Saturday, October 1, 2016


Executive summary by darmansjah

                                               Cervantes Institute headquarters

Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be around 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third-largest in the European Union after London and Paris The city spans a total of 604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi).

Manzanares River

The city is located on the Manzanares River in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid (which comprises the city of Madrid, its conurbation and extended suburbs and villages); this community is bordered by the autonomous communities of Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political, economic and cultural centre of Spain. The current mayor is Ana Botella from the People's Party (PP).

Plaza Mayor

The Madrid urban agglomeration has the third-largest GDP in the European Union and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, environment, media, fashion, science, culture, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities. Due to its economic output, high standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial centre of Southern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula; it hosts the head offices of the vast majority of the major Spanish companies, such as Telefónica, Iberia or Repsol. Madrid is the 10th most livable city in the world according to Monocle magazine, in its 2010 index.

School of Mines, Technical University of Madrid

Madrid houses the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), belonging to the United Nations Organization (UN), the SEGIB, the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), and the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB). It also hosts major international institutions regulators of Spanish: the Standing Committee of the Association of Spanish Language Academies, headquarters of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), the Cervantes Institute and the Foundation of Urgent Spanish (Fundéu BBVA). Madrid organizes fairs such as FITUR, ARCO, SIMO TCI and the Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week.

Complutense University of Madrid, founded 1293

While Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets. Its landmarks include the Royal Palace of Madrid; the Royal Theatre with its restored 1850 Opera House; the Buen Retiro Park, founded in 1631; the 19th-century National Library building (founded in 1712) containing some of Spain's historical archives; a large number of National museums, and the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three art museums: Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía Museum, a museum of modern art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which completes the shortcomings of the other two museums. Cibeles Palace and Fountain have become the monument symbol of the city

Cibeles Palace City Hall of Madrid and iconic monument of the city

Madrid is served by highly developed communication infrastructures, making the Spanish capital the leading logistics hub for both Spain and all of southern Europe. It also boasts a network of motorways, encompassing both ring roads and radial roads, and provides the backbone for Spain's railway network, thereby providing effective connections with not only other parts of the region, but also the rest of Spain and Europe as a whole. Madrid ranks alongside Tokyo and Paris as one of the world's three largest high-speed railway hubs. Madrid is also home to the Madrid-Barajas airport, Spain's flagship airport and one of the largest in the world.

 Aeropuerto de Madrid-Barajas

Madrid–Barajas Airport  is Spain's busiest airport, and is the main hub of Iberia Airlines. It consequently serves as the main gateway to the Iberian peninsula from Europe, America and the rest of the world. Current passenger volumes range upwards of 49.8 million passengers per year, making it the country's largest and busiest airport, and in 2009 it was the world's 11th busiest airport and Europe's fifth busiest airport. Given annual increases close to 10%, a new fourth terminal has been constructed. It has significantly reduced delays and doubled the capacity of the airport to more than 70 million passengers per year. Two additional runways have also been constructed, making Barajas a fully operational four-runway airport.

The airport located within the city limits of Madrid, at 9 km (5.6 mi) from the city's financial district and 13 km (8.1 mi) northeast of the Puerta del Sol, Madrid's historic centre. The airport name derives from the adjacent district of Barajas, which has its own metro station on the same rail line serving the airport.

The Minister of Transport of the Community of Madrid, Manuel Lamela, announced in 2007 that the city will also be served by two new airports which are expected to be fully operative in 2016, the first of which will be located in Campo Real, it will be initially be used for cargo flights, and also as hub for low-cost carriers, and the second one, expected to be built between the two municipalities of El Álamo and Navalcarnero, which will only take over the routes operating in Cuatro Vientos Airport.

Alcalá Street and the Metropolis Building

Spain's railway system, the Red Nacional de Ferrocarriles Españoles (RENFE) operates the vast majority of Spain's railways. Cercanías Madrid is the commuter rail service that serves Madrid and its metropolitan area. It is operated by Cercanías Renfe, the commuter rail division of Renfe. The total length spans 339.1 kilometres (210.7 miles). Main rail terminals are Atocha in the south and Chamartín in the north.

