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Madrid ( ; , colloquially ) is the capital and largest city of Spainmarker. It is the third-most populous municipality in the European Union after Greater Londonmarker and Berlinmarker, and its metropolitan area is the third-most populous city by urban area in the European Union after Paris and Londonmarker.

The city is located on the river Manzanares in the centre of both the countrymarker and the Community of Madridmarker (which comprises the city of Madrid, its conurbation and extended suburbs and villages); this community is bordered by the autonomous communities of Castile and Leónmarker and Castile-La Manchamarker. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political centre of Spain. The current mayor is Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón from the People's Party. He has been in office since 2003, when he left the Presidency of the Autonomous Community of Madrid and stood as the candidate to replace outgoing mayor José María Álvarez del Manzano, also from the PP. In the last local elections of 2007, Ruiz-Gallardón increased the PP majority in the City Council to 34 seats out of 57, taking 55.5% of the popular vote and winning in all but two districts.

Due to its economic output, standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial centre of the Iberian Peninsulamarker; it hosts the head offices of the vast majority of the major Spanish companies, as well as the headquarters of three of the world's 100 largest companies (Telefónica, Repsol-YPF, Banco Santander).

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 huge Royal Palace of Madridmarker; the Teatro Realmarker (Royal theatre) with its restored 1850 Opera House; the Buen Retiro parkmarker, founded in 1631; the imposing 19th-century National Library building (founded in 1712) containing some of Spain's historical archives; an archaeological museummarker; and three superb art museums: Prado Museummarker, which hosts one of the finest art collections in the world, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofíamarker, a museum of modern art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museummarker, housed in the renovated Villahermosa Palace.

The population of the city is roughly 3.2 million (as of December 2005), while the estimated urban area population is 5.1 million. The entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area (urban area and suburbs) is calculated to be 5.84 million. The city spans a total of 698 km² (234 sq mi).

Names of the city

Fountain of Apollo or of the Four Seasons, at the Paseo del Prado

There are several theories regarding the origin of the name "Madrid". According to legend Madrid was founded by Ocno Bianor (son of King Tyrrhenius of Tuscany and Mantuamarker) and was named "Metragirta" or "Mantua Carpetana". Others contend that the original name of the city was "Ursaria" ("land of bears" in Latin), due to the high number of these animals that were found in the adjacent forests, which, together with the strawberry tree ("madroño" in Spanish), have been the emblem of the city from the Middle Ages.

Nevertheless, it is now commonly believed that the origin of the current name of the city comes from the 2nd century B.C. The Roman Empire established a settlement on the banks of the Manzanares river. The name of this first village was "Matrice" (a reference to the river that crossed the settlement). Following the invasions of the Germanic Sueves, Vandals and Alans during the fifth century A.D., the Roman Empire could not defend its territories on the Iberian Peninsula, and were therefore overrun by the Visigoths. The barbarian tribes subsequently took control of "Matrice". In the 7th century the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula saw the name changed to "Mayrit", from the Arabic term "Mayra" (referencing water as a "trees" or "giver of life") and the Ibero-Roman suffix "it" that means "place". The modern "Madrid" evolved from the Mozarabic "Matrit", which is still in the Madrilenian gentilic.


Middle Ages

Although the site of modern-day Madrid has been occupied since pre-historic times, in the Roman era this territory belonged to the diocese of Complutummarker (present-day Alcalá de Henares). There are archeological remains of a small village during the visigoth epoch, whose name might have been adopted later by Arabs. The origins of the modern city come from the 9th century, when Muhammad I ordered the construction of a small palace in the same place that is today occupied by the Palacio Realmarker. Around this palace a small citadel, al-Mudaina, was built.Near that palace was the Manzanares, which the Muslims called al-Majrīṭ (Arabic: المجريط, "source of water"). From this came the naming of the site as Majerit, which later evolved into the modern-day spelling of Madrid. The citadel was conquered in 1085 by Christian king Alfonso VI of Castile in his advance towards Toledomarker. He reconsecrated the mosque as the church of the Virgin of Almudena (almudin, the garrison's granary). In 1329, the Cortes Generales first assembled in the city to advise Alfonso XI of Castile. Sephardi Jews and Moors continued to live in the city until they were expelled at the end of the 15th century.After troubles and a large fire, Henry III of Castile (1379–1406) rebuilt the city and established himself safely fortified outside its walls in El Pardomarker. The grand entry of Ferdinand and Isabella to Madrid heralded the end of strife between Castile and Aragon.


