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Madridissa on myönnetty kaupoille ja tavarataloille oikeus pitää ovet auki 365 päivänä vuodessa 24h. Madrid laskee, että näin luodaan 20.500 uutta työpaikkaa. Kaupungissa käy vuosittain 10.000.000 turistia.
Madridissa on mahtavia palatseja, korkeita koristeellisia kerrostaloja, vehreitä puistoja ja niissä lukematon määrä muistomerkkejä ja monikaistaisia vilkkaasti liikennöityjä katuja. Pääkatu Gran Via de Madrid täytti 100 vuotta.
Madridin keskusta on täynnä mahtavia rakennuksia, jotka muissa kaupungeissa olisivat jo suuria nähtävyyksiä.
Madridin katukuva on kirjava: liikemiehiä puvuissaan ja solmio kaulassa, lenkkeilijöitä, katutaiteilijoita, tyylikkäitä nuoria, kerjäläisiä, taskuvarkaita ja vanhoja herroja terassikahviloissa.
Kaupunkiin tutustuminen kannattaa aloittaa samaan tapaan kuin Málagassa, nousemalla kaksikerroksiseen, punaiseen turistibussiin. Madridissa bussireittejä on kolme ja samalla lipulla voi sukkuloida 24h aivan kuten itse haluaa, poistua missä tahansa ja jatkaa taas matkaa.
Madridin museot, El Prado, mikä on tärkein, Thyssen-Bornemisza, mikä toimii Villahermosan palatsissa ja avattiin 1992 ja Reina Sofia ovat koko Espanjan johtotähtiä turistikohteina. Museot sijaitsevat kävelymatkan päässä toisistaan.
175 vuotta täyttäneen El Pradon laajennus käsitti 17 000 neliömetriä. El Prado pitää sisällään 8000 taideteosta, 1100-1800-lukujen eurooppalaista taidetta.
Thyssen-Bornemiszan taidemuseoon osti Espanjan valtio 350 miljoonalla dollarilla maailman tärkeimmän yksityisen taidekokoelman, edesmenneen Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemiszan taidekokoelman. Vuonna 1992 avatussa museossa on enimmäkseen ekspressionistisia maalauksia. Kokoelmissa on Picassoa, Titiania, Goyaa ja Rubensia.
Reina Sofian kansallismuseossa on nähtävillä Salvador Dalin ja Pablo Picasson teoksia, Picasson Guernicaa.
Seuraavaksi kannattaa suunnata arvostettuun kansalliseen arkeologiseen museoon Museo Arquelógico Nacionaliin ja palatsimaisessa kartanossa sijaitsevaan Museo Cerralboon. Nämä museot vievät Madridin matkasta vähintään kolme päivää. Mutta Madrid tarjoaa kulttuurista koko värisuoran, oopperaa, teatteria, balettia, teatteria ja elokuvaa.
Kuninkaanlinnaan tutustumiseen kannattaa myös varata aikaa. Palatsin tärkeimpiä nähtävyyksiä ovat ruokasali, posliini-, Gasparini- ja valtaistuinhuoneet. Kuninkaanlinnassa on 2000 huonetta. Linnan alapuolella olevasta puistosta, Sabatini, käsin saa hyvän kuvan Kuninkaanlinnan koosta. Lähin metroasema on Ópera.
Almudenan katedraali sijaitseee Kuninkaanlinnan vieressä. Katedraalin rakentaminen aloitettiin vuonna 1879 ja se valmistui vuonna 1993. Arkkitehtuurissaan katedraali yhdistää uusklassismia ja goottilaisuutta.
Plaza Mayor-aukio on 400 vuotta vanha. Aukion rakennutti Espanjan ja Portugalin (Portugalissa nimellä Felipe II) kuningas Felipe III, kuninkaana 13.9.1598 alkaen kuolemaansa 31.3.1621 saakka. Kuninkaan patsas on keskellä aukiota. Aukiolla on järjestetty härkätaisteluja, teloituksia, inkvisitioita, kuninkaiden juhlia ja kansanjuhlia.
Madrid on vihreä kaupunki. Retiro-puisto on kaupunkilaisten suosima. Puistossa olevalla lammella voi jopa soudella. Puistossa on Alfonso XII:n muistomerkki.