The most important project in the next decade is the Spanish high-speed rail network, Alta Velocidad Española AVE. Currently, an ambitious plan includes the construction of a 7,000-kilometre (4,300 mi) network, centred on Madrid. The overall goal is to have all important provincial cities be no more than 4 hours away from Madrid, and no more than 6 hours away from Barcelona. As of 2008, AVE high-speed trains link Atocha station to Seville, Málaga, Córdoba, Ciudad Real and Toledo in the south and to Cuenca, Albacete, Valencia, Zaragoza, Lleida, Tarragona and Barcelona in the east. AVE trains also arrive from Valladolid in the north.

Cuatro Torres Business Area

 Serving a population of some five million, the Madrid Metro (Metro de Madrid) is one of the most extensive and fastest-growing metro networks in the world. With the addition of a loop serving suburbs to Madrid's south-west "Metrosur", it is now the second largest metro system in Western Europe, second only to London's Underground. In 2007 Madrid's metro system was expanded and it currently runs over 283 kilometres (176 mi) of line. The region of Madrid is also served by an extensive commuter rail network of 370 kilometres (230 mi) called Cercanías.

The system is the sixth longest metro in the world after London, New York, Moscow, Seoul and Shanghai, though Madrid is approximately the fiftieth most populous metropolitan area in the world. Its fast growth in the last 20 years has also put it among the fastest growing networks in the world, on par with the Shanghai Metro and the Beijing Subway. Unlike normal Spanish road and rail traffic, Madrid Metro trains use left-hand running on some lines due to historical reasons.

Puerta de Alcalá

This railway network is ably supported by an ever-expanding network of city buses. The overall length of the bus network of Madrid's Municipal Transport Corporation (Empresa Municipal de Transportes, or EMT) at yearclose 2013, when 426 million passengers were transported, stood at 3,690 km (2,293 mi), marking a 31% increase over the last eight years. These routes are serviced by a growing fleet of over 3,000 vehicles, while the network as a whole is undergoing a continuous improvement process with a view to attaining the utmost standards of speed, quality and sustainability. The buses in Madrid are the only public transport system available 24hours as the metro network closes down during night hours. The night buses, also known as “Buhos” (Owls), are running from 11.45pm to 6.00am. The heavy traffic in Madrid can in some cases make the city buses a fairly slow form of transportation but the city of Madrid has more than 90 km of special bus and taxi lines to help solve this issue.

Temple of Debod on a winter day

Madrid is the most important hub of Spain's motorway network and is surrounded by four orbital motorways: M30, M40, M45 and M50. M30 circles the central districts and is the inner ring motorway of Madrid. Significant portions of M30 runs underground and its urban motorway tunnels have sections of more than 6 km (3.73 mi) in length and 3 to 6 lanes in each direction, between the south entry of the Avenida de Portugal tunnel and the north exit of the M-30 south by-pass there are close to 10 km (6.21 mi) of continuous tunnels. M40 is a ring motorway which borders Madrid at a mean distance of 10.07 kilometres (6.26 mi) and it has a total length of 63.3 km (39.33 mi). M45 is a partial ring around the city serving the metropolitan area of Madrid. It was built to help alleviate the congestion of the M40 from the southern to the north-eastern, runs between the M40 and the M50 where the two ring motorways are more separated. M50 is the outer of the Madrid orbital motorways and has a total length of 85 km (52.82 mi). It services mainly the metropolitan area at a mean distance of 13.5 km (8.39 mi).

Canalejas Square


Very little medieval architecture is preserved in Madrid. Historical documents show that the city was walled and had a castle (the Alcázar) in the same place where the Royal Palace now stands. Among the few preserved medieval buildings are the mudejar towers of San Nicolás and San Pedro el Viejo churches, the palace of Luján family (located in the Plaza de la Villa), the Gothic church of St. Jerome, part of a monastery built by the Catholic Monarchs in the 15th century, and the Bishop's Chapel.

Nor has Madrid retained many examples of Renaissance architecture, except for the Cisneros house (one of the buildings flanking the Plaza de la Villa), the Bridge of Segovia and the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, whose austere exterior gives no idea of the magnificent art treasures inside.

The Gran Vía is considered a showcase of early 20th-century architecture, with patterns ranging from Vienna Secession style, Plateresque, Neo-Mudéjar, Art Deco and others

When Philip II moved his court to Madrid in 1561, a series of reforms began, reforms that aimed to transform the town into a capital city worthy of the name. These reforms were embodied in the Plaza Mayor, designed by Juan de Herrera (author of El Escorial) and Juan Gómez de Mora, characterized by its symmetry and austerity, as well as the new Alcázar, who would become the second most impressive royal palace of the kingdom.

