances and other response vehicles. W BASICS Terrace of a bar in summer La Vaguada Shopping Centre Population: 3.265.038 Local Time: Central European (Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, etc.) Official Language: Spanish Local Currency: EURO (€) Measurement System: Metric System Religion: Secular State. 70% of the population is Catholic. Dialing Code: (+34) 91 Electricity Supply: 220V Emergency Telephone Number: 112 Downtown Police Stations: Comisaría Distrito Centro (Address Calle Leganitos, 19. Tel: 915487985) Policia Municipal Distrito Centro (Address: Calle Montera, 16. Tel:915234594) Comisaría Distrito Retiro (Address: Calle Huertas, 76-78. Tel: 913221027). Taxes: 21% (Shopping) 10% (Hotels & Rest). Tourist Offices: Plaza Mayor 27 (Tel: 915881636) Atocha Station (Tel: 915284630) Plaza Colón (Tel: 913087143) Plaza de Callao (Tel: 915 88 16 36) Barajas Airport (Tel: 915881636). Official Web: www.turismomadrid.es/en/ Madrid Card: Discounts in Sights, Museums, Public Transport etc. More information www.madridcard.com/ Guided Tours: Trapsatur (Address: Calle San Bernardo 7. Tel: 951416321). OgoTours Free Walking Tour, more info visit: (www.ogotours.com). Train Station: Atocha Station (Address: Glorieta de Carlos V. Tel: 902240202) Chamartín Station (Address: Calle Agustín de Foxá s/n Tel: 913231515). Old Town Post Offices: Address: Paseo del Prado 1. Tel: 91523094) / Plaza de Callao 2 (inside Corte Ingés 2 nd Floor) Tips: Not compulsory. Bank Holidays: January 1 st , January 6 th , March 19 th , Maundy Thursday, Good Friday , May 1 st , May 2 nd , August 15 th , October 12 th , November 1 st , December 6 th , December 8 th , December 25 th . Opening Hours: Malls & Departments Stores every day from 10:00 to 22:00. Small shops from 10:00 to 13:30/14:00 and from 16:30 /17:00 to 21:00 (Closed on Sundays). Banking Hours: Monday-Friday from 8:00/08:30 to 14:00. Essential Information
  11. 11. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 11 The ambulance must arrive at the required location within an average of eight minutes. For small medical problems the pharmacist can help without having to visit the doctor. The Pharmacies are open Monday to Saturday during business hours. Pharmacies on duty (“Farmacias de Guardia”) are posted on the door of all the pharmacies. There are several pharmacies in downtown open 24 hours. • Calle Mayor 59 • Calle Goya 89 • Calle Toledo 46 • Calle Atocha 46 • Calle Conde de Peñalver 27 Smoking & Alcohol Spain is a country with zero tolerance for smokers. Since the implementation of the latest anti-smoking law, smoking is prohibited in any public area (Restaurants, Metro Stations, Hotels, Cafes, Hospitals, etc.). The new law created a great controversy in the country among smokers and detractors. Despite that the Government approved the law and decided to apply it firmly. The sale of alcohol is prohibited to persons under 18 years old and is quite common that the shop staff asks for your ID card to verify your age. As a consequence of high alcohol prices in pubs and clubs and the low budget of young people, a new phenomenon (popularly known as “botellón”) was born. Teenagers used to buy drinks and gather in parks and small squares drinking until late at night. The concentration of young people, many of them drunk, annoyed the neighbors and complaints and quarrels were constant. This is the reason why Madrid Government recently has banned drinking alcohol in the streets. Personal Space & Communication Skills In Spain personal space is much smaller than in other European countries, especially in northern and central Europe (Sweden, Germany, England, Austria, etc.): when two people hold a conversation in Spain, the space between them is relatively small. Do not be intimidated by that, in Spain is perfectly normal. At the same time all over southern Europe people speak in a high tone voice and express themselves using their hands even while speaking on the phone. Spain is not a exception to the rule. Usually Spaniards greet in a much more tactile manner than in other countries: men embrace and pat each other on the shoulder and women kiss each other twice on the cheeks to say hello. Pollution Madrid is one of the European capitals with a higher level of air pollution: the high density of cars and dry climate are primarily responsible for this unfortunate phenomenon. During the last years the Government's efforts have intensified (bike lanes, parks, municipal electric vehicles, promotion of public transport, etc.) but it seem insufficient. Pollution levels are so high that from outside the city you can see a dark cloud covering the city, popularly known as "boina" (beret). If you have breathing problems, you can buy a facemask that filters out pollution, especially useful for bicycling. Local Currency The official currency in Spain is EURO (€). The country adopted euro in 2001, together with its European partners. This currency is used in other 15 European countries, which means that more than 300 million people use it every day. In the coming years it is scheduled that others countries will join the Euro Zone such as Bulgaria, Romania or Poland. Previously Spaniards used the local currency, called “peseta” (pts), 1€=166,39 pts. If you talk with some local people, you will realize that many of them long for the return of the “peseta” as the arrival of the EURO meant a general increase in prices. Credit Cards In Spain you won’t need to carry large amounts of cash as there are many Cash Points all around the city and most shops accept credit cards. The most common Credit Cards in Spain are VISA and MasterCard. The major banks give cash through these credit cards. When using your credit card in shops or restaurants employees can ask for your ID card or Passport to verify your identity. On occasions it is necessary to type the secret number. If you have more than one credit card not bring them all together, try to take them separately. Attention! If your Credit Card is stolen it´s necessary to cancel it as soon as possible by calling VISA (900 99 11 24) MasterCard (900 97 12 31) or American Express (902 375637) and report the loss to the nearest Police Station. Call Phones In Madrid you will find telephone boxes throughout the city without any problem. Phone cards can be purchased at newstands and small tobacco shops “Estanco”. You will find different phone cards according to prices, number of minutes, destinations, etc. Another way to make cheap call oversees is to go to a “Locutorio”. These places are very popular among inmigrants as they can make long distance phone calls more affordable than from a phone booth on the street. Plus here you can make calls using Internet and even send money. Calls from your Hotel's room are usually much more expensive than from a public phone. All telephone numbers in Spain have 9 digits (including area codes). ATM Machine Phone Booth BASICS
  12. 12. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 12 If the phone number starts with 9 indicates that it is a landline. If it starts with 6 is a mobile phone. The phone numbers starting with 803, 806 and 807 indicate that they are much more expensive than a common call. Numbers beginning with 800 or 900 are free of charge. The telephone country code for Spain is (+34). There are different international calling rates depending on the destination of your call: European Union, other European countries, North Africa, America and Rest of World. Postal Service The Spanish Postal Service has improved quickly in recent years, matching the Postal Service of other European countries. Post offices are open from 08:00 to 21:00 Monday to Friday, and Saturday from 09:00 to 17:00. From the post offices you can send registered letters, telegrams and postcards. There are also mailboxes through the city which are yellow. The rates for shipping depend on destination: there is a different price for European Union countries, Rest of Europe, America and Rest of World. To send or receive money you should use an urgent Money Order (“Giro Telegrafico urgente” in Spanish). Packages must be properly wrapped and sealed to be sent. The price depends on weight and destination. Opening Hours The opening hours in Spain are really longer compared to other European countries. Generally small businesses open their doors at 9:30/10:00 until 13:30/14:00 when they take a break for lunch. Then they return to work at 16:30/17:00 and stay open until 20:30/21:00. On Saturday afternoon and Sunday the immense majority of small shops close. This Spanish habit is not practiced by large shopping centers which are open Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00 without interruption. With regard to restaurants, they begin lunch service from 13:00 until 15:30/16:00. Dinners