Madridin metro on oiva kulkuväline, helppo, nopea ja halpa. Metro vie esimerkiksi Real Madridin stadionille, Santiago Bernabeu, mikä on päivittäin auki jalkapallofaneille. Stadion avattiin vuonna 1947 ja sinne mahtuu 80.000 katsojaa. Metroaseman nimi on Santiago Bernabeu. Metro vie myös maailman kuuluisimmalle härkätaisteluareenalle, Plaza de toros de Las Ventas. Metroaseman nimi on Las Ventas.
19.12.2010 alkaen, 11 vuotta kestäneiden ratatöiden jälkeen liikennöi erikoispikajuna, AVE, välillä Madrid-Valencia. Matka taittuu ajassa 1 tuntia 30 minuuttia junalla, jonka huippunopeus on 350 km tunnissa. Vertailun vuoksi todettakoon, että "vanhanaikainen" junayhteys Valenciaan kesti 3 tuntia 20 minuuttia. AVEn myötä tuskin kannattaa ajatella lentämistä tällä välillä, ei myöskään välillä Málaga-Madrid. Uusi rataosuus nosti Espanjan Euroopan ykköseksi nopeiden junien rataverkon kilometrimäärässä, 2.675 km.
Madridin juna-aseman, Atochan päähalli muistuttaa enemmän upeaa trooppista puutarhaa kuin rautatieasemaa.
Madridin gastronomian johtotähti on Carne de Guadarrama.
Madridissa, pääkaupungissa asuu 3,3 miljoonaa asukasta, joista 15% on ulkolaisia. Koko Madridin maakunnassa on asukkaita 6,4 miljoonaa. Kaupungin herroilla on käytössään 160 mustaa autoa, kun Barcelonassa autoja on vain 23 (v. 2010).
Madridin kaupunginjohtaja on Ana Botella, entisen pääministerin José María Aznar (PP) puoliso.
Upporikkaat asuvat Madridin länsipuolella kaupunginosassa La Finca. Kalleimmat talot maksoivat 30.000.000€ ja yhtiövastike voi nousta 1.200 euroon. Siellä asuvat mm. Ronaldo, Mourinho, Carlos Sainz, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem ja Alejandro Sanz. Alueelle ei pääse asumaan pelkästäán rahalla, vaan ostajan on läpäistävä pääsykoe ja saatava puolto nykyasukkailta. Puolet Real Madridin pelaajista asuu alueella.
It wasn´t until the Muslim period, around the 8th century, that Madrid took on a more important role. Until then, both the Romans and the Visigoths had only passed through, given Madrid´s position as a crossrouds for major routes to Merida, Zaragoza and Cordoba.
The settlement adopted the name of Matrice due to the small brooks and streams that flowed into the River Manzanares, a name that the Arabs would eventually adapt to the name of Magerit. In Muslim times Madrid was a true fortress defending Toledo from possible attacks by the Christians.
After its conquest by Alfonso VI in the 11th century Madrid became a Christian city and Moors, Jews and Christians lived there together.
Madrid has always been closely linked to royalty. Firstly through the Habsburg Dynasty and later on thrugh the House of Bourbon.
Kings and queens chose the city as a place of rest, where they could practice their favourite pastime of hunting to their hearts´ delight. Then, under the reign of Philip II it was designated the permanent home of the Court, to the detriment of Toledo, which had until then been the centre of political and social life, but did not become the definite capital of the kingdom until 1606.
The city´s golden age arrived in the 18th century thanks to Charles III, the fourth of the Bourbon kings to rule Spain. Under him streets, squares and avenues were renovated. Public lighting, the sewer system and pavements, among others were established. Paper money was created and Madrid´s great monuments - The Puerta de Alcalá, Royal Palace, The Cibeles and the Neptuno fountains, The Post Office, The Paseo del Prado and the Botanical Garden - were all completed.
Even though the city had always been characterised by its farming activity, in the 19th century it became the financial centre of Spain and industrial production began to take hold. This growth was accompanied by rising inmigration that saw the capital´s population increase tenfold.
Unfortunately, the city has also suffered the horror of war, during the Peninsular War of 1808 against the French and the Civil War in 1936 that pitted nationalists and republicans again each other, as well as the city´s involvement to varying extents, in the two World Wars.