 Almudena Cathedral

Many of the historic buildings of Madrid were built during the reign of the Habsburgs. The material used was mostly brick and the humble façades contrast with the elaborate interiors. Juan Gómez de Mora built notable buildings such as Casa de la Villa, Prison of the Court, the Palace of the Councils and Royal Convent of La Encarnación. The Buen Retiro Palace was a vanished work by Alonso Carbonel, today on the grounds of the Buen Retiro Park, with beautiful rooms decorated by the best artists in times of Philip IV (Velázquez, Carducci, Zurbarán). Imperial College become an important institution run by the Jesuits, and the model dome of the church would be imitated in all Spain, thanks to the cheap materials used in its construction.

Las Ventas bullring

Before the arrival of the Bourbons at Madrid, the architect Pedro de Ribera was one of the most important architects in Madrid. Ribera introduced Churrigueresque architecture to Madrid, characterized by ornamental overload on their covers, as an altarpiece. The History Museum, the Cuartel del Conde-Duque, the church of Montserrat and the Bridge of Toledo are the best examples.

Campo del Moro Gardens

The arrival of the Bourbons marked a new era in the city. The burning of the Alcazar of Madrid served as an excuse for Philip V of Spain to build a palace on its foundations, a palace more in line with the French taste. Filippo Juvarra, an architect specializing in the construction of royal palaces, was chosen to design the new palace. His design was inspired by a Bernini's design rejected for the Louvre Palace in Paris. Juvarra died before the work began, and the project was substantially modified by his disciple Giovainni Battista Sacchetti. Other buildings of the time were the St. Michael's Basilica and the Church of Santa Bárbara.

Mount of El Pardo

King Charles III of Spain was more interested in beautifying the city. He was an enlightened monarch and endeavored to convert Madrid into one of the great European capitals. He pushed forward the construction of the Prado Museum (designed by Juan de Villanueva). The building was originally intended to serve as a Natural Science Museum. Charles III was also responsible for design of the Puerta de Alcalá, the Royal Observatory (Juan de Villanueva), the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande (Francesco Sabatini), the Casa de Correos in Puerta del Sol, the Real Casa de la Aduana (Francesco Sabatini) and the General Hospital by Sabatini (now houses the Reina Sofia Museum and Royal Conservatory of Music). The Paseo del Prado, surrounded by gardens and decorated with neoclassical statues inspired by mythological gods, is an example of urban planning. The Duke of Berwick ordered Ventura Rodríguez the construction of the Liria Palace.

Bank of Bilbao Building

Subsequently, the Peninsular War, the loss of colonies in the Americas, and the continuing coups prevented the city from developing interesting architecture (Royal Theatre,the National Library of Spain, the Palace of the Senate and the Congress). In the slums of Madrid during this time, a kind of substandard house was developed that today has a special historical charm: an example is the corralas, which currently still exist in the neighborhood of Lavapiés.

National Museum of Natural Sciences

From the late 19th century until the Civil War, Madrid modernized and built new neighborhoods and monuments, both in the capital and in neighboring towns. In the mid-19th century the expansion of Madrid developed under the Plan Castro, resulting in the neighborhoods of Salamanca, Argüelles and Chamberí. Arturo Soria conceived the linear city and built the first few kilometers of the road that bears his name, which embodies the idea. Antonio Palacios build a series of eclectic buildings inspired by the Viennese Secession. Some representative examples are the Palace of Communication (Palacio de Comunicaciones), the Fine Arts Circle of Madrid (Círculo de Bellas Artes) and the Río de La Plata Bank (Instituto Cervantes). Ricardo Velázquez Bosco designed the Crystal Palace and the Palace of Velázquez in the Retiro Park. Secundino Zuazo built the Palace of Music and the Casa de las Flores. The Bank of Spain was designed by Eduardo Adaro and Severiano Sainz de la Lastra. Meanwhile, the Marquis of Cubas began the Almudena Cathedral project, which was to be a neo-Gothic church with neo-Romanesque cloister. Alberto de Palacio designed Atocha Station. The Palace of Longoria was designed by José Grases Riera in Catalan art-nouveau. Las Ventas Bullring was built in the early 20th century, as the Market of San Miguel (Cast-Iron style). Finally, Delicias Railway Station is the oldest example of this kind of infrastructure according to the model of Henri de Dion.

