Madrid (Madrid [maðɾið]) is the capital and largest city of Spain, as well as the administrative center of the provinces and autonomous communities of the same name. The municipality is located in the area (komarki) of the Arena Metropolitan. The largest economic, political and cultural center of the country. The population of the city is 3.165 million inhabitants (2016).
According to history, Madrid was founded by the ancient hero Okni Bianor, the son of Tiberin and the prophetess Manto. It is also known that during the Roman Empire, on the banks of the Matrix River, the tributary of Manzanares, there was already a large settlement. However, it is more likely that the city appeared during the reign of Emir Mohammed I (856-886 gg.), Who ordered to build the fortress of Majerit, or Mayrit, on the left bank of the Manzanares River (now the Palacio Real palace rises here). For a long time the fortress was the scene of a fierce struggle between Christian and Moorish rulers, which was clearly reflected in the unique appearance of the capital. In 1561 King Philip II makes an intensively growing city the capital of his kingdom, and another row of walls is added to the old fortress. It is interesting that by the XVII century the city was surrounded by four serfs, and the best masters of the time worked on its architectural appearance. At the end of the XIX - beginning of the XX century, Madrid was actively rebuilt and expanded, and after the Civil War acquired a modern look, characterized by an abundance of old buildings in close proximity to the wide streets and many art nouveau buildings.
Madrid is one of the most beautiful capitals of the world and the owner of a colossal historical heritage. By tradition, the center of Madrid and all Spain is the Plaza del Sol with three statues and an old Post House (1768), crowned with a clock with four dials, to which the inhabitants of Madrid celebrate the coming of the New Year with a bell ringing. The square is decorated with the symbols of the city - a bear and strawberry tree.
The Habsburg region stands out with narrow and chaotically intersecting streets and a large number of houses and squares of the 17th century. Framed by colonnades, the central square of Plaza Mayor served as a market place, a place for bullfighting and burning at the stake in the Middle Ages. Now the most notable buildings on it are the Baker's House, whose facade is decorated with frescoes, and the Butcher's House, where municipal services are currently located. In the center of the square stands the equestrian statue of Philip III. On the east side of the Plaza Mayor is the Plaza de la Provincia, where the Santa Cruz Palace is located, in which the Spanish Foreign Ministry is now located. Nearby lies the picturesque Piazza Villa with a beautiful city hall (1640), in which the Consistory met and the La Villa prison was located.
In the nearby medieval streets dozens of monasteries and palaces are scattered - the Basilica of San Miguel in the Baroque style (XVIII century), the Casa de Cisneros (XVI century), the palace and the tower of Luhanes (XV century) in the Moorish style, the monastery of Carboneras (1607) and the church of San Pedro el Viejo (XV century) with a tower in the Mudejar style (XIV century), built above the minaret of the mosque that used to be here. In Paha Square is the Bishop's Chapel, the only Gothic-style temple in Madrid, the altar and silver-plated doors of which are of great artistic value. Nearby is Los Carros Square with the Baroque San Isidro Chapel and Plaza San Andres, where the Baroque church of the same name.
On the square of Marina Espanola there are the Senate Palace (the end of the 16th century), the Grimaldi Palace (1776) and the Reparadoras Monastery (1782), and nearby, in the Descalzas Reales Square, you can find the El Monasterio de las Nieves, Descalzas Reales (literally - Monastery of the Royal barefoot nuns, 1557, now there is a reliquary) with a fine collection of works of art. Also known are such historical complexes as the ancient Egyptian temple Debod (II century BC, in 1968 was dismantled and restored in Madrid in place of old army barracks near Campo del Moro), the world's largest arena for corrida - Plaza de Torres de las Ventas (stands capable of seating 25 thousand people), a chain of famous shopping streets Glorieta de Bilbao (Fuencarral, Carranza, Luchana and Sagasta), a complex of amazing "falling towers" de-Europa (115 meters high), a hundred meter high telecommunications tower Faro de Moncloa from the observation deck at its top, as well as the most notable landmark of the city - Torre Espana TV Tower, or Torrespan (231 m).
The old gates of the Puerta de Toledo (the gate of Toledo, one of the two remaining fragments of medieval city walls) are located in one of the ancient quarters of Madrid - La Latina. This area should be visited to see the Basilica of St. Francis the Great with an interesting collection of paintings by famous artists, the Chapel of Cristo de la Venerable, the small park of Vistillas, from which a beautiful panorama of the western part of the city with a country manor on the horizon, a viaduct over Segovia and the Palace Dukes Uceda (1611), in which the House of Catering and the Council of State are now housed.
Nearby is the Royal (East) Palace, a remarkable example of 18th-century palace architecture, surrounded by a park with Sabatini Gardens and the Moorish Field. Here, in the apartments of the kings of Spain in the mid-18th century, furniture, decoration elements, carpets, sculpture and other works of art are exhibited. Nearby is the Almudena Cathedral (it was built from the 16th to the 20th centuries), and in the complex of the palace itself there is the Royal Arsenal, the Royal Pharmacy and the Coach Museum.
Nearby is one of the largest art galleries in the world - the Prado (Museo del Prado, a huge collection of Spanish, Flemish and Italian art of the XV-XVII centuries). Here, the bridge of Segovia crossed the Manzanares River - the oldest of the city's bridges (the end of the 16th century), from which you can see a beautiful panorama of the Royal Palace and the surrounding gardens.
In the Plaza of Spain, two buildings of the middle of the 20th century are distinguished - Casa Espana and Torre-Madrid, as well as a monument of national importance - the Church of San Marcos (1753) in Baroque style. Nearby is the Cerralbo Museum in a dazzling 19th century palace with an interesting art collection, as well as the Liria Palace, which is the residence of the Duchess of Alba and the home of the Alba House Foundation with a collection of works by great masters. Behind the palace is the baroque barracks of Conde Duca, built in 1720, which now houses municipal services, as well as exhibition halls and the municipal library. In the summer, concerts and evening performances are held in the courtyard.
In addition, in the city you can find many excellent architectural examples of various artistic styles of the XIX and XX century, as well as a large number of parks and gardens. Especially good is the Retiro Park, built in the XVII century as a recreation area for royalty. The park covers an area of 150 hectares, on which more than 15 thousand trees grow, there is a lake, a lot of various gardens have been destroyed, and many monuments have been erected, among which the Velasquez Palace and the Glass Palace - a huge greenhouse of glass and steel. The tragic element of this beautiful park is the Bosque de los Auxentes Monument, erected in memory of the victims of the Madrid terrorist attack on 11 March 2004.
The Botanical Botanical Garden of Real-Hardin Botanico was created in the 18th century by the decree of King Carlos III and is famous for its bars, carved doors and an old greenhouse in the style of neoclassicism. The country estate of Casa de Campo is spread over an area of 1,722 hectares on the right bank of the Manzanares River. There are a zoo and an amusement park, there is a rowing channel, swimming pools, tennis courts and other sports facilities. Fauniya Ecological and Thematic Park is one vast museum of natural science with its own zoo, focused on entertainment and education of children. There are eight ecosystems - from tropical rain forests to polar deserts - and contains more than 1500 animals, many of which live in large enclosures that do not restrict freedom of movement.