are served from 20:30 to 22:30. Many monuments and museums are closed on Monday (staff day off). The vast majority of commercial banks work from 09:00 to 14:00 and close during the evenings, except some banks which open on Thursday afternoon. Mass Media Spain has a long list of TV channels. TVE and La2 are the national public broadcasters. Telemadrid is the public television station in Madrid but unfortunately it suffers record-low audience figures. Besides these channels, there are numerous private TV stations: Antena 3, Telecinco, La Sexta, Neox, FDF, etc. At the same time there are also multiple pay-TV channels which offer sports, Sitcoms, movies, etc. (Fox, Canal Historia, Discovery Channel, Viajar, etc.). Newspapers: El Pais and El Mundo are the two most widely read newspapers in Spain. El Pais, one of the most credible newspapers in Europe, is known for its liberal thought and information rigor. On the contrary El Mundo defends a more classical and less liberal editorial content. As and Marca are the most popular sport newspapers in Spain. Everyday football fans can read rumors and news about the Spanish and European teams. In recent years the city, as many other capitals in Europe, has been inundated by free newspapers which are distributed early in the morning near crowded places. Some of them are 20 Minutos, Qué or Metro. In any press shop, newsstand or hotel you will find the major international newspapers and publications (Financial Times, The New York Times, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Bild, The Economist, etc.). Visa The Schengen Treaty, signed by most member states of the European Union (including Spain), entered into force in 1995. From 1 st January 1995 the Schengen citizens can travel freely without completing any special formalities. However, thanks to special agreements of cooperation, the citizens of the following countries can also visit Spain without a visa (maximum stay three months): Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, USA, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, Norway, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, , Republic of Korea, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, , Uruguay, Venezuela, special administrative regions of the Republic of China ( Hong Kong and Macao). If you are not from any of these countries you will need to apply for a tourist visa through the Spanish Embassy in your country. More information: www.maec.es/en/ Bad Experiences As in any big city, to prevent thefts or bad experiences watch your bags, camera and passport and don’t take much money in cash with you, especially at the Airport and Metro. If you come back late at night to your hotel take an official taxi. At night it´s better to avoid the triangle formed by Gran Via, Puerta del Sol and Callao as during the night is frequented by pickpockets, prostitutes, pimps, drunk people and homeless. If you have been victim of a theft, go to the nearest Police Station. Montera Police Station is the nearest to downtown. Tel: (+34) 915234594 (English speaking). Disabled Travelers Madrid is a city fully adapted for disabled people. Most of the restaurants, hotels, cafes, offices, schools etc. are equipped to make life easier for disabled people. At Plaza Mayor Tourist Office visitors can find maps and other information in Braille. More information on www.esmadrid.com Public transportation also contributes to the integration of disabled people: urban buses have special low floor and there are special seats for elderly and disabled. Most Metro stations have lifts and more than 50% of the stations are fully adapted for wheelchairs. If you need a wheelchair accessible taxi, call to EuroTaxi (24h 915478200/915478500). The city traffic lights emit a sound when they are green to warn people with visual difficulties. The streets are well graded and you will find ramps in almost every corner. If you need to rent or buy a wheelchair during your stay in Madrid, there is a special store for disable people in Old Town where can find almost everything: crutches, orthopedic insole, mobile walkers, etc. Ortopedia Plaza SL Address: Calle Toledo 60 Metro: La Latina BASICS Opening Hours
  13. 13. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 13 During your visit to the city probably you have seen some small kiosks under the name of ONCE: it is a foundation that sells lottery and offer work to disabled people, trying to integrate them into society. If you need assistance during your vacation in Madrid, you can go to the ONCE Head Office: Address: Calle Sebastian Herrera, 15 Tel: 917146300 Metro. Embajadores Madrid Card The Madrid Card allows you to vist this magnificent city efficiently, saving money and time. Buy now your Madrid Card and enjoy great advantages: Free Entrance to all Museums and attractions in Madrid (including Real Madrid Stadium), avoid kilometric queues in Prado Museum or Reina Sofia, enjoy great discounts in shops, restaurants, etc. and use metro and bus with no limitations. Prices: 24h: 45€ 48h: 55€ 72h: 65€ 120h: 75€ These cards are personal and not transferable. Madrid Cards are activated when used for the first time. You can order your Madrid Card online (www.madridcard.com) or you can get it also at any tourist office in Madrid. Tickets Madrid is a huge city with an enviable range of cultural and leisure activities: theaters, photo exhibitions, musicals, museums, concerts, festivals, etc. Many Spanish people from other provinces come to Madrid, especially on weekends, to enjoy the multiple recreational opportunities that Madrid offers. Due to the increasing agglomeration of people and tourists, it can sometimes be really hard to get a cheap ticket: for instance, trying to buy a ticket for a Real Madrid-Barcelona F.C. match can be a daunting task and prices can reach 150€-200€. For this reason we recommend several websites that facilitate the purchase and even allow you to choose the seat: www.ticketmaster.es www.entradas.com At the same time CaixaBank ATM´s offer the possibility of buying tickets for concerts, football matches, theaters, etc. Going to the cinema in Spain is somewhat cheaper compared to other European countries. The average price of a ticket is about 10€ (there are reduced prices on several weekdays, depending on each cinema). Films are premiered on Fridays causing the chaos in Gran Via Avenue. This day Gran Via is filled with photographers, journalists and fans willing to do whatever it takes to get an autograph from their favorite Hollywood stars. You can check the chart on: www.guiadelocio.com The major multiplexes are in large shopping centers located on the outskirts of the city (Xanadú www.madridxanadu.com, Plenilunio www.plenilunio.es, Isla Azul www.islazul.com, and La Vaguada www.enlavaguada.com are some of them). Tickets Theatre in Gran Via Str. Follow us and stay up to date with the latest news, links, tips, events, videos and much more kk Travel Guides by Local Experts www-mundo-guides.com BASICS
  14. 14. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 14 What to Visit
  15. 15. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 15 Madrid's fate changed forever in 1561 when King Felipe II decided to move his court from the Imperial Toledo to Madrid. From that time, the city gained economic and political importance. The Spanish ships sailed the seven seas, the Spanish culture and language spread over five continents and Madrid was considered as one the most influential cities in Europe. Long gone are the days of the Spanish Empire. However, the city has reinvented itself. Today Madrid is a cosmopolitan, open-minded and welcoming city. According to a popular saying "If you spend 24 hours in the city, you can consider yourself forever Madrileño". 4 1 Gran Via Buildings 1 Gran Via Buildings 1 Gran Via Buildings Gran Via Street is , without a doubt, the most famous street in Spain. Its buildings, designed during the first half of the twentieth century, are really amazing. 1 Gran Via Buildings Madrid Highlights 2 Prado Museum Prado Museum is one of the most visited Museums in the World. Visit the Prado Museum and admire works from wonderful artists such as Goya, Rubens, Velazquez, Van Dyck, etc. 3 Puerta del Sol This central square is, for centuries, the place where the Spanish people express themselves. Don´t miss the bear and madrone tree statue, one of the symbols of Madrid. 4 The Royal Palace In the eighteenth century, King Felipe V ordered the construction of this amazing Palace, the biggest one in Western Europe. A must-see in Madrid. 5 Plaza Mayor For centuries, this part of Madrid was the core of the city. Everything happened in Plaza Mayor. Today this square is one of the most visited places by tourists. 6 Retiro Park If you visit Madrid, you cannot miss Retiro Park, probably the most beautiful park in Europe. Formerly, it was a private park for the Royal Family. 1 2 3 4 5 6