The Kingdom of Castile, with its capital at Toledomarker, and the Crown of Aragon, with its capital at Zaragozamarker, were welded into modern Spain by the Catholic Monarchs (Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon).

Though their grandson Charles I of Spain (also known as Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor) favoured Seville, it was Charles' son, Philip II (1527–1598) who moved the court to Madrid in 1561. Although he made no official declaration, the seat of the court was the de facto capital. Sevillemarker continued to control commerce with Spain's colonies, but Madrid controlled Seville.

Aside from a brief period, 1601-1606, when Felipe III installed his court in Valladolidmarker, Madrid's fortunes have closely mirrored those of Spain.
Alcalá Street.
During the Siglo de Oro (Golden Century), in the 16th/17th century, Madrid bore little resemblance to other European capitals, as the population of the city was economically dependent on the business of the court itself, and there was no other significant activity.

From 19th century to present day

Plaza de Castilla
In the late 1800s, Isabel II could not suppress the political tension that would lead to yet another revolt, the First Spanish Republic. This was later followed by the return of the monarchy to Madrid, then the creation of the Second Spanish Republic, preceding the Spanish Civil War.

Madrid was one of the most heavily affected cities of Spain by the Civil War (1936–1939). The city was a stronghold of the Republicans from July 1936. Its western suburbs were the scene of an all-out battle in November 1936 and it was during the Civil War that Madrid became the first city to be bombed by airplanes specifically targeting civilians in the history of warfare. (See Siege of Madrid ).

During the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, especially during the 1960s, the south of Madrid became very industrialized, and there were massive migrations from rural areas of Spain into the city. Madrid's south-eastern periphery became an extensive working class settlement, which was the base for an active cultural and political reform.

After the death of Franco, emerging democratic parties (including those of left-wing and republican ideology) accepted King Juan Carlos I as both Franco's successor and as the heir of the historic dynasty - in order to secure stability and democracy. This led Spain to its current position as a constitutional monarchy, with Madrid as capital.

Benefiting from increasing prosperity in the 1980s and 1990s, the capital city of Spain has consolidated its position as an important economic, cultural, industrial, educational, and technological center on the European continent.



The region of Madrid has a Continental Mediterranean climate (Köppen Dsa) with cooler winters, due to altitude, including sporadic snowfalls and minimum temperatures usually below 0 °C (32 °F). Summer tends to be hot with temperatures that consistently surpass 30 °C (86 °F) in July and that can rarely reach 40 °C (104 °F). Due to Madrid's altitude and dry climate, nightly temperatures tend to be cooler, leading to a lower average in the summer months. Precipitation levels are low, but precipitation can be observed throughout the year. Summer and winter are the driest seasons, with most rainfall occurring in the autumn and spring.

Water supply

Madrid derives almost 50 percent of its water supply from dams and reservoirs built on the Lozoya River, such as the El Atazar Dammarker.


Madrid is administratively divided into 21 districts, which are further subdivided into 128 wards (barrios)