The contemporary period saw a seesawing between republics and dictatorships, the longest being the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, who gorverned Spain for 44 years. On his death, the Bourbon Dynasty was resored through King Juan Carlos I, who was proclaimed head of state in 1975. With him came democracy, along with occasional attemps to destabilise the new system. The new king took the decision not to reside in the Royal Palace like his ancestors.Instead, a large house on the outskirts of Madrid, the Zarzuela Palace, would be his new official residence. This parliamentary monarchy is included in the Constitution of 1978, which remains in force today. Since then, different political parties have governed, whether at a national, regional or municipal level, thanks to the elections in which every four years, we as Spanish citizens have the right to vote.
Even though Madrid has always had close connection with Castile, in the 1978 Constitution it was proclaimed an Autonomous Region. This is down to its position as political and economic centre of Spain.
Today´s Madrid is a massive city divided into 21 districts that occupy a total surface area of 60.708,66 hectares and has a population of 3.273.000 inhabitants. By adding the population of the metropolitan area of Madrid, we would get a total population of 6.360.000 people, of whom 16,4% are foreigners.
Madrid´s fame as a cosmopolitan and and welcoming city is well deserved , given that citizens from more than 180 different countries live there. The biggest groups are the Ecuadorians, Romanians and Bolivians, followed by the Colombians, Peruvians, Morroccans and Chiese.
The area around Atocha, Paseo del Prado and Paseo de Recoletos is called Paseo del Arte, due to the fact that the city´s most important museums are located there.
Firstly, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the city´s best contemporary art museum, stnds opposite Atocha Station. Built in 1776 by Sabatini as a hospital, it began to funcion as a museum during the 1980s. The building´s most amazing feature is its two transparent external lifts. Its magnificent collection includes work by Miró, Dalí, Bacon, Kandinsky, Tápies and Giacometti, although its biggest attraction is, without a doubt, Picasso´s "Guernica". In 2005, extension of the museum, built by Jean Nouvel, was opened.
Secondly, Museo National del Prado, built by Juan de Villanueva in 1785 and opened to the public in 1819. Today´s collection is made up 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures and 6,400 drawings, even though only 1,000 works are exhibited in the museum, including Bosch´s "The Garden of Earthly Delights", "Portrait of a Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest" by El Greco, Velázquez´s "Las Meninas" and "The Family of Charles IV" by Goya.
The Villanueva building, the Casón del Buen Retiro, and the extension to the museum itself make the Prado one of the world´s most important museums, housing work from the Italian and Flemish schools as well as Spanish paintings.
Finally, the triangle closes with the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, located at the Palacio de Villahermosa almost at the top of Paseo del Prado, 19th-century building that holds the most important private collection in the world, with more than 1,000 pieces in the collection, the museum brings together seven centuries of European painting, from the 13th to the 19th century. While there you will be able to admire works by many different artists, incluiding Durero, Caravaggio, Rubens, Gaugin, Van Gogh and Hopper. Just like others, this museum was also extended in 2004 in order to provide it with more exhibition space. The new adjoining building with its white facade holds Baroness Carmen Thyssen´s private collection as well as a restoration studio, spaces for educational activities and offices.
Madrid´s welcoming spirit is reflected in its gastronomy, made up of range of styles and raw materials sourced from far and wide. This variety, however, is no barrier to enjoying real Castilian cuisine, whose emblematic dishes incluide the "cocido madrileño" and "callos". The former is a dish eaten in two parts: first a noodle soup, followed by chickpeas with vegetables, meat and cured meats and cocido served at restaurants like La Bola and Lhardy are famous throughout the city. "Callos a la madrileña", meanwhile, is beef tripe stewed with pig´s foot, snout, cured ham and chorizo served in earthenware dishes. Sopas de ajo (garlic soup), potaje (chickpea, salt cod and spinach stew) and lentejas (lentil stew) are also typical starters. As for meat, "cochilillo" (roast suckling pig) and "cordero" (roast lamb) are the piéce de resistance. Even thogh Madrid has no port, it´s often that the best fish in the country is found there and you´ll be able to try fantastic "lubina" (sea bass), "besugo" (sea bream) and "bacalao" (cod) in all its guises. For casual dining, we recommend the "bocadillos de calamares" (calamari baguettes) from the Plaza Mayor and the area around Atocha station, "pollo asado" (roast chicken) at Casa Mingo in San Antonio de la Florida or the "bocadillos de entresijos y gallinejas" (baguettes stuffed with fried lamb´s stomach).
