Madrid, a cosmopolitan city with an immense cultural and artistic heritage with centuries of fascinating history.
Madrid, is the capital of Spain, a cosmopolitan city that combines the most modern infrastructures and the status of economic, financial, administrative and service center with an immense cultural and artistic heritage, a legacy of centuries of fascinating history.
Strategically located in the geographic center of the Iberian peninsula, 646 meters above sea level, Madrid has one of the most important historical centers between major European cities, and blends harmoniously with modern and comfortable facilities, one full range of accommodation services and the latest audiovisual technology and communication. Conditions that along with the push of a dynamic and open society, but also cheerful and welcoming, has turned this metropolis into one of the great capitals of the Western world.
Art and culture are high on the agenda of Madrid. The capital has over 60 museums that cover all human knowledge. Highlights include the Museo del Prado, one of the most important museums worldwide; the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum with more than 800 paintings ranging from the Flemish primitives to avant-garde movements. And Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, dedicated to contemporary Spanish art, with works by Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí and Juan Gris, among others.
Extensive and well-kept parks and gardens such as the Retiro Park, ancient place of recreation of the Spanish kings, Casa de Campo, Parque Juan Carlos I, let sunshine, walking, rowing in their ponds or feed the squirrels in one of the greenest capitals in Europe. While the importance of its international airport, where over a thousand flights from around the world, two conference centers, modern Fairgrounds Campo de las Naciones, and squares reach over 80,000 weekly meetings in other centers make Madrid in one of the most attractive business centers in Europe.
If anything characterizes Madrid is a deep, contagious passion for life reflected in the friendly character of its people. Concerts, exhibitions, ballets, select theater productions, the latest film releases, sample a wide variety of the best Spanish and international cuisine or be enchanted by its bars and taverns are some of the leisure activities of Madrid and shopping in traditional stores or the leading establishments of the first international brands.
The lively nightlife of Madrid is also a major attraction of the capital by the variety and good atmosphere of its bars, pubs, discos and flamenco shows, which can be alternated during the day with the traditional festivals, popular festivals or the fair San Isidro bullfighting, considered the most important in the world.
An attractive blend of tradition and modernity, Madrid has a varied artistic range, influenced by the different styles that have left their mark over the centuries. From the remains of the old Arab wall, to small Gothic churches until the early Renaissance works, Madrid reflected in its rich and varied artistic works development. Madrid owes its name to the Arabic Magerit (“mother of waters”), with the fortress on the banks of the Manzanares River, built by the Umayyad Cordoba, Muhammad (823-886) was baptized. Although the city grew under Arab rule for two hundred years, this presence only a few remnants of wall and later converted into a bell tower remain. The arrival of the Austrias, from the sixteenth century and at its height in the seventeenth century marks the beginning of monumentality that has one of the most renowned areas in the capital called Madrid de los Austrias, which highlights in addition to the Plaza Mayor, many corners, churches and convents, full of flavor and art.
The eighteenth century left its Neoclassical mark on the splendid Royal Palace, Sabatini Gardens, Campo del Moro, located in the center of the capital. The Church of San Francisco El Grande, sources of Paseo del Prado, Toledo Bridge, the Prado and the Puerta de Alcalá, are also splendid examples of this style.
The most modern and avant-garde Madrid is found in areas of expansion in two main areas, the Gran Vía and Paseo de La Castellana. La Gran Vía, which began in the early twentieth century and is now shopping center, entertainment and hotels. In the Paseo de La Castellana, which crosses the city from north to south, are some of the most elegant hotels in the capital, with companies that have located their headquarters in modern and avant-garde buildings. As important architectural legacy received Madrid, undoubtedly his great artistic value is in the galleries.
Three museums, located very close to each other, shaped the already known as Paseo del Arte. They are the Museo del Prado, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The Museo del Prado is considered by many experts as the first art gallery in the world, since it has the most important collection of the XVI, XVII and XVIII centuries, with the best works of the Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools. In the Prado works of artists like Bosch, Rubens, Goya, Velázquez, Murillo, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Watteau, Tintorretto, El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán and others more that can be seen together with a magnificent collection of classical sculpture. The Prado Museum offers private guided tours for groups outside the opening hours to the public, who will this unforgettable encounter with art.
The Museo Thyssen Bornemisza houses a private collection, definitely assigned to the capital in 1993, which is rated as the most important being a very representative sample of an extended period, as it hosts from early works of painting of the thirteenth century to the avant-garde the twentieth century. Dürer, Tintoretto, Degas, Kandinsky, Goya, Cezanne, Matisse, Dalí, Miró, Picasso and Renoir are some of the artists who are part of this collection.
Finish the Art Walk at the National Centre de Arte Reina Sofía Museum, famous for hosting the Guernica by Picasso and his collection of mainly Spanish contemporary painting.
Madrid also has a set of palaces and monuments are one of the most important assets of Western history, is composed of the Royal Palace, the Pantheon of Illustrious Men, the Monastery of the Barefoot Royals, Royal Monastery of the Incarnation, the El Pardo, the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, the Real Monasterio de El Escorial, the Casita del Príncipe de El Escorial, the Casita del Infante de El Escorial and the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Cruz Valley of the Fallen.
A convenient and easy way to know the cultural offer that owns the capital of Spain is using the Madrid Card. Includes entrance to emblematic monuments and over 40 museums in the city and surrounding area. You can buy them at the tourist offices or via the Internet, on page www.madridcard.com