  16. 16. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 16 History of Madrid We hardly have data on Madrid in pre-Roman times. Some archaeological remains reveal that the lands surrounding Madrid were inhabited by indigenous tribes (Iberos) who were attracted by the abundance of resources: forests, rivers, animals, etc. The Arrival of the Ancient Romans: In 218 B.C. Romans entered Spain and the Iberian Peninsula became one of the most prosperous regions in Europe. The Romans founded cities so important such as Tarraco (Tarragona), Corduba (Córdoba) or Emerita Augusta (Mérida). However, at this time, the area where now Madrid lies was occupied by grasslands, forests, bears and wild boars. The Foundation of Mayrit: The first historical reference about Madrid dates back to the ninth century. At this time, Muslims founded the city and called it “Mayrit” or “Magerit” which meant "water-rich city" in ancient Arabic. Over the years, Muslims endowed the city with a powerful military infrastructure: they built a defensive fortification (Alcazar), huge walls and numerous watchtowers. The main function of Madrid was to protect Toledo (70km from Madrid) against the Christian attacks coming from the north of Spain. The city was dominated by Muslims until 1085 when the Christian King Alfonso VI conquered Madrid. From this moment on, the Alcazar was used as official Royal Residence when the Kings visited Madrid. Gradually the city was growing and new neighborhoods emerged outside the city walls. Madrid, the new capital of Spain: The destiny of Madrid changed forever in 1561 when King Felipe II declared it Capital of the Spanish Kingdom, one of the largest Empires in history. As of that moment, the city experienced many changes: new neighborhoods were built, land prices skyrocketed and thousands of immigrants from other Spanish provinces came to Madrid seeking new opportunities. What many people don't know, however is that King Felipe III moved the Capital of Spain from Madrid to Valladolid for a short time (1601-1606). King Carlos III, the greatest Madrid Mayor: The eighteenth century saw the construction of large buildings and improvement works thanks to King Carlos III, who is dubbed the “King Mayor” by some historians. Carlos III tried to modernize Madrid and turn the city into a monumental capital. The legacy of Carlos III is quite palpable: the Botanical Garden, Prado Boulevard, Central Post Office (Puerta del Sol Square), Cybele´s Fountain, Alcalá Gate, public lighting, etc. Napoleon and the 19 th Century: In 1807 Napoleon's troops, settled in Spain on the pretext that they wanted to invade Portugal. However the French emperor's plans were different: his real intention was to overthrow the Bourbon dynasty in Spain. Gradually, Napoleon took several Spanish cities. But the tense situation erupted on May 2, 1808. “Madrileños” rebelled and took the streets. The French response was brutal and the General Murat ordered his soldiers to kill hundreds of locals, the War of Spanish Independence had begun. Finally, after 5 years of armed combats, in 1813 the French were defeated and left the country. During the second half of the eighteenth century Spain experienced a severe economic crisis which culminated in the Revolution of 1868 called "La Gloriosa” (The Glorious). Queen Isabel II had to leave the country and the throne was occupied by Amadeo of Savoy. But his reign lasted only three years. In 1873 the King abdicated and the First Republic was proclaimed. Barely one year later, the new Government proved to be a disaster and King Alfonso XII (Bourbon dinasty) turned back to Spain from London. The Spanish Civil War and Franco´s Dictatorship: In 1936 the terrible Spanish Civil War between fascists and republicans broke out. After three years, the war ended with the victory of the fascist side. General Francisco Franco came to power and ruled a dictatorship that lasted more than 40 years. Finally in 1975 Franco died and the new Constitution was approved (1978). A new era of liberty begun for Spain.Madrid King Felipe II (1527-1598)
  17. 17. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 17 Historical Timeline 711: The Arabs invaded and conquered Spain. Ninth Century: Muhammad I founded Madrid and the city was integrated into the Al-Andalus Empire. Tenth Century: The city experienced great prosperity. 1085: The Christian King Alfonso VI conquered Madrid. 1109: The town was completely devastated and destroyed by a Muslim attack. 1309: The first sitting of the Parliament of Castile was held in Madrid. 1391: The Jewish population in Spain suffered a violent attack. Thousands of Jews were killed. 1469: Marriage between Isabel of Castile and Fernando of Aragon. The two Kingdoms were united and Spain was founded. 1478: The Holy Inquisition was founded. 1492: The Catholic Kings issued a decreed which ordered the final expulsion of Jews from Spain / Christopher Columbus reached America. 1521: Ferdinand Magelland and his expedition completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth and reached the shores of Philippines. 1561: Felipe II established the capital of Spain in Madrid. 1584: The construction of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial was finished. 1605: Miguel de Cervantes published Don Quixote de la Mancha, a masterpiece of Spanish literature. 1656: Diego de Velazquez painted “Las Meninas”. Probably the most amazing piece in the Spanish painting. 1701: War of Spanish Succession begins. This conflict involved all European superpowers (Britain, Austria and France) to conquer the Spanish throne. 1734: A fire destroyed the old Alcazar (Royal Palace). 1807-1813: Napoleon entered Spain and the War of Independence against the French armies broke out. 1833-1839: First Carlist War: two contenders (Carlos María Isidro de Borbón and Isabel II) fought to establish their claim to the Spanish throne. 1850: Opening of the Royal Theatre and the Spanish Parliament. 1868: The Revolution (La Gloriosa) led to the dethronement of Queen Isabel II. 1873-1874: The First Republic was proclaimed. 1898: Spain lost Cuba, the last Spanish colony in America. 1910: Inauguration of Gran Vía Street. 1919: Madrid Underground began operating. 1931: The Second Republic was proclaimed. 1936-1939: The Spanish Civil War broke out. 1939-1975: Military Dictatorship (Francisco Franco). 1960: The terrorist group ETA committed its first attack in San Sebastian (Basque Country). 1978: Approval of the new Spanish Constitution. 1981: Failed coup attempt by Antonio Tejero. 1982: Celebration of the Football World Cup in Spain. 1986: Spain joined the European Union. 1992: Olympic Games in Barcelona. 2004: A terrifying terrorist attack took place at Atocha Station and killed 191 people. 2008-2014: The housing bubble bursted and the country entered a deep recession. WHAT TO VISIT Tourist Offices & Guided Tours Thanks to the proliferation of low cost airlines, the endless cultural offerings and the promotion of Local Authorities Madrid has become one of the most visited European capitals, and an ideal place for either business or family holidays. The main entry point for tourists is Barajas Airport, one of the most modern and busiest airports in Europe (50 million passengers per year). French, Italian, German, Japanese and English tourists are the most numerous in Madrid. Therefore you will find information in these languages more easily than others. The wide network of Tourist Offices offer service to all tourists traveling to the capital of Spanish Kingdom. Tourist Offices in Madrid: Plaza Mayor 27 (Tel: 915881636) Atocha Station (Tel: 915284630) Plaza Colón (Tel: 913087143) Plaza de Callao (Tel: 915 88 16 36) Barajas Airport (Tel: 915881636) These tourist offices are full of useful information for visitors: maps, tourist routes, audio-guides, brochures, etc. If you have a disability or you are travelling with a handicapped person, ask for information: the qualified staff will offer you many services and activities tailored to meet the special needs of disabled people. Guided Tours: If you need an official guide, click below: www.madridguias.com/ & www.apit.es/ The Company Gocar offers funny tours in convertible cars equipped with GPS system and audioguides www.gocartours.es/en/madrid/ You can also rent a Segway (www.madsegs.com/) or if you prefer a bike tour (www.trixi.com/madrid). OgoTours offers a great Free Walking Tour (3 hours duration) visiting the main attractions of the city. More info: www.ogotours.com. They also offer a wonderful Gastronomic Tapas Tour where you will discover typical taverns and hundred-year old bars.