Fuencarral-El Pardomarker
  • El Pardo
  • Fuentelarreina
  • Peñagrande
  • Barrio del Pilar
  • La Paz
  • Valverde
  • Mirasierra
  • El Goloso.
  • Palomas
  • Valdefuentes
  • Canillas
  • Pinar del Rey
  • Apóstol Santiago
  • Piovera
  • Alameda de Osuna
  • Aeropuerto
  • Barajas
  • Timón
  • Corralejos.
  • Casa de Campo
  • Argüelles
  • Ciudad Universitaria
  • Valdezarza
  • Valdemarín
  • El Plantío
  • Aravaca.
  • Bellas Vistas
  • Cuatro Caminos
  • Castillejos
  • Almenara
  • Valdeacederas
  • Estrecho
  • El Viso
  • Prosperidad
  • Ciudad Jardín
  • Hispanoamérica
  • Nueva España
  • Pza. Castilla.
Ciudad Linealmarker
  • Ventas
  • Pueblo Nuevo
  • Quintana
  • La Concepción
  • San Pascual
  • San Juan Bautista
  • Colina
  • Atalaya
  • Costillares.
San Blas
  • Simancas
  • Hellín
  • Amposta
  • Arcos
  • Rosas
  • Rejas
  • Canillejas
  • Salvador.
San Blas
  • Gaztambide
  • Arapiles
  • Trafalgar
  • Almagro
  • Vallehermoso
  • Ríos Rosas.
  • Recoletos
  • Goya
  • Fuente del Berro
  • Guindalera
  • Lista
  • Castellana.
  • Palacio
  • Embajadores
  • Cortes
  • Justicia
  • Universidad
  • Sol.
  • Pacífico
  • Adelfas
  • Estrella
  • Ibiza
  • Jerónimos
  • Niño Jesús
  • Pavones
  • Horcajo
  • Marroquina
  • Media Legua
  • Fontarrón
  • Vinateros.
  • Vicálvaro
  • Ambroz
  • Los Cármenes
  • Puerta del Ángel
  • Lucero, Aluche
  • Las Águilas
  • Campamento
  • Cuatro Vientos.
  • Paseo Imperial
  • Acacias
  • Chopera
  • Legazpi
  • Delicias
  • Palos de la Frontera
  • Atocha
Puente de Vallecas
  • Entrevías
  • San Diego
  • Palomeras Bajas
  • Palomeras Sureste
  • Portazgo
  • Numancia
  • Vallecas
  • Santa Eugenia.
  • Comillas
  • Opañel
  • San Isidro
  • Vista Alegre
  • Puerta Bonita
  • Buenavista
  • Abrantes.
  • Orcasitas
  • Orcasur
  • San Fermín
  • Almendrales
  • Moscardó
  • Zofio
  • Pradolongo
  • San Andrés
  • San Cristóbal
  • Butarque
  • Los Rosales
  • Los Ángeles

The Madrid Metropolitan Area population density.

Metropolitan Area

The Madrid Metropolitan Area ( ) comprises the city of Madridand forty surrounding municipalities. It has a populationof slightly more than 5.8 million people and covers an areaof 4.609,7 km². It is the largest metropolitan area in Spainmarker and by one measure the fourth largest in European Union and the 45th largest in the world.

As with many metropolitan areas of similar size, two distinct zones of urbanisation can be distinguished: The largest suburbs are to the South, and in general along the main routes leading out of Madrid.

Submetropolitan areas

A new project, has stated there are more submetropolitan areas inside Madrid metropolitan area:
Submetropolitan area
Madrid - Majadahondamarker 996.1 3,580,828 3,595.0
Móstolesmarker 315.1 430,349 1,365.6
Fuenlabradamarker - Leganésmarker - Getafemarker - Parlamarker - Pinto - Valdemoromarker 931.7 822,806 883.1
Alcobendasmarker 266.4 205,905 772.9
Arganda del Reymarker - Rivas-Vaciamadridmarker 343.6 115,344 335.7
Alcalá de Henaresmarker - Torrejón de Ardozmarker 514.6 360,380 700.3
Colmenar Viejomarker - Tres Cantosmarker 419.1 104,650 249.7
Collado Villalbamarker 823.1 222,769 270.6
Madrid metropolitan area 4,609.7 5,843,031 1,267.6