Eating tapas with your pre-lunch drink or aperitivo is a deeorooted tradition in Madrid. There are several tapas routes through the city. One of these routes goes through C/Cava Brava, C/CavaAlta, La Latina, Plaza Mayor, Plaza Tirso de Molina and the neighbourhood of Lavapiés. In this area, you will be able to try all kinds of tapas, from the most traditional bites to the most creative and even international morcels.
Highlights on tapas menus in the area surrounding the Sunday-morning Rastro flea market include "patatas bravas" (fried potatoes with a spicy paprika souce), "caracoles" (snails) and the "montados de gulas y gambas al ajillo" (garlic prawns and surimi eels on bread), while "bacalao" and "croquetas" and "chicharrones" (pork scratchings), "tortilla de patatas" (potato omelette) or "estofado de rabo de toro" (oxtail stew) are all other firm favourites.
Madrid has excellent tradition of confectionery and cakes, from the typical "Roscon de Reyes" at Christmas (a round orange-scented ring cake stuffed with cream and decorated with sugar and jellied fruits) to "rosquillas" (doughnuts) during the festivities of San Isidro in May or the "huesos del Santo" (boneshaped marzipan sweets) eaten in November time, without forgetting the "chocolate con churros" (thick hot chocolate with long thin doughnuts) that are ever-so-taste at breakfast and teatime.
And if You love sweets, don´t forget to try the typical "violetas".
In the cold winter months, Madrid fills with street stands selling "castañas asadas" (roast chestnuts) and "boniatos" (sweet potatoes), specialities that help to warm up both bellies and hands.
Madrid is famous for being one of Europe´s liveliest cities at night and this fame is well deserved. Restaurants and pubs throughout the capital´s neighbourhoods are open into the early hours of the morning. There are of course some classic spots for enjoying Madrid´s nightlife.
The Argüelles-Moncloa area is the meeting place for university students, given its proximity to the Campus of the Universidad Complutense and halls residence. Another area for young people is located around Alonso Martínez, where there are numerous pubs and tapas bars. A little futher west is the Glorieta de Bilbao and Malasaña, the heart of the counter-culture movement known as the movida madrileña, whose music, film and art moved the city in the ´80s. You will also find plenty of bars there serving beer and tapas, as well as pubs with live performances and cafés with a quiter vibe.
Another of the city´s top spots for nightlife is Chueca and visitors searching for the gay and lesbian scene will be in their element there.
Meanwhile, the thirty-somethings are to be found in Huertas, behind Calle/Atocha, and in Plaza de Santa Ana, drinking and eating in the bars, listening to live music in the cafés and cooling off on the terraces in summer.
In recent years, La Latina and the surrounding areas has become one of the city´s most fashionable areas, with its tapas bars, terraces and restaurants. Meanwhile, those searching for something more luxurious should head for the Paseo de la Castellana, home to posh restaurants and the most exclusive clubs.
Madrid is, however, a city where life is lived outdoors, especially in summer, with the numerous terraces around Paseo de Rosales, Principe Pío or from Paseo de Recoletos to Castellana. In recent years, however, the teraaces at ground level are coming up against some fierce competition from the ones located at the top of some of the city´s skyscrapers, where you can enjoy drinks and great views, all in one.
Flamenco lovers shouldn´t leave Madrid without heading for one of the flamenco shows in some of the "tablaos" located right in the centre of the city, such as Casa Patas and Torres Bermejas.
Madrid is a city of many faces. The quiter side of the city can be found by walking through the streets of the historical centre, known as the Barrio de los Austrias. This area begins at the Plaza Mayor and covers the streets C/Arenal, C/Mayor and C/Bailén. Many of the city´s most important monuments are located there - the Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, the Teatro Real, the Almudena Cathedral and many more - and each one carries centuries of history on its shoulders.
This is the Madrid of endless boulevards and typical bars, ideal for taking a break between visits. It´s also cultural Madrid. The capital´s cultural scene covers a wide range of subjects, styles and periods and this is clear not only from the different museums located on the Paseo del Arte, but also in the many galleries, cultural centres and exhibition halls that can be found in the surrounding streets.