  18. 18. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 18 Royal Palace Located in the heart of the city, the Royal Palace is an essential part of Madrid. he Muslim Kingdom of Toledo (ninth century) built in this area a defensive fortress called Alcazar which gave rise to the birth of Madrid. Around the building emerged neighborhoods inhabited mainly by workers of the Alcazar (soldiers, blacksmiths, builders, vets, etc.). After several centuries, the city was conquered by the Christian troops (1085) which occupied the Alcazar and the surrounding area. Over the years, Madrid was turning into an influential city and Felipe II decided to carry out improvement works to transform the Alcazar into The Official Residence of the Spanish Kings (sixteenth century). During this time, the Palace was provided with works of incalculable value (sculptures, paintings, frescoes, etc.) and became a symbol of the Habsburg dynasty. After a horrible fire (1734) Felipe V commissioned architect Giovanni Battista Sacchetti to design a new huge Palace that stunned the world with the power of the Spanish Empire. The works lasted more than 17 years. Unfortunately, when the Palace was finished Felipe V had already died and Carlos III, much loved by locals, was the first monarch to live at the Royal Palace and establish here his Official Residence. The lush and splendid decoration of the interior of the Palace was supervised by Kings Carlos III and Carlos IV. The Royal Palace was the Official Residence of the Spanish Royal Family until 1931 when was proclaimed the Second Republic in Spain and King Alfonso XIII was forced to leave Spain and take refuge in Rome. In 1975 the monarchy was restored in Spain but the Royal Palace was not used as Official Residence anymore. Today the Palace is used to hold official ceremonies and receptions of ambassadors and heads of State. Currently the Official Residence of the Royal Family is the Zarzuela Palace, located far away from downtown and heavily guarded. Visiting the Royal Palace Plaza de Armas This square was designed as the main entrance to the Palace.If you look closely at the façade you can contemplate a beautiful clock and two bells, one of which was saved from the fire of 1734. A charming staircase with 72 marble steps brought from Toledo and beautiful frescos painted by Conrado Giaquinto are waiting for us in the entrance hall of the Palace. Alabarderos Room This room was the place where the Royal Guard met. Don't miss the mythological paintings by Giovanni Battista. Hall of Columns This space was used as a ballroom and Gala dining room until the nineteenth Century. Admire the wonderful decoration and the impressive chandeliers. In this room was signed the accession of Spain to the European Union in 1986. Throne Room The most amazing part of the Throne Room is the beautiful vault painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (allegory of the monarchy). Don´t miss the wonderful baroque decoration: chandeliers, mirrors, walls covered with gold embroidery, crystal stone chandeliers and four great bronze lions brought from Naples to the capital of the Spanish Empire in 1651. Special mention should be made of the incredible Italian lamps of the eighteenth century and the marvelous marble statues. Gasparini´s Rooms The tour continues through the private rooms of King Carlos III, considered the heart of the Palace. These rooms are also known as Gasparini´s Rooms as he was the architect who designed them.  Gasparini Antechamber Here the King Carlos III dined and had private conversations. The walls are decorated with blue silk. There are four splendid paintings by Goya which depict Carlos IV and his wife Maria Luisa of Parma. One of the most wonderful elements of this room is the clock (the most luxurious of the Palace) which was made of mahogany, bronze and porcelain. This clock was T WHAT TO VISIT Address: Calle de Bailén Metro Station: Opera  Prices: General 10€ /Reduced 5€/ Free Admission: From Monday to Thursday from 16:00 to 18:00 (October to March) and from 18:00 to 20:00 (April to September) to citizens of the European Union and Latin American. Opening Hours: April-September: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 to 20:00. October-March: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00. Due to the celebration of official acts, the Royal Palace can suspend tourist visits. The first Wednesday of each month (except July, August and September) from 12:00, visitors can enjoy the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Royal Palace. The performance is composed of a large group of soldiers and horses marching with typical uniforms of the Royal Army. In total 100 horses and 400 soldiers perform the changing of the guard as was done in the nineteenth century. The parade is accompanied by the band of the Royal Army. Absolutely recommended! Approximate Length: 40 minutes. Changing of the Guard Ceremony Useful Information
  19. 19. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 19 designed in 1789 by Jean Demosthenes Dugourc who sent it, dismantled in pieces, from France to Madrid. Once in Madrid, it was installed by expert clockmakers.  Gasparini Room This place was used by Carlos III as dressing room. It is, undoubtedly, one of the most luxurious parts of the Palace. The room is decorated in rococo and oriental style. The beautiful marble floor and the elegant silk tapestry are simply amazing.  Tranvia de Carlos III Room This long and narrow room was formerly the Oratory of Carlos III.  Carlos III Room This room is decorated with beautiful French-style furniture. Usually Carlos III slept in this room when he was in Madrid. On 14th December 1788 Carlos III passed away in this room while he was sleeping. Yellow Room This room is ornamented with yellow silk and houses a fine collection of clocks which are worthy of admiration. Porcelain Room The floor is decorated with colored marble and the walls and ceiling are covered with porcelain plates. The design and decoration was made by three great artists: Jose Gricci, Genaro Boltri and Juan Bautista de la Torre. The porcelain came from the Royal Porcelain Factory of Buen Retiro which was located in the Retiro Park and was destroyed during the War of Independence against France (1808-1813). Do not miss the wonderful nineteenth century planetary clock, really amazing. Dining Gala Hall This room was restructured in 1879 for the wedding of Alfonso XII and Maria Cristina of Hapsburg. The stunning decoration will leave you speechless: stucco, paintings, Chinese vases, Brussels tapestries, silk curtains, etc. Fifteen incredible lamps are suspended from the ceiling. Royal Library It is estimated that the Library of the Royal Palace houses about 300,000 volumes (engravings, maps, manuscripts, books etc.) constituting a true national treasure that should be preserved forever. Pharmacy and Armory After the Palace, we recommend you to visit the Royal Pharmacy, founded by King Felipe II in 1594. Here visitors can see old laboratory bottles, pharmacy tools, etc. On the opposite side of Plaza de Armas we can visit the Royal Armory. If you like weapons this part of the Royal Palace houses one of the most stunning weapon collections in Europe. During the War of Independence (1808-1813) “madrileños” stormed the Royal Armory to stock up with weapons and fight against French troops which were extremely powerful. Sabatini Gardens Earlier this part of the Palace housed the Royal stables for the King´s horses. These stables were designed by the architect Sabatini but in 1930 the Local Government demolished the stables and built these beautiful gardens in a neoclassical style with statues, ponds and fountains. Carlos III was born in Madrid in 1716. From an early age Carlos III knew that one of his most important missions was to recover the Spanish influence in Italy, something vital to consolidate the country as a superpower. In 1737 he married Maria Amalia of Saxony, daughter of the King of Poland. Shortly later, Carlos III inherited the throne of Naples and Sicily. In Italy Carlos III carried out an exciting project and tried to convert Sicily and Naples into two major European capitals. Soon Carlos III won the heart of Neapolitan and Sicilian people: huge palaces were built, numerous public works were developed and the King tried to remove power from the nobles and the Church. In 1759 Carlos III inherited the Kingdom of Spain. During his reign, Carlos III was a faithful ally of France and bitter enemy of England who was trying to dominate the seas. Socially Carlos III sought to modernize Spain under an illustrated program that had as central axis to reduce the power of the Nobility and the Church. He also reinforced the sense of Spain as a nation, designing the flag and the national anthem. In 1788 Carlos III died in Madrid. All historians consider that Carlos III was a great “Mayor” for Madrid as he gave a boost to public works, built huge palaces, beautiful boulevards and nice squares, created the postal service and installed street lights around the city turning Madrid into the true capital of a powerful country. You can see an equestrian statue of this important figure in Puerta del Sol (see the picture). Did you know…? Carlos III created the National Lottery with the intention of collecting taxes and financing the Seven Years War. Carlos III had known this system in Naples where there was a tradition very similar to current lottery. This way Carlos III imported the idea to Spain in order to fill the government coffers. Royal Palace WHAT TO VISIT On December 24, 1734 the Royal Palace was destroyed by a terrific fire. The whole complex was in flames during 4 days in a row and nothing seemed to stop the fire which devoured the building. This fire caused the loss of hundreds of Master Pieces belonging to the Royal Family. Other pieces were saved in extremis like the painting "Las Meninas" (Diego Velazquez) which is exhibited at the Prado Museum. The painting in question was thrown from a window of the Palace. The Royal Family did not suffer any damage as that night they were in the Buen Retiro Palace. The Fire of 1734 King Carlos III and Madrid Carlos III portrait Equestrian Sculpture of Carlos III (Puerta del Sol)
