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Madrid is the capital city of Spain, and Madrid province. It stands on the Manzanares River in the centre of the country. Madrid has almost 3.3 million inhabitants (approximately 6.5 million in the metropolitan area), making it Spain’s most populous city.
The main purpose of this webpage is to show some photos taken during a visit to the city in the 2000’s.

Madrid was founded in the 9th century and was taken from the Arabs in 932 by Ramiro II of Léon. In 1083, it was captured by Alfonso VI and then later on, in 1561, Philip II made Madrid his official residence and the capital of Spain. During the Peninsular war (1808-14), the French occupied the city. Madrid remained loyal to the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), and suffered several air attacks; the city’s eventual surrender in March 1939 effectively ended the war. Main industries in Madrid have historically included brewing, wine production, jewellery, leather goods, plastics, publishing, film production, optical instruments, electrical appliances, and telecommunications equipment.

Throughout Madrid may be seen a large variety of architectural styles – the result of different periods of change and development throughout its history. In the vicinity of the imposing Plaza Mayor may be found a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways around a few squares, forming the old centre, whist elsewhere may be seen grand Neoclassical buildings and boulevards created by the finest architects of their day. Added to this, modern office buildings in the centre and suburban housing blocks reflect the city’s economic development in its more recent history. Much of the city appears to lack space and particularly in the older part, a little confusing to navigate. When the city became the capital of Spain, the king asked the city’s inhabitants to let a floor of their houses to ambassadors and visiting dignitaries; this caused many people to build houses either with just one floor, or with a façade that hid the presence of a second floor. Development of the city, including the need for public buildings, meant land was in great demand. The old city walls were eventually demolished by 1860. Today, the city has a number of spacious public squares with the Plaza de España being one of the more well-known, offering a good cluster of restaurants, cafés, bars, shops and places to stay. Other areas of the city worth visiting include the Puerta del Sol to the south (the centre of the radial network of roads in Spain, and known for its clock that marks the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of the New Year) and the central Plaza Mayor, which offers a selection of Tapas bars and coffee shops. Each barrio (quarter) of the city has developed its own style. Known as “Los Madriles”, or “the Madrids” in English. The barrios altos (upper quarters), barrios centrales (middle quarters), and barrios bajos (lower quarters) are not only geographically distinct, but have historically had differences in social class. Despite several plans for urban development, the city did not spread out into the surrounding open spaces and it wasn’t until 1948 it spread over the other side if the Manzanares River. Despite all of his, Madrid has some extensive parks, some of which are former hunting areas. Madrid's popular Metro rapid transport system is simple to use and makes travelling around much of the city a lot easier.
Photos taken during visits here in the 2000’s are shown below, followed by a brief description of some of the city’s main sights:

Some of the main sights throughout the city include the following:

① Palacio Real (the Royal Palace, 1739-64, once the former residence of Spain’s Bourbon rulers and now a museum) [Photos 10-18, above]
② La Almudena (Madrid’s Cathedral is located right next to the Royal Palace. It was built during the 19th and 20th centuries and is one of the most beautiful churches in the city.) [Photos 7&9, above]
③ Museo Nacional del Prado (or “The Prado Museum”, one of the world’s most famous galleries. Based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, it is the country’s main national art museum and widely regarded as having one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century, as well as the single best collection of Spanish art.) [Photos 20-22, above]
④ Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Reina Sofia is Spain's national museum of 20th-century art. Perhaps its main draw to the many visitors here is Picasso’s world-famous Guernica.)
⑤ Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (this museum, sometimes simply called “the Thyssen”, attracts some three-quarters of a million visitors every year. It fills the historical gaps in its counterparts' collections - in the case of The Prado Museum, this includes Italian primitives and works from the English, Dutch and German schools and in the case of the Reina Sofia, it is concerned with Impressionists, Expressionists, and 20th century western paintings.)
⑥ Museo Arqueológico Nacional (the national archaeological museum and home to over 300,000 artworks and artefacts)
⑦ Plaza Mayor (a majestic square now lined with shops and long-time focal point of the city) [Photos 2-4, above]
⑧ El Rastro (over 400 years old, Madrid’s famous flea Market)
⑨ Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales (a 16th century royal convent founded for the daughters of the aristocracy, whose wealthy families donated many fine works of art)
⑩ Parque del Retiro (a picturesque park in the heart of the city which was once the preserve of royalty)
⑪ The University of Madrid (1499)
⑫ The National Library of Spain (Biblioteca Nacional - situated in a grand neoclassical building, it is one of the largest libraries in the world. Inside it are housed some 26 million items including 15 million books and other printed materials. Although access is restricted, the National Library Museum provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the history of books)

Although not shown in the photographs on this webpage, perhaps also worth mentioning here is The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (El Escorial or Monasterio y Sitio de El Escorial en Madrid in Spanish). It is situated about 28 miles (45km) northwest of Madrid. Here, a palace, basilica and monastery complex was built in the late 16th century by Philip II (Felipe II). A popular excursion from Madrid, the historical residence of the King of Spain is set against a scenic backdrop of the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains.

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