The streets of Madrid are also the place to be on Sunday mornings and early on bank holiday, for these are the days when you can go to El Rastro, one of Madrid´s most popular flea markets, and see, touch and buy all kinds of wonderful things. Then a visit to the enormous gardens of El Retiro park will provide you with a much needed moment of calm and tranquility, leaving you ready to start another new day.
Palacio Real. One of the nicest places for walking is the Plaza de Oriente. On the one side you will find the Teatro Real (Opera House) and on the other the Palacio Real or Royal Palace, the residence of the Bourbons until the abdication of King Alfonso XIII, granfather of the current King Juan Carlos I. Today it is only used for official acts. The Palace was built on the land of the old Alcázar fortress, destroyed by fire in 1734. It is the work of different Italian architects and is neoclassical in style. Inside you will find halls filled with paintings by Goya and Velazquez and beatiful glasswork, tapestries and bronze pieces. Meanwhile, on the outside it´s worth visiting the Plaza de la Almería, a large courtyard surrounded by arcades where on Wednesdays between 11am and 2pm the changing of the guard can be seen, and the gardens surrounding the Palace: on the one side the Jardines de Sabatini and opposite the gardens of the Plaza de Oriente.
Puerta del Sol. Remodelled between 1857-1862, the Puerta del Sol, located right in the centre of Madrid, owes its name to the image of a sun that presided over one of the gates of the old Christian wall. For centuries it was part of the migration route for flocks and a witness to the history of Madrid. Today it is a regular meeting place throughout the year, but especially so on the 31st of December, when mardileños and foreigners meet there to celebrate the New Year and eat the typical grapes, one for each strike of the square´s infamous clock. Its most emblematic buldings include the Baroque-style Palacio de Correos, which now houses the central offices of the Madrid Regional Government. The square also houses a monument to Charles III and the Oso y el Madrño, the statue of a bear and Madroño tree that is the symbol of Madrid, as well as a plaque on the floor marking the Kilómetro cero, the starting point for all radial trunk roads from Madrid to the rest of Spain.
Plaza Mayor. Very close to the Puerta del Sol is the Plaza Mayor. This magnificent square, surrounded by archways and designed by Juan Herrera, is the work of Juan Gómez de Mora, who built it between 1617 and 1619. It has had many uses, depending on the needs of each period. Bullfights, trials during the time of the Inquisition and the execution of prisoners are some of the events held there in the past.It has also taken on the role of theatre and market many times. In fact, the two towers of the square owe their names to the latter, one being the Casa de la Panadería (Bakery House) and the other Casa de la Carnicería (Butchery House). After suffering various fires, Juan de Villanueva took charge of remodelling the square in a neoclassical style. The Arco de Cuchilleros is the square´s best-known entry point of the nine that you will find in the Plaza Mayor. During the 19th century an equestrian statue of Philip III, who reigned during the time the square was built, was placed in its centre. Take a good look too at the frescoes on the facade of the Casa de la Panadería, painted in 1992 by Carlos Franco, with zodiac signs and allegories of time and temperature. In addition to these official buildings and private flats, in the arcade around the square you will find many souvenir shops and restaurants and bars with their terraces - a great place to take a seat and try the famous bocadillos de calamares (fried calamari baguettes).
Every sunday morning, the square´s arcades hold a stamp and coin market and throughout the year the square is turned into a venue for free concerts and shows. This is also where pupils and students meet in July to celebrate the end of the school year. At Christmas time, the middle of the Plaza Mayor is filled with stalls where you can buy figures and decorations for your Christmas tree or the traditional Belén (Nativity Scene), fun items such as wigs and hats and fir trees.
El Rastro. From la C/Embajadores to the Puerta de Toledo, the parallel and perpendicular streets heading up to La Latina make up what is known today as El Rastro, Madrid´s most popular flea market. It´s made up of hundreds of temporary stalls where you can find absolutely anything, but only on Sundays and bank holidays from 8am to 3pm. According to the books of the time, El Rastro´s trade goes back to the 16th century, when sellers of gold clothes and tanners set up their wares around the Plaza de Cascorro.