  20. 20. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 20 FREE WALKING TOURS BY LOCALS EVERY DAY AT 10:45 AT PUERTA DEL SOL (GREEN UMBRELLA) Madrid Free Walking Tour, Gastronomic Tapas Tour, Flamenco Tour and much more. #MadridExperience BOOK YOUR TOUR on www.ogotours.com
  21. 21. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 21 Address: Calle Bailen 8 (Visitor Entrance) Metro Station: Opera  Prices: Almudena Cathedral 1€ (voluntary donation) / Crypt 1€ Opening Hours: September–July: from 09:00 to 20:30 / July-August: from 10:00 to 21:00 Crypt: from 10:00 to 20:00 (Monday and Wednesday closed from 14:00 to 17:00). Almudena Cathedral 4th April 1883 King Alfonso XII made initial steps to build the first Cathedral in Madrid. erhaps the Almudena Cathedral is not the kind of cathedral we could expect from an important city such as Madrid. The building is small in size compared to other European cathedrals (London, Milan, Berlin, Paris, etc.) and was austerely designed due in large part to lack of funds. History According to ultra-catholic theories Madrid was not founded by Muslims but by Christians. Some erudites consider that Madrid was a tiny village with a small church (Santa Maria de la Almudena) whose Madonna was revered by all inhabitants. Years later the city was occupied by the Muslims (ninth century) and the church was transformed into a mosque, something very common at that time. But after the Christian reconquest (1085), the mosque was reconverted into a church again. Unfortunately in the nineteenth century the Local Authorities decided to demolish the old church and approved a plan to build a great Neo-Gothic Cathedral which would amaze the world. Sadly the continuous wars, uprisings and lack of funds frustrated this magnificent project. Given this situation, the ecclesiastical authorities decided to build the present Cathedral which was much more simple and less expensive. Works were carried out during decades because of the shortage of public funding and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Finally works could be finished thanks to the contribution of the Government and some private companies in 1993. The Cathedral was consecrated by Pope John Paul II on June 15, 1993 (first church consecrated by John Paul II outside Rome) during a solemn ceremony attended by politicians, ministers, bishops, etc. You can see a statue of Pope John Paul II, much loved in Spain, near the entrance. The Cathedral has two facades: the main façade is located in front of the Royal Palace. The other façade is facing Bailen Street and its gates are open for mass every day. The main façade has three stunning bronze doors, the right one represents the Spanish Monarchy and the left one represents Latin America. Inside the Cathedral we find a frugal Neo-Gothic style where central stage is dominated by a statue of Our Lady of Almudena. The Mysterious Legend of Virgin of Almudena The old church (Santa Maria de la Almudena), built before the Muslim conquest and demolished later, housed a beautiful Madonna worshiped by all “madrileños”. According to legend the Madonna was brought to Madrid by the Apostle Santiago. In the ninth century Muslims began the conquest of Madrid: the locals, really terrified by the ferocity of the Muslim troops, took down the Madonna and buried it near the city walls. This way Muslims could never get hold of the Madonna or damage it. Usually when the Muslims conquered a city destroyed all the churches and shrines and burned religious icons. In the eleventh century the Christians reconquered Madrid (1085) and King Alfonso VI promised to recover the Madonna which had been buried almost two centuries ago. The King invested much effort and money to find this beloved symbol of the city, but nothing seemed to work. Alfonso VI desperately organized a religious procession attended by the Royal Family, the nobility, bishops, priests, army´s senior officials, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (Hero of the Spanish Reconquest and P Cathedral Crypt Pope John Paul II WHAT TO VISIT Useful Information
  22. 22. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 22 popularly known as “El Cid Campeador”) and hundreds of thousands of “madrileños”. When the procession passed by a small storage tank for wheat, suddenly several stones from the city wall fell down and the Madonna appeared along with two candles that had remained lit for more than two centuries. This discovery caused astonishment among all attendees. King Alfonso VI took the Madonna and placed it in the Church of Santa Maria de la Almudena. Unfortunately this religious wood statue was burned during a fire and replaced by an exact copy carved in the sixteenth century. This legend lacks any historical basis. According to experts Madrid was founded by Muslims and there is no evidence of Christians living in this area before the foundation of the city. Crypt Probably the most interesting and less publicized part of the Almudena Cathedral is the crypt which is located just below the building (visitor entrance: Mayor Street). Walking among the tombs, sculptures and columns produces a feeling hard to explain with words. The crypt was designed in Neo-Romanesque style and has 20 wonderful chapels where the aristocracy and bourgeoisie of Madrid were buried after paying large amounts of money to the Church. If you are a curious tourist you can visit the mausoleum of the architects of the Cathedral, Marques de Cubas and Enrique Maria Repulles y Vargas. The stained glass windows designed by Maumejean, deserve special mention, take a look! One of the best works of art inside the crypt is the mural of Our Lady of the Lily, which dates back to the twelfth century. Finally do not miss the impressive columns (more than three meters high), some of them constructed in one piece, truly amazing. Museum of the Cathedral If you're a fan of religious art should visit the Museum of the Cathedral. Here you will find a wonderful collection (distributed in two galleries) of paintings, statues, old clothes, and even a codex dating from 1230 which tells the story of San Isidro (Madrid Patron Saint) and his miracles. Do not miss a small-scale reproduction of the impressive Neo-Gothic Cathedral which could not be built by the lack of financing. At the same time if you buy the ticket (6€) for the Cathedral Museum you can visit the dome. From up here you will enjoy breathtaking views of the historic center of Madrid. Despite the recent corruption scandals committed by some members of the Royal Family, the Spanish monarchy enjoys popular support among its people. Currently, the King of Spain is Juan Carlos I, who was born in Rome, where his parents lived in exile. In 1961 Juan Carlos I married Sofia of Greece, much loved by all Spanish for her demure and discreet style. On 30 January 1968 the couple's first child was born: Felipe de Borbon y Grecia, legitimate heir to the Spanish crown. On 20 November, 1975 Francisco Franco, fascist dictator since 1939, died at La Paz Hospital (Madrid). Two days after Juan Carlos I was proclaimed King of Spain by the Parliament. These years were really turbulent for the consolidation of democracy in Spain and the Monarchy contributed significantly to underpin the new constitution (1978). One of the tensest episodes for the Spanish Monarchy in modern history took place in 1981: Fernando Tejero attempted coup d’état, shocking the country. Over the years Spain gradually developed and the Monarchy was adapted to new times. After several brief relationships, Felipe de Borbon publicly announced his marriage (2003) with a popular journalist called Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano (news presenter on public television). The choice of the young journalist caused a great controversy in the country as the future Queen of Spain did not belong to the nobility. The Monarchy did not listen to the criticism and endorsed the decision of his son. On May 22, 2004 Madrid dressed up to celebrate the most important wedding of the century: the streets and squares were remodeled, buildings were decorated with garlands and the Almudena Cathedral was decked out to welcome the future kings of Spain. Following the Catholic tradition, the culminating point of the ceremony was the presentation of the “arras” (13 silver coins, gold in this case, which symbolize the economic prosperity for the family) and the exchanging of rings (worth 3000€ each one). The wedding was attended by over 1700 guests, including the major Royal Houses of Europe, politicians and powerful businessmen. At 12:45 the cathedral bells tolled, the princes left the church and went to the square where a Rolls Royce Phantom IV (gift from Adolf Hitler to Francisco Franco, who subsequently donated the car to the Spanish Royal House) waited to take them to the Basilica of Atocha. While the princes covered the distance between the Almudena Cathedral and the Basilica of Atocha, an aperitif was offered to guests at the Royal Palace. At 13:30 the princes arrived at the Basilica of Atocha where they made an offering. This basilica is very special for the Bourbon family. At 14:15 the princes came to the Royal Palace and minutes after an impressive feast began: 2000 bottles of top quality olive oil, seven- course menu and 150 kilos of wedding cake were some of the delicacies the guests could enjoy. Main Facade WHAT TO VISIT Crypt Entrance Shield of the Spanish Royal House The Spanish Royal Family and the Almudena Cathedral
  23. 23. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 23 Address: Plaza Mayor Metro Station: Sol  / La Latina  Prices: - Opening Hours: - Plaza Mayor Plaza Mayor has its origin in the thirteenth century when a Central Market was set up here. ery close from Puerta del Sol and Plaza de la Villa is located the Plaza Mayor, a beautiful square replete with balconies, pinnacles and typical slate roofs. These kind of squares, typical from Castillian cities such as Salamanca or Valladolid (Spanish capital for a brief period of time 1601-1606), were once the nerve center of the cities and all activity revolved around them. Plaza Mayor has its origin in the thirteenth century when this area of the city was full of shacks and small streets. At the same time, this humble neighborhood had a main square (Plaza del Arrabal) where a market was installed (Mercado de la Villa). Traders and merchants came here to sell all kind of groceries like meat, fruits, pickled fish etc. Over the centuries, trade activity in this square grew spectacularly and many Jews started their own business here. In 1561 King Felipe II decided to move the capital of Spain from Toledo to Madrid, a decision that changed the fate of the city forever. One of his top priorities as King of Spain was to rejuvenate and renovate this old and dirty area of Madrid: Felipe II commissioned Juan de Herrera, who few years before had designed the wonderful Monastery of Escorial, to reform the old square (Plaza del Arrabal). Unfortunately, in the early seventeenth century the square was in a lamentable state of preservation and Felipe III decided to create a larger square worthy of an important city like Madrid. The architect in charge of designing the new square was Juan Gomez de Mora, a pupil of Juan de Herrera, who was inspired by the drawings of his teacher. Shortly after its inauguration, the square began to be used as a venue for all kind of events such as bullfights, executions of famous prisoners, inquisition hearings or military parades. Throughout its history, Plaza Mayor was burnt down three times (1631, 1670, and 1790) so improvement works were needed again. Before these reconstruction works the buildings surrounding the square were higher than today (five stories). After a controversial debate, the architect Juan de Villanueva decided to design three-story residential buildings with more than 200 balconies as one can see today. Plaza Mayor has nine entranceways: Arco de Cuchilleros (Cutler´s Arch), located in the southwestern corner on the Square, is the most outstanding of them all. Arco de Cuchilleros (1790) leads to Cutler´s Street where all knife shops and small workshops were located. Probably the most beautiful part of the square is the Casa de la Panadería (Bakery House) whose façade has been decorated with wonderful frescoes. This building housed the seat of Baker´s Guild. The statue in the middle of the square commemorates King Felipe III, one of the driving forces behind the construction of the Square. The Statue was placed here by order of Queen Isabel II in 1848. Nowadays Plaza Mayor is a meeting point for “madrileños” and a must-visit place in the city for all visitors. A lot of typical bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, antique shops surround this nice square, creating a very special atmosphere. The small Botoneras Street boasts two of the best places in Madrid (Bar La Ideal and Bar La Campana) to eat a typical squid sandwich, real fast-food for “madrileños”. These sandwiches cost less than 3€ and come with mayonnaise (optional). Locals usually drink a “caña” (draft beer served in a small glass) to accompany these delicious sandwiches. Every Sunday morning there is a small numismatic market where you can find different types of coins from Roman or Arab Times to rare coins. This market is held since 1920. Several weeks before Christmas a great Market, considered the best in Spain, is inaugurated at Plaza Mayor where Christmas gifts, decorations, funny wigs, hats, Christmas trees and joke items can be found in abundance. V WHAT TO VISIT Useful Information This beautiful Palace, 50 meters away from Plaza Mayor, was built between 1629 and 1643. However, over the years, the building was restored several times (1846, 1931, and after the Spanish Civil War due to heavy shelling that struck the city). Fortunately, despite the numerous reforms the building retains its original style: pinnacles, courtyards, slate roofs, brick walls etc. This Palace was used as prison of the Court until the eighteenth century: the cells were full of famous prisoners such as Lope de Vega, General Riego or Espronceda. The Spanish Inquisition used the Palace as well. Those sentenced to death were executed in the nearby Plaza Mayor. Nowadays the Palace houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Address: Plaza de la Provincia 1 Metro: Sol  / Tirso de Molina  Santa Cruz Palace Tip: Do not miss the Visitor Reception Center: here you will find all kinds of information (maps, routes, official guides, brochures, audio-guides etc.). Address: Plaza Mayor 27 (Tel: 915881636)
  24. 24. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 24 Address: Puerta del Sol Metro Station: Sol  Prices: - Opening Hours: - Puerta del Sol Puerta del Sol has witnessed important events in the history of Spain that changed the destiny of the country. n the sixteenth century Puerta del Sol was one of the most used point access to the city: this place was occupied by a huge gate and a castle to protect the city wall (both of them destroyed). Over the centuries the city was growing and expanding and Puerta del Sol became an important place in the common life of “madrileños”. The square also has witnessed important events in the history of Spain that changed the destiny of the country: In 1766 occurred the Mutiny of Esquilache. King Carlos III forbade the use of long coats and traditional hats in Madrid (“chamergo”). Shortly after, the population of the city revolted against this law and Madrid was in chaos for several days. Even the King's life was in danger during the uprising. Puerta del Sol was one of the epicenters of the protests. These protests were only the straw that broke the camel back as behind this situation there was a serious economic and social crisis. In 1808 the Napoleon´s army crushed brutally in Puerta del Sol an uprising against the French occupation. The great Spanish painter Francisco de Goya depicted in one of his most famous paintings ("The Mamlukes") this despicable act of the Egyptian troops of Napoleon. The painting can be admired at the Prado Museum. In 1912 the Prime Minister, Jose Canalejas, was killed in Puerta del Sol by an anarchist while he was watching a window shop. Recently, the square has been the epicenter of the protests against the government during the current financial crisis, bringing together hundreds and thousands of people of all ages. The physiognomy of the square has changed substantially over the years. The last change took place in 2009 with the construction of the new commuter train station. This station is one of the biggest in the world with 28 meters deep, 207 