CaixaForum Madrid

Also the construction of Gran Vía began in the early 20th century, with the task of freeing the old town. They used different styles that evolved over time: The Metropolis building is built in French style and the Edificio Grassy is eclectic, while Telefónica Building is art deco, with baroque ornaments. The Carrión (or Capitol) Building is expressionist, and the Palace of the Press, another example of art deco.

The Civil War severely damaged the city, including the Ciudad Universitaria (University City), which was one of the most beautiful architectural complexes of the time. Subsequently, unscrupulous mayors would destroy the old town and the Ensanche, in a city which until the war was a good example of urban planning and architecture. Numerous blocks of flats with no value were built, and some examples of Fascist architecture, such as the Spanish Air Force headquarters (inspired by El Escorial), the Nuevos Ministerios by Secundino Zuazo and the skyscrapers of Plaza de España, at the time the highest in Europe, were built.

Fine arts circle 

With the advent of democracy and Spanish economic development, skyscrapers appeared in the city such as Torre Picasso, designed by Minoru Yamasaki; Torres Blancas and Torre BBVA (both by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza) and in the 1990s, the Gate of Europe, architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee. Moreover, in the 1990s construction was completed of the Cathedral of the Almudena. The National Auditorium of Music is a work of 1988.

In the 21st century, Madrid faces new challenges in its architecture. An old industrial warehouse is the Interpretation Centre of New Technologies, and the CaixaForum Madrid (Herzog & de Meuron) was a former power station.

Under the government of Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón the four tallest skyscrapers in Spain were built, and together form the Cuatro Torres Business Area (CTBA). The Manzanares River is crossed by new edge bridges, and work started on the International Convention Centre (Mansilla+Tuñón), an original round building, whose works remain paralyzed by the crisis. Caja Mágica (Dominique Perrault) sport centre was also built and the Reina Sofía Museum has been expanded with the help of Jean Nouvel.

Terminal 4 check in hal

Madrid Barajas International Airport Terminal 4, designed by Antonio Lamela and Richard Rogers (winning them the 2006 Stirling Prize), and TPS Engineers, (winning them the 2006 IStructE Award for Commercial Structures) was inaugurated on 5 February 2006. Terminal 4 is one of the world's largest terminal areas, with an area of 760,000 square metres (8,180,572 square feet) in two separate terminals: a main building, T4 (470,000 square metres), and satellite building, T4S (290,000 square metres), which are separated by approximately 2.5 km (2 mi). The new terminal is meant to give passengers a stress-free start to their journey. This is managed through careful use of illumination, available by glass panes instead of walls and numerous domes in the roof which allow natural light to pass through. With the new addition, Barajas is designed to handle 70 million passengers annually.


In the year 2006 Madrid was the fourth most visited city in Europe and the first of Spain, with almost seven million of tourists. It is also the seat of the World Tourism Organization and the International Tourism Fair – FITUR.

Royal Convent of La Encarnación 

Most of the tourist attractions of Madrid are in the old town and the Ensanche, corresponding with the districts of Centro, Salamanca, Chamberí, Retiro and Arganzuela. The nerve centre of the city is the Puerta del Sol, starting point for the numbering of all city streets and all the country's highways.

San Francisco el Grande

The Calle de Alcalá or Alcalá Street lead from the Puerta del Sol from the NE of the city. From the street you get from Plaza de Cibeles. Subsequently the street reaches the "Plaza de la Independencia", which includes the Puerta de Alcalá and an entrance to the Buen Retiro Park.

Buen Retiro Park gardens

The Calle Mayor leads to Plaza Mayor continuing for the called Madrid de los Austrias, in reference to the Dynasty of Habsburg - finally reaching Calle de Bailén, near the Cathedral of the Almudena and the church of San Francisco el Grande.

St. Isidore Church from the Plaza Mayor

The Calle del Arenal comes to Royal Theatre in Plaza de la Ópera, continuing through Plaza de Oriente, where the Royal Palace is it. From there the Calle Bailen leads to Plaza de España and the Temple of Debod, an Egyptian temple moved stone by stone to Spain in gratitude for their help in the construction of the Aswan Dam. Also in this square is the start of Gran Vía street.

No comments:

Post a Comment