Pano desde la Azotea del Círculo


Pano desde el Círculo, anocheciendo


Madrid first became significant in Roman times, although the foundations of the modern city were really laid in the 9th century, when an Arab palace was built on the site of the present day Palacio Real. In the 11th century, the Christians took the city from the Moors, finally expelling them in the 15th century. Charles I of Spain moved the court to Madrid from Barcelona in 1561, and the city became the Spanish capital and seat of power. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Madrid was a wealthy, aristocratic city, without much industry of its own but controlling Spanish interests nationwide and globally.


Catedral Nuestra Sra dela Almudena


Interior Catedral Almudena


Filled with fantastic, ornate architecture and artistic culture aplenty, Madrid makes a great venue to be added to everyone's "must see" cities. Madrid sits 2000 feet above sea level, in the centre of mainland Spain - the nearest sea is 380Km away - and it is blessed with "the most hours of blue skies anywhere in Europe" according to our tour guide!

Madrid Palacio Real


The Royal Palace of Madrid


Palacio de Cristal

The main story of Madrid started in the early 8th century although there is archeological evidence of human presence in prehistoric times. In the 8th century a moorish army from North Africa landed at Gibraltar and conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula. To protect the northern approach to Toledo - their main settlement - they built a fortress (Alcazar) in 852, on the site of today's Palacio Real. Originally named Mayrit (later becoming Magerit then Madrid), a community was started around the Alcazar.

Templo de Debod


Puerta de Alcala


Puerta del Sol


La Azotea del Circulo


La Gran Via



Plaza Mayor


Museo del Jamon


Mercado de San Miquel - The best food-court in Madrid


La Plaza de Oriente


El Teatro Real

In the 11th century, Christians to the north rallied against the Moorish invaders, gradually pushing south. By 1085, the Castilians under Alfonso VI were ready to advance on Toledo. One story tells that the troops mistook Mayrit for the much larger Toledo and laid seige to it. There followed a period of peaceful rural existence, with the Spanish rulers encouraging monasteries in the area and before long, Madrid had 13 churches.

Retiro Park


Stadium FCB

Following a dispute in the 13th century over hunting rights on the land which was owned by the church, agreement was reached that the church owned the soil, but Madrilenos owned everything above the ground - namely game. Hence the symbol of Madrid was born - a Bear (the church's emblem) sniffing a tree. This bear can be seen across the city today, emblazened on taxis, buses, pavements, bins and almost everything belonging to "the city".

Cool modern architecture


Calle de Alcala


View from Madrid City Hall (Palacio de Cibeles)

The modern city of Madrid offers the visitor vast ranges of history and culture. With many museums and galleries and architecture from many periods including Habsburg, Baroque, Bourbon, Neo-Mudejar, Neo-Classical, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernism among others. It also boasts one of Europe's premier football teams - Real Madrid - and a trip to the amazing Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, which holds 105,000 fanatical fans is a must for all football supporters.


Statue of Don Quixote
Based on a novel by Miguel de Cervantes. The book, published in two parts (1605 and 1615) is considered to be the first modern novel. It is about Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha. Don Quixote believes himself to be a knight, and makes "heroic" rescues, including slaying windmills. It was first written in Spanish, and soon translated to English by Thomas Shelton.


In Christian tradition the Magi, also known as the Three Wise Men, The Three Kings, or Kings from the east, are sometimes considered to be Median, Iranian Zoroastrian priests, who were also proficient in astrology from Ancient Persia. The Gospel of Matthew states that they came "from the east to Jerusalem" to worship the Christ, "born King of the Jews". According to Matthew, they navigated by following a star which came to be known as the Star of Bethlehem. As they approached Jerusalem, Herod tried to trick them into revealing where Jesus was, so that he might be put to death. Upon finding Jesus, the Magi gave him an unspecified number of gifts, amongst which were three highly symbolic ones: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Because these three gifts were recorded, it is traditionally said to have been three givers; however, Matthew does not specify how many wise men came from the east.

Waiting for the Magi
who in Spain are the traditional bringers of gifts for the children

The Magi were then warned in dreams that revealed Herod's deadly intentions for the child and decided to return home by a different route, in order to thwart them. This prompted Herod to resort to killing all the young children in Bethlehem, an act called the Massacre of the Innocents, in an attempt to eliminate a rival heir to his throne. Jesus and his family had, however, escaped to Egypt beforehand. After these events, the magi return home and passed into obscurity. The story of the nativity in Matthew glorifies Jesus, likens him to Moses, and shows his life as fulfilling prophecy. Some critics consider this nativity story to be an invention of the author of Matthew.


Cibeles fountain


Palacio de Cibeles

A beautiful example of Spanish architecture, this is Madrid's city hall

It is built to resemble a cathedral and previously was Madrid's main post office

It is also know as the Communications Palace. It dates only to 1907.


Palacio Real de Madrid or the Royal Palace of Madrid in English was built after a fire in 1734 by Philip V and eventually finished by Charles III. Still currently being used for state functions, visiting the Palace is a hit and miss affair as half the time it is not opened to the public - lucky I was there on a social "off" day. To the either side of the main building is the Royal Pharmacy with its impressive display of rare medical ingredients and the equally impressive Royal Armoury show casing European medieval weaponry in all its glory. The main building itself is decked out very nicely with different themes for different rooms. Some of my favourite being the Carlos III Antechamber and the Gala Room (because the table is so long and the King and Queens slight is ever so slightly higher).


Barajas Terminal Airport Madrid


Atocha Railway Station Madrid











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