meter long and more than 7500 meters². Today Puerta del Sol is full of icons quickly identified by any “madrileño”. Some of them are: Old Postal Office The building was built in 1768 during the reign of Carlos III. In 1847 the Postal Office was transformed into Government Ministry. In 1866 the clock was added to the building and since then it has become an icon of the city, well known by all Spaniards. During the military dictatorship (1949-1975) the basement of the building was used as jail for political prisoners where gross violations of human rights were committed. Today the building serves as the Government House of Madrid. Kilometer Zero In front of the old Postal Office there is a plaque which symbolizes the kilometer zero. Spain has a radial road design and this plaque marks the geometric center. Bear and Madrone Tree Statue (1967) They are the symbol of the capital and even appear on the City´s shield since 1220. Without any doubt, it´s one of the most photographed places in Spain. Carlos III Statue (1994) In the middle of the square lies a Carlos III Statue, designed by Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Eduardo Zancada. Some experts call Carlos III "The King Mayor" due to the important improvement works he set in motion in Madrid (see page 19). Cafeteria Mallorquina Old-fashioned-style cafeteria & patisserie very well known by all “madrileños”. We can say that this patisserie is a survivor as the whole square, as well as the entire city center, has been conquered by fast-food restaurants, franchises, burgers etc. The cafeteria has two floors. On the ground floor you can buy cakes, sandwiches, coffee, “churros” (cruller), sweets, etc. Upstairs there's a 'quiet zone' with chairs for those who want a more tranquil cafe experience. I Useful Information WHAT TO VISIT Every December 31 “madrileños” come to Puerta del Sol to celebrate the New Year. Maybe you didn´t know but for more than a hundred years, Spanish people have a curious tradition of eating 12 grapes in 12 seconds as the clock marks the final twelve hours of the year. If you gobble down all the grapes you will have good luck during the coming year. The origin of this tradition goes back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. During these years, German and French aristocrats had the habit of eating grapes and drinking champagne during the New Year´s Eve dinner. Shortly after, the Spanish aristocracy copied the habit. But “madrileños” have a great sense of humour and lower-class people ironically began to imitate the aristocrats in eating grapes during New Year´s Eve. Of course, champagne was too expensive for them. At the same time, in 1909 there was a huge surplus of grapes in the eastern provinces of Spain and producers desperately needed to sell them. They saw business opportunity and decided to popularize this recent habit of eating grapes on New Year's Eve. Gradually the habit consolidated in others parts of the country until today. New Year Eve in Madrid
  25. 25. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 25 Gran Via Street Gran Via Street is, with no doubt, the most famous street in Spain. his street is also called "The Spanish Broadway " because of the large number of cinemas, theaters, shops, restaurants, old cafeterias, etc. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Madrid expanded dramatically. Many neighborhoods were demolished and the limits of the city grew as never before. In this context, the Government considered that the city center needed an urban renewal program. Fortunately, in 1904 the project to renovate one of the most central parts of Madrid was approved: a big avenue would cross the heart of downtown like in others important European cities such as Paris or London. At the same time, the avenue would connect Salamanca and Argüelles quarters with Puerta del Sol Square. In addition, the traffic would be easier for everyone and the transfer between Atocha and Principe Pio Railway Stations would be more comfortable and faster. The design of Gran Vía Street created a great controversy in Madrid as it demanded expropriating and demolishing entire blocks. Shortly after the inauguration of Gran Via Street (1910), Telefónica Building was built becoming the highest skyscraper in Europe. This wide and modern avenue was planned in three different phases: 1910-1917: from Alcala Street to Montera Street (Red de San Luis). 1922-1925: from Red de San Luis to Callao Square. These first two phases are the result of a prolonged economic boom experienced by the city in early twentieth century: buildings are really beautiful and renowned American architects were hired. 1925-1955: from Callao to Plaza España. Spain's economic problems are reflected in this part of Gran Via Street. Post-war and the military dictatorship wreaked havoc and strangled the Spanish economy: buildings lack of aesthetic quality compared with other buildings located at the beginning of the avenue. Gran Via Street boasts some of most amazing and spectacular buildings in Spain. Let´s quickly review some of them! Metropolis Building (Alcala Street 39) When we all think of Madrid suddenly this building come to our mind. Metropolis Building (1911) is located between Alcala and Gran Via streets and was designed by Jules Raymond Fevrier, born in France, for the insurance company La Unión y el Fénix. Currently the building is owned by Metrópolis Seguros. The building reflects the origin of its architect, especially the circular tower very popular in Paris during the early twentieth century. The statue that crowns the building represents the goddess Victoria. Originally there was a statue of the Phoenix but the company that owned the building took it with them when they sold the building to Metrópolis Seguros. In 1996 important works was carried out. The entire facade was restored, specially the sculptures which were heavily damaged by environmental pollution and pigeons. Grassy Building (Gran Via Street 1) This elegant building was designed by Eladio Laredo (1917). The beautiful tower with columns is similar to the nearby Metropolis Building. Since the fifties, the building is named Grassy for the luxury jewelry store, specialized in watches, located in the premises. This jewelry has a small museum where you can admire beautiful clocks from the sixteenth to nineteenth century. Museo Chicote (Gran Via Street 12) Museo Chicote was one of the first bars to serve cocktails in Madrid. This bar, opened in 1932, was frequented by famous artists like Salvador Dali, Frank Sinatra, Orson Welles and Ava Gardner. In 2004 Museo Chicote received the "MTV- Campari Recommneds" award as the best bar in Europe. Casino Militar (Gran Via Street 13) This beautiful building houses an Association to support the military personnel: military exhibitions, lectures, a hairdresser for soldiers, gym, massage room, etc. Real Oratorio del Caballero de Gracia (Gran Via Street 17) The remote origin of this building dates back to the seventeenth century. However, soon afterwards, the building had to be seriously reformed by Juan de Villanueva due to its poor state of preservation (eighteenth century). The particular facade of the building (1916) was modified when the Government began to build Gran Via Street. The last major reform was carried out in the late twentieth century T Gran Via Street 16 Address: Calle Gran Via Metro: Gran Via  / Callao  / Santo Domingo  Prices: - Opening Hours: - Useful Information WHAT TO VISIT
  26. 26. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 26 ,when Javier Feduchi Benlliure designed the triumphal arch that today dominates the facade and helps to create a sense of movement. Thanks to the arch we can admire the apse and the Church dome. The entrance facade (1831) is facing South (Caballero de Gracia Street) and was designed in a neo-classical style. Inside the temple were painted dome frescoes by Zacarias Gonzalez Velazquez. Banco Central Building (Gran Via Street 18) During the first decades of the twentieth century Madrid lived an economic boom and began to receive tourists. In view of this demand, the first hotels in Madrid were designed. Thus, in 1943 the Roma Hotel was built. Later, in the mid-twentieth century Banco Iberico bought the building and transformed it into its head office. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) Spain and especially Madrid suffered a terrible setback. The country was engaged in a fratricidal war while industrial activity was paralyzed. The international community, stunned, followed the course of the war that would lead to the implantation of a military dictatorship until 1975. During these war years Gran Via Street was viciously bombed by the Fascists and traders tried to protect their businesses along the length of the avenue: facades were all bricked up and barricades were placed in the middle of the street. Telefonica Building was used as a watchtower. On Callao Square was located the Hotel Florida (currently El Corte Ingles Department Store), where the international press covered the grotesque war. Hewingway was one of these correspondents. The great American writer and journalist reported that he could even hear the bullets, grenades and machine-gun fire from his room. In fact the Hotel received some impact during the war. Old Hotel Metropolitano (Gran Via Street 23) The building was designed by Vicente Agustí Elguero and José Espelius in 1918. Formerly this building housed luxury apartments and the Metropolitan Hotel. In the past, the commercial premise was occupied by the wonderful jewelry Alexandre, the most luxury and renowned in Madrid. Unfortunately in the eighties of the twentieth century, the jewelry was sold to the American fast food franchise McDonald´s. The opening of this restaurant, one of the first McDonald´s in Spain, was a social event in the city. By law, McDonald´s had to preserve the original facade and some interior elements. Casa Matesanz (Gran Via Street 27) It was one the first commercial building in Madrid (1923). The structure of the building is inspired by the American School of Chicago. Telefonica Building (Gran Vía Street 28) Telefonica Building was the first skyscraper in Europe (1929). The pomp and majesty of the building is a reminder of New York; in fact, the building was co- designed by the North American architect Louis S. Weeks. Perhaps, the most attractive part of the building is its central tower, 81 meters high. The scant exterior decoration was added later by Ignacio Cardenas. In the lower floors there are exhibition halls and even a museum dedicated to the evolution of telecommunications (including the first phone in Spain, used by King Alfonso XIII). Old Zahara Cafe (Gran Via Street 31) In the decade of the twenties bars and cafes of North American style began to become popular, one of them was Zahara Cafe. Now lost in time, Zahara Cafe was very popular in Madrid: many people still remember the coffee with “churros”, delicious snacks or combo plates that businessmen ate quickly before returning to the office. Unfortunately due to disagreements with the owner of the premises, the cafeteria was closed and currently it belongs to a fashion franchise. This is our tribute to a place much loved by “madrileños”. Madrid-Paris Building (Gran Via Street 32) In 1924 was inaugurated this impressive Shopping Center, one of the first in Europe, by the Company Madrid-Paris (owned by the French Société Paris-France which already was running other Shopping Centre in Paris). Shortly after the opening, the owners had to make major changes since the Shopping Centre was not getting the expected results: many staff, inadequate goods, etc. Finally the problems of the Spanish economy wreaked havoc on the company and the Shopping Center was sold to different companies (1934). Hotel Tryp Cibeles (Gran Via Street 34) In 1924 José Yarnoz Larrosa and Antonio Palacios designed the Hotel Alfonso XIII, a real symbol of the capital in the early decades of the twentieth century. Later it was bought by Melia Hoteles, one of the leading Spanish hotel chains, and changed its name to Hotel Tryp Cibeles. Palacio de la Música (Gran Via Street 35) Classical style building constructed between 1926 and 1929. The building was designed to house a concert hall, a movie theater and even a nightclub. Due to technical difficulties the initial project suffered substantial modifications. Shortly after being inaugurated a terrible fire destroyed much of the building, including a beautiful organ. Inside there is an impressive movie theater and an auditorium with capacity for more than two thousand people, one of the largest in Europe. Carrion Building (Callao Square) Carrion Building (1933) is famous throughout the capital for the lighted sign of Schweppes, a popular beverage brand. The building is a magnificent example of art deco in Spain. Callao Square has become one of the busiest places in Spain. During 2013, it is estimated that approximately 110 million people passed by here. WHAT TO VISIT Tip: Try to avoid this Avenue and parallel streets at night. When stores, cinemas, theaters and restaurants close the avenue begins to fill with undesirable characters as prostitutes, pimps, Chinese mobile food vendors, pushers, etc. Despite the installation of security cameras and heavy police presence the Authorities don´t get rid of these nocturnal visitors that are having an adverse effect on one of the main streets of Madrid. Spanish submarine in Cartagena (Spain) The Spanish Civil War and Gran Via Street Gran Via Street 38 Carrión Building (Callao Square)
  27. 27. Madrid Express www.mundo-guides.com Page 27 Cybele´s Square This unique square, designed by King Carlos III, is one of the main arteries in the city center. his place in Madrid seems to never take a rest, remaining active for twenty-four hours a day. Hundreds of thousands of people, including tourists, businessmen and bureaucrats, crowd the sidewalks, contributing to create a vibrant atmosphere hard to find in any other Spanish city. During the night Cybele´s Square is the point from where all night buses depart, popularly known as “buhos” (owls). The beautiful square is dominated by an amazing building (Palace of Communications), designed in the early twentieth century, which has become one of the most photographed places by the thousands of tourists who throng the city. In the middle of the square, like an island surrounded by asphalt and cars, is located one of the icons of the capital: Cybele´s Fountain, much beloved by Real Madrid fans. Two other buildings that will capture your attention are the Bank of Spain and the Linares Palace. Palace of Communications This imposing building, located on one side of Cybele´s Square, was built between 1905-1917 by architects Antonio Palacios and Joaquin Otamendi for the Posts and Telegraphs Society of Spain. This building, more than 70 meters high, reflects the impulse that the Spanish capital received by Authorities in the early twentieth century to become Madrid an important and major European city. Unfortunately the bloody Spanish Civil War (1936- 1939) ended the hopes of an entire country that was beginning to emerge from a dark period. From the architectural point of view, we can admire various influences in this building: Gothic, French Modernism, American School and Spanish School. The wonderful central hall was surrounded by small windows for postal employees and was beautifully decorated with bronze stands where people wrote their letters. Outside we can still see the brass mailboxes with the names of the different Spanish provinces. Nowadays the building has a double function: City Hall and Cultural Center. On the first floor there is a nice Cafeteria (Coleccion Cibeles). Despite its privileged location, the prices are quite affordable, considering that we are in one of the most touristic places in the city (1.5€ for a coffee or 6€ for a full breakfast). The sixth floor is occupied by an elegant restaurant where we will enjoy wonderful views of Gran Via Street, the most famous street in Spain. But if you are looking for a unique view, keep going up! On the eighth floor was designed a viewpoint from where you will have majestic views of the entire downtown: Gran Via Street, Cybele´s Square, Metropolis Building, Paseo de la Castellana and even Colon Towers. An opportunity you cannot miss for anything in the world. Cybele´s Fountain Cybele´s Fountain is today one of symbols of the city and one of the most beloved monuments by “madrileños”. The construction of this fountain was part of the project of King Carlos III to modernize and renovate the Paseo del Prado. In addition to Cybele´s Fountain, the design of the new boulevard included other two fountains: Neptune Fountain and Apollo Fountain, both of them preserved in perfect condition. This neoclassical fountain was built in 1782 by sculptor Francisco Gutierrez and Robert Michel and represents the Greco-Roman Goddess Cybele in a chariot drawn by lions. In the past, the fountain had two water pipes: one of them was intended for government employees who took water buckets from the fountain to the nearby houses. The other pipe helped passers-by quench the thirst. A popular legend in Madrid said that the water from Cybele´s Fountain had beneficial effects on health. The mask that throws water out in the front part of the chariot represents Attis who was turned into a tree by the goddess Cybele. Before, the fountain was located in front of Buenavista Palace, barely 50 meters away from its present location. In 1895 the fountain was moved to its current location, causing much controversy in the city: the reasons behind this decision gave T Address: Plaza de Cibeles Metro: Banco de España  Prices: - Opening Hours: - Useful Information Viewpoint Opening Hours: from 10:30 to 14:00 & from 16:00 to 19:00 (Monday Closed) Prices: General 2€ / Children under 12 years: 0,50€ WHAT TO VISIT Cybele´s Fountain