Puerta del Sol square
Plaza del Callao
Red de San Luis

Although the site of Madrid has been occupied since prehistoric times, the first historical data that concerns the city dates from the middle of the ninth Century, when Mohammad I ordered the construction of a small palace (site occupied now by the Palacio Real).Around this palace there was built a small citadel (al-Mudaina). The palace was built overlooking the River Manzanares, which the Muslims called Mayrit meaning source of water (which in turn became Magerit, and then eventually Madrid). The citadel was conquered in 1085 by Alfonso VI in his advance towards Toledo. He reconsecrated the mosque as the church of the Virgin of Almudena (almudin, the garrison's granary), now the Catedral de la Almudenamarker. In 1329 the Cortes first assembled in Madrid to advise Fernando IV. Jews and Moors continued to live in the city in their quarter, still known today as the "Moreria", until they were expelled.The Royal Palace of Madridmarker and the buildings and monuments of the Paseo del Prado (Salón del Prado and Alcalá Gate) deserve special mention. They were constructed in a sober Baroque international style, often mistaken for neoclassical, by the Bourbon kings.Plans for the construction of a new cathedral for Madrid dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena began in the 16th century, but the slow construction did not begin until 1879. Francisco de Cubas, the Marquis of Cubas, was the architect who designed and directed the construction in a Gothic revival style. Construction ceased completely during the Spanish Civil War. The project was abandoned until 1950, when Fernando Chueca Goitia adapted the plans of de Cubas to a neoclassical style exterior to match the grey and white façade of the Palacio Realmarker, which stands directly opposite. and was not completed until 1993, when the cathedral was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. On Calle Princesa, in the heart of the district of Moncloa, lies el Ejército del Aire, the headquarters of the Spanish Air Force. A scaled-down replica of the famous Monastery San Lorenzo del Escorial which lies about 50 kilometers northeast of Madrid, el Ejército del Aire is a classic example of Fascist Neoclassicism in Madrid.

The financial district in downtown Madrid between the streets Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, Orense, General Perón and Paseo de la Castellana, its original conception (and its name) to the "Plan General de Ordenación Urbana de Madrid", approved in 1946. The purpose of this plan was to create a huge block of modern office buildings with metro and railway connections in the expansion area of northern Madrid, just in front of Real Madrid stadium (currently named the Santiago Bernabéu Stadiummarker) and beside the brand new government complex of Nuevos Ministerios. A botanical garden, a library and an opera house were also included in the plans, but these were never built.Cuatro Torres Business Areamarker is a business park currently under construction. The area will contain the tallest skyscrapers in Madrid and Spain (Torre Espaciomarker, Torre de Cristalmarker, Torre Sacyr Vallehermosomarker and Torre Caja Madridmarker).

Madrid Barajas International Airportmarker 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 February 5, 2006. Terminal 4 is one of the world's largest terminal areas, with an area of 760,000 square meters (8,180,572 square feet) in two separate terminals. Consisting of a main building, T4 (470,000 square meter), and satellite building, T4S (290,000 square meter), which are separated by approximately 2.5 km. Hong Kong International Airportmarker still holds the title for the world's largest single terminal building (Terminal 1) at 570,000 square meter. The new Terminal 4 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.


Plaza de Colón
Partial view of Centro and Chamartín districts.
Madrid Royal Palace

Madrid is full of green spaces and parkland; in central Madrid the largest park is Parque del Retiromarker, spreading out to the north-east of Atocha Railway station. The station is the core center for high-speed AVE trains, with current lines to Valladolid (North-West), Barcelona (North-East) and Seville (South).

Madrid has many trees, both in parks and on the streets, with about 500,000. In 2005, the city had 300,000 and only Tokyo had more trees (100,000 more), but also had three times more population than Madrid.

Parque del Retiro, formerly the grounds of the palace built for Felipe IV, is Madrid’s most popular park. Its large lake in the middle once staged mini naval sham battles to amuse royalty; these days the more tranquil pastime of pleasure boating is popular. Inspired by London’s crystal palace, the palacio de cristal can be found at the south-eastern end of the park.

In the Retiro Park is also the Forest of the Departedmarker (Spanish Bosque de los Ausentes), a memorial monument to commemorate the 191 victims of the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks.

Atocha Railway Stationmarker is not only the city’s first and most central station but also home to a distinctive indoor garden with 4,000 square meters of tropical plants. Atocha station has become a hothouse destination in itself for plant lovers, with more than 500 species of plant life and ponds with turtle and goldfish in, as well as shops and cafes. It's a nice place to visit on a cold or wet day with its even temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, or even on a scorching summer day as a retreat from the heat.

Casa de Campo is an enormous rural parkland to the west of the city, the largest of all Madrid’s green areas. It’s home to a fairground, zoo and an outdoor municipal pool, to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the park and city take a cable car trip above the tree tops.

The Royal Botanic Garden or Real Jardin Botanico was an 18th century creation by Carlos III, it was used as a base for the plant species being collected across the globe. There is an important research facility that started life as a base to develop herbal remedies and to house the species collected from the new-world trips, today it is dedicated to maintaining Europe’s ecosystem.

