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Spanish cities: History of Madrid and art

About Madrid:
external Links:
History of Madrid History of Madrid Prado Museum Prado Museum
The Avenue of Art The Avenue of Art Wax Museum Wax Museum
Accommodation in Madrid, Spain Hotels, apartments in Madrid   soon more info !
History of Madrid      

The capital of Spain, located in the heart of the Iberian Península and right in the center of the Castillian meseta, is 646 meters above sea level and has a population of over three millions.

A cosmopolitan city, a business center, headquarters for the Public Administration, Government, Spanish Parliament and the home of the Spanish Royal Family, Madrid also plays a first-rate role in both the banking and industrial sectors. Most of this industry is located on the southern fringe of the city, where important textile, food and metal working factories are clustered.

Madrid is known by an intense cultural and artistic activity as well as a quite lively nightlife.

The grand metropolis of Madrid has its origins in the times of the Arab Emir Mohamed I (852-886), who ordered the construction of a fortress on the left bank of the Manzanares River. It later became cause of a dispute between the Christians and Arabs until it was conquered by Alfonso VI in the XIth century.

By the end of the XVIIth century, a defensive wall was built for the protection of the new outlying areas, tracing the roads of Segovia, Toledo and Valencia.

During the 18th century, under the reign of Carlos III, the great arteries of the city were designed, such as el Paseo de la Castellana, Paseo de Recoletos, Paseo del Prado and Paseo de las Acacias.

At the beginning of the XIXth century, Joseph Bonaparte undertook the reform of la Puerta del Sol and its surroundings and the commercial street known as la Gran Vía was built.

In the 1950's the north-south boulevard called Paseo de la Castellana was extended and modern buildings were erected housing the major financial institutions.

What remains today of the distant past are mainly Baroque and Neoclassical structures anad buildings of the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries, such as la Plaza Mayor (Main Square), el Palacio Real (Royal Palace).

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