Brief History of Madrid
Madrid is a great place to travel to, it’s history is full of interesting facts; here are a few of them.
Madrid is the capital of Spain since 1606. The development of Madrid as a city began when Philip II moved his court from Toledo to Madrid in 1560.
The origin of the name Madrid is believed to date back as far as 2nd century BC.
In 1329, Ferdinand IV of Castile assembled the Cortes Generales, a precursor to the modern Spanish parliament.
Between 1379 – 1406 Henry III of Castile rebuilt the city after it was destroyed by fire.
The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella united the Crowns of Castile and Aragon, leading to the beginning of the Spain we all know and love today.
The two kingdoms maintained their national laws until 1714, when under the new Dynasty of the Bourboun a centralized State was built under the “Ways and Laws of Castile”.
The kingdoms of Castile and Aragón were fully united by Charles I of Spain.
During the 17th century, Madrid grew rapidly. The royal court attracted alot of artists and writers to Madrid among which are Cervantes and Lope de Vega.
Philip II transferred the capital from Toledo to Madrid in 1561.
In 1739 Philip V, began constructed new palaces, among which the Palacio Real de Madrid.
From 1716–1788 Charles III made Madrid a city full of buildings and monuments including the Prado and the Puerta de Alcalá.
In 1936–1939, Madrid was besieged by Spanish Nationalist and allied troops under Francisco Franco, during his dictatorship Madrid became very industrialized and experienced massive migrations from rural environments into the city.
Following the death of Franco, and in order to secure stability and democracy, the emerging democratic parties including those of left-wing and republican ideology accepted Franco’s wish to be succeeded by Juan Carlos I, leading to Spain’s current position as a constitutional monarchy.
Benefiting from prosperity in the 1980’s, Spain’s capital city has consolidated its position as the leading economic, cultural, industrial, educational and technological center of the Iberian peninsula.
The Monarchy of Spain referred to as the Crown or the Hispanic Monarchy comprises the reigning monarch, and of his or her family.
In 1978 the Spanish Constitution re-established the Spanish Monarchy as the form of government in Spain.
The present Spanish monarchy is represented by King Felipe VI, his wife Queen Letizia, and their daughters Leonor, Princess of Asturias, and Infanta Sofia.
It affirmed the role of the King of Spain as the personification and embodiment of the Spanish State and a symbol of Spain’s enduring unity and permanence.
In 2010, the budget for the Spanish monarchy was 7.4 million euros, one of the lowest public expenditures for the institution of monarchy in Europe.
Some of Madrid’s Most Popular Sites
Among Madrid’s most popular sites are the Museo Reina Sofia, Mercado de San Miguel, Temple de Debod, Plaza de Cibeles, Puerta del Sol, Gran Via, Retiro Park, Prado Museum, Plaza Mayor, and Palacio Real.
The Museo Reina Sofía was designed as a modern complement to the historical Prado Museum. The museum is home to a large collections of artwork by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.
The Mercado de San Miguel is a popular shopping destination for local foods and delicacies. On weekends it stays open as late as 2 a.m., as such it’s become a popular place to enjoy drinks and tapas.
The Temple of Debod is in Parque del Oeste, a park near the Royal Palace. The temple to the Egyptian goddess Isis; once stood on the banks of the Nile.
Plaza de Cibeles is closed to the Palace Cibeles, formerly known as the Palace of Communications. At the center of the plaza is a statue; the Fuente de la Cibeles. The fountain depicts the Roman goddess Cybele on a chariot drawn by lions.
Puerta del Sol, or the “Gate of the Sun,” is located in the center of Madrid. This is the place where thousands gather each New Year’s Eve to welcome in the new year. The statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree standing on one side of Puerta del Sol – is considered a symbol of Madrid.
The Gran Vía is known as the Broadway of Madrid because it’s “the street that never sleeps.” The Gran Vía has hundreds of shops, restaurants and businesses.
The Parque del Buen Retiro or El Retiro, is a 350-acre garden, with fountains located at the edge of the city center. Retiro Park was a monastery in the 1500s.
The Museo del Prado is an 18th century structure designed by Juan de Villanueva, which houses artworks from Goya, El Greco, da Ribera and Velázquez.
Madrid’s Plaza Mayor dates back to 1619, was used once to host bullfights.
The Palacio Real of Madrid is known for it’s huge structure, it has more than 2,500 fully decorated rooms. Built in 1764, the palace served as the royal residence of Carlos III.
The last royals to reside there were Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenie in the early 1900’s.
Fifty (50) of the rooms are open to the public, including the throne room (Salón del Trono),”.
The ceiling of the throne room was painted by the Baroque artist Tiepolo.
The palace is still used for official government ceremonies.
The palace also has a fresco in the grand dining hall that depicts Christopher Columbus presenting gifts from the New World to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
When traveling to Madrid The Travel Pass is a wonderful way to save money when using Madrid’s public transport systems, the ticket is valid for all of Madrid’s Metro and Bus services within the city, together with the local suburban trains and the inner-city light railway.
The pass is available for 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days, and can be purchased for Zones A or T. Most of our visitors will require a pass for Zone A only, which covers all locations within Madrid’s city center including the airport.
The ticket is delivered in a protective plastic holder and includes Metro, bus and train maps, together with landmarks and places of interest in Madrid. Instructions for use are also included.
The pass must be purchased for the number of days you will use it for. It will then be activated the first time it is used, and the expiry date printed on the back.
The pass is then valid until 5:00 am on the day after the expiry date, allowing you to use the late nocturnal transport services as well.
In Madrid you can also buy a Tourist Pass and save big on top tourist attractions, some include transport and tapas at some of the sites.
In Madrid, electric power comes through at 220 volts and at 50 Hertz. Check to see if you will need a adapter.
Have a good time in Madrid, let me know about your true travel experience …