The pioneering ecological theme park Faunia, is a natural history museum and zoo combined, aimed at being fun and educational for children. It comprises eight eco-systems from tropical rain forests to polar regions, and contains over 1,500 animals, some of which roam freely


Economy from Middle Ages to 20th century

During the end of the Middle Ages, Madrid experienced astronomic growth as a consequence of its establishment as the new capital of the Spanish Empire. As Spain (like many other European countries) continued to centralize royal authority, this meant that Madrid took on greater importance as a center of administration for the Spanish Kingdommarker. It evolved to become an important nucleus of artisanal activity that eventually experienced industrial revolution during of the 19th century. The city made even greater strides at expansion during the 20th century, especially after the Spanish Civil War, reaching levels of industrialization found in other European capital cities. The economy of the city was then centered on diverse manufacturing industries such as those related to motor vehicles, aircraft, chemicals, electronic devices, pharmaceuticals, processed food, printed materials, and leather goods.

Economy from 1992 to 2008

Pío XII District
Madrid is a major centre for international business and commerce. It is one of Europe's largest financial centres and the largest in Spain.

During the period from 1992 to 2006, Madrid experienced very significant growth in its service sector. The importance of the Barajas Airportmarker to the city's economy is substantial. The construction of housing and public works, such as the ringroads and train network, constituted a major pillar of the economy up to 2006. As Spain has become decentralized politically, Madrid has taken on a smaller administrative profile as compared to the rest of the Spanish state.

Even so, the Community of Madrid (centered upon the city of Madrid) experienced the highest growth of all the Spanish regions between 2004 to 2006. Its growth rate was higher than for the country as a whole by 1.4% during the period 2000-2006, and that of the Eurozone by 13%.

Madrid has become the 23rd richest city in the world and third richest in Europe in terms of absolute GDP; the economic output for the year 2005 was of $201.5 billion, behind the considerably larger cities of Parismarker ($460 billion) and Londonmarker ($452 billion) and ahead of Moscowmarker and Barcelonamarker. Additionally in terms ofpx GDP per capita, Madrid, in specific the Madrid region is the richest in Spainmarker and one of the richest in Europe. At 133.9% of the European average of 25,800€ (34,572€/$48,313) Madrid is ahead of the all other 8 Spanish regions above 100%. Similarly, Madrid is just 97.8% of New York's purchasing power.

Madrid is one of the cities in the Iberian Peninsulamarker that attracts most foreign investment and job seekers. One of the reasons for this are the wages in Madrid; despite minimum wage being just 740€ in Spainmarker, the average salary in Madrid during 2007 was 2540€, clearly above the Spanish average of 2085€. However in terms of net earnings, Madrid places second in Spainmarker; Madrid is 28th in the world, at 78.6%.

Especially over the last 15 years, the cost of living increased in Madrid. The city has grown to become the 22nd most expensive city in the world in 2008, the highest any Spanish city has ever featured. Although Madrid is still at 80.7% of New Yorkmarker, dramatic rises since 2005 show that Madrid could easily be challenging the cities higher above the ranks very soon.


Year Municipality Communitymarker %
1897 542,739 730,807 74.27
1900 575,675 773,011 74.47
1910 614,322 831,254 73.90
1920 823,711 1,048,908 78.53
1930 1,041,767 1,290,445 80.73
1940 1,322,835 1,574,134 84.04
1950 1,553,338 1,823,418 85.19
1960 2,177,123 2,510,217 86.73
1970 3,120,941 3,761,348 82.97
1981 3,158,818 4,686,895 67.40
1991 3,010,492 4,647,555 64.78
2001 2,938,723 5,423,384 54.19
2005 3,155,359 5,964,143 52.90
2006 3,128,600 6,008,183 52.07
2007 3,132,463 6,081,689 51.51
2008 3,213,271 6,271,638 51.23
Source: INE

The population of Madrid generally increased from when the city became the national capital in the mid-16th century and stabilised at about 3 million from the 1970s.

From around 1970 until the mid 1990s, the city's population dropped. This phenomenon, which also affected other European cities, was caused in part by the growth of satellite suburbs at the expense of the downtown. Another reason might have been the slowdown in the rate of growth of the European economy.

The demographic boom accelerated in the late 1990s and early 2000s due to international immigration, in response to a strong pick-up in Spanish economic growth. For example, according to census data, the population of the city grew by 271,856 between 2001 and 2005.

As the capital city of Spain, the city has attracted many immigrants from around the world. While more than 83.8% of the inhabitants are Spaniards, there are many recent immigrants who come from Latin America, Europe, Asia, North Africa and West Africa representing 16.2% as of 2007.

The ten largest immigrant groups include: Ecuadorianmarker: 104,184, Romanian: 52,875, Bolivianmarker: 44,044, Colombianmarker: 35,971, Peruvianmarker: 35,083, Chinese: 34,666, Moroccanmarker: 32,498, Dominicanmarker: 19,602, Brazilianmarker: 14,583, and Paraguayanmarker: 14,308. There are also important communities of Filipinosmarker, Equatorial Guineansmarker, Bulgariansmarker, Indiansmarker, Italiansmarker, Argentinesmarker, Frenchmarker, Senegalesemarker and Polishmarker.


 See also: List of mayors of Madrid
Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón

The new democracy heralded a successful movement towards increased autonomy for the regions of Spain, considered as autonomous regions, under the umbrella of Spain.

The City Council consists of 57 councilors, one of them being the Mayor, currently Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón Jiménez. The Mayor presides over the Council. In the 2007 regional an local elections, the conservative Popular Party obtained 34 seats, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) obtained 18, and United Left obtained 5.

The Plenary of the Council, is the body of political representation of the citizens in the municipal government. Some of its attributions are: fiscal matters, the election and deposition of the Mayor, the approval and modification of decrees and regulations, the approval of budgets, the agreements related to the limits and alteration of the municipal term, the services management, the participation in supramunicipal organizations, etc.

Madrid has tended to be a stronghold of the People's Party, which has controlled the city's mayoralty since 1989.


Madrid is one of Spain's most popular destinations and is renowned for its large quantity of cultural attractions.


Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations concerning art museums. Best known is the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three museums. The most famous one is the Prado Museummarker, the most popular Golden Triangle of Art member known for such highlights as Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas and Francisco de Goya's La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. The other two museums are the Thyssen Bornemisza Museummarker, established from a mixed private collection, and the Reina Sofia Museummarker. This is where Pablo Picasso's Guernica hangs, returning to Spain from New York after more than two decades.



The Gran Vía and Alcalá Street
Madrid is notable for its nightlife and night clubs. On weekends, Madrilenian youth are known for dancing all night long, stopping only to go home, take a shower, shave (or not), and go to work.
What is also popular is the practice of meeting in parks or streets with friends and drinking alcohol together (this is called 'botellón', from 'botella', bottle), but in recent years, drinking in the street is punished with a fine and now young madrileños drink together all around the city instead of in better-known places. Many places host bands (concerts in Madrid). Nightlife and young cultural awakening flourished after the death of Franco, especially during the 80s while Madrid's mayor Enrique Tierno Galván (PSOE) was in office, at this time is well-known the cultural movement called la movida and it initially gathered around Plaza del Dos de Mayo. Nowadays, the Malasaña area is known for its alternative scene. Some of the most popular night destinations include the neighbourhoods of: Bilbao, Tribunal, Alonso Martinez or Moncloa, together with Puerta del Sol area (including Opera and Gran Via, both adjacent to the popular square) and Huertas (barrio de Las Letras), destinations which are also filled with tourists day and night. The district of Chuecamarker has also become a hot spot in the Madrilenian night life.

Classical music and opera

The Auditorio Nacional de Músicamarker is the main venue for classical music concerts in Madrid, is home to the Spanish National Orchestra, the Chamartín Symphony Orchestra and the venue for the symphonic concerts of the Community of Madrid Orchestra and the Madrid Symphony Orchestra. It is also the principal venue for orchestras on tour playing in Madrid. The performs RTVE Symphony Orchestra at the Teatro Monumental.

The Teatro Realmarker is the main opera house in Madrid and its resident orchestra is the Madrid Symphony Orchestra. The Teatro de la Zarzuela is mainly devoted to Zarzuela (the Spanish traditional musical theatre genre), as well as operetta and recitals. The resident orchestra of the theatre is the Community of Madrid Orchestra.

Other concert venues for classical music are the Fundación Joan March and the Auditorio 400marker, devoted to contemporary music.


Madrid hosts the largest Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Spain, Las Ventasmarker, established in 1929. Las Ventas is considered by many to be the world center of bullfighting and has a seating capacity of almost 25,000. Madrid's bullfighting season begins in March and ends in October. Bullfights are held every day during the festivities of San Isidro (Madrid's patron saint) from the middle of March to the middle of June, and every Sunday, and public holiday, the rest of the season. The style of the plaza is Neomudéjar. Las Ventas also hosts music concerts and other events outside of the bullfighting season.

Local festivities

  • May 15, San Isidro Labrador (Madrid's patron saint).
  • June 13, San Antonio de la Florida.
  • July 16-25, Virgen del Carmen festivities (Patron saint of the sea).
  • August 6-14, Virgen de la Paloma festivities (Madrid's patron saint)
  • August 7, San Cayetano (Cascorro neighbourhood's patron saint).
  • August 10, San Lorenzo (Lavapiés neighbourhood's patron saint).
  • November 9, Virgen de la Almudena festivities (Madrid's patron saint).


Madrid is home to Real Madrid, who play in the Estadio Santiago Bernabéumarker. Their supporters are referred to as vikingos, Vikings, or, more commonly, merengues, meringues. Real Madrid is one of the most prestigious football clubs in the world, having won 9 European Cups. Their hometown rivals, Atlético Madrid, are also well supported in the city, and their supporters are called los sufridores, the sufferers. The players are referred to as colchoneros, mattresses, in reference to the teams red & white jerseys having been determined by mattress material being the cheapest at the time of the club's formation. Madrid's contribution to the sport is further noticed by the fact that it hosted the 1982 FIFA World Cup final. Along with Barcelonamarker, Glasgowmarker and Lisbonmarker Madrid is one of four cities in Europe to contain two UEFA 5-star stadia: Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéumarker and Atlético Madrid's Vicente Calderónmarker both meet the criteria.

Some of Spain's top footballers are Madrileños, including Real Madrid legend Emilio Butragueño and co (La Quinta del Buitre, "The Vulture's Cohort"), Liverpool's Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres and Real Madrid veterans Raúl González and Iker Casillas.

Madrid also boasts a prominent place in Spanish basketball, with two clubs in the country's top-level Liga ACB. Real's basketball section has won the European championship more times than any other club, and is also a fixture in the modern version of that competition, the Euroleague.

The city is also host to the Circuito Permanente Del Jaramamarker, a motorsport race circuit which formerly hosted the Formula One Spanish Grand Prixmarker. Historically, the city serves as the last stage of the Vuelta a España cyclist classic in the same way as Parismarker does in the Tour de France.

Skiing is possible in the nearby mountains of the Sierra de Guadarramamarker, where the ski resorts of Valdesqui and Navacerrada are located.

The city bid for hosting the 1972 Summer Olympics, the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the 2016 Summer Olympics, which were lost to Munichmarker, Londonmarker, and Rio de Janeiromarker respectively.


State Education in Spain is free, and compulsory from 6 to 16 years. The current education system is called LOGSE (Ley de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo).


Madrid is home to a large number of public and private universities. The Autonomous University of Madrid is the number one ranked public university in Spain , and was instituted under the leadership of the physicist, Nicolás Cabrera. Known simply as la Autónoma in Madrid, its main site is the Cantoblanco Campus, situated to the northeast of the capital (M-607) and close to the municipal areas of Madrid, namely Alcobendasmarker, San Sebastián de los Reyesmarker, Tres Cantosmarker and Colmenar Viejomarker.

Another university is the Complutense University of Madridmarker founded in 1293, which is one of the oldest universities in the world. It has 10,000 staff members and a student population of 117,000. It is located on two campuses, in the university quarter Ciudad Universitaria at Moncloa in Madrid, and in Somosaguas.

Other universities in Madrid: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (public), Technical University of Madrid (public), Universidad Pontificia Comillasmarker (private), Rey Juan Carlos University (public), Universidad Alfonso X, Universidad Antonio de Nebrija, Universidad Camilo José Cela, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca Campus de Madrid, Saint Louis University Madrid Campus and Universidad San Pablo CEU (all of them private).

Madrid is also home to the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía, the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid and many other private educational institutions.

Business Schools

IE Business Schoolmarker (formerly Instituto de Empresa) has its main campus on the border of the Chamartín and Salamanca districts of Madrid. IE Business School recently ranked #1 in WSJ's 2009 rankings for Best MBA Programs under 2 years. It scored ahead of usual stalwarts, INSEAD and IMDmarker, giving it top billing amongst International MBA programs. Although based in Barcelonamarker, both IESE Business Schoolmarker and ESADE Business Schoolmarker also have Madrid campuses. These three schools are the top-ranked business schools in Spain, consistently rank among the top 20 business schools globally, and offer MBA programs (in English or Spanish) as well as other business degrees. Other Madrid universities that have MBA programs include:



Madrid Barajas Airport (T4 Station)
Madrid is served by Barajas Airportmarker. Barajas 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 52 million passengers per year, putting it in the top 20 busiest airports in the world. 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 Councillor of Transports of the Community of Madridmarker, 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, first of them will be located in Campo Real, it will be initially be used for cargo flights, but also as hub for low-cost carriers, and the second one, expected to be built between the two municipalities of El Álamo and Navalcarneromarker, which will only take over the routes operating in Cuatro Vientos Airportmarker

National Rail

Madrid Metro Map
Spain's railway system, the Red Nacional de Ferrocarriles Españoles (Renfe) operates the vast majority of Spain's railways. In Madrid, the main rail terminals are Atochamarker in the south and Chamartínmarker 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 (4,350 mi) network, centered 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 Barcelonamarker. As of 2008, AVE high-speed trains link Atocha station to Sevillemarker, Málagamarker and Toledomarker in the south and to Zaragozamarker, Lleidamarker, Tarragonamarker and Barcelonamarker in the east. AVE trains also arrive from Valladolidmarker and Segoviamarker.

RENFE offers:


A modern metro train (type 8000).
Serving a population of some four million, the Madrid Metro 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 kilometers (176 miles) of line. The province of Madrid is also served by an extensive commuter rail network of 370 kilometers (230 miles) called Cercanías.

International relations

Twin towns

Madrid is twinned with:

Sister cities

Other historic buildings

File:Basílica Pontificia de San Miguel (Madrid) 01.jpg|St. Michael's Basilicamarker.File:Iglesia Parroquial de Santa Bárbara (Madrid) 01.jpg|Convent of the Salesas Realesmarker.File:Catedral de la Almudena from Casa de Campo.jpg|Almudena Cathedralmarker.File:Museo del Prado-front.JPG|Principal facade of the Prado Museummarker.File:Basílica de San Francisco el Grande (Madrid) 05.jpg|San Francisco el Grande Basilica, Madridmarker.File:Casa de la Villa (Madrid) 02.jpg|Casa de la Villa.File:Plaza de Oriente (Madrid) 11.jpg|Monarchs´s statues in the Plaza de Oriente.File:Puerta de Alcalá 2.jpg|Puerta de Alcalámarker.File:Palacio de El Pardo fachada lateral.jpg|Royal Palace of El Pardomarker.File:Casa Gallardo (Madrid) 01.jpg|Casa Gallardo.File:Iglesia de San Ginés (Madrid) 02.jpg|San Ginés Churchmarker.File:Iglesia de San Jerónimo el Real (Madrid) 03.jpg|San Jerónimo el Real.File:Iglesia de las Calatravas (Madrid) 03.jpg|Las Calatravas Church.File:Real_Compañía_Asturiana_de_Minas_(Madrid)_01.jpg|Real Compañía Asturiana de Minas.File:Ministerio de Agricultura (Madrid) 02.jpg|View of the (now) Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food headquarters.File:Iglesia de San Manuel y San Benito (Madrid) 07.jpg|San Manuel y San Benito Church.File:Iglesia de San Francisco de Sales (Madrid) 01.jpg|San Francisco de Sales Church.File:Convento de las Salesas Reales (Madrid) 01.jpg|Collegate Church of Santa Bárbara.File:Ministerio del Aire (Madrid) 02.jpg|Spanish Air Force Headquarters.File:Hospital de Maudes (Madrid) 01.jpg|Hospital de Maudes.


  1. Instituto Nacional de Estadística (National Statistics Institute)
  2. Pre-historic times in Madrid (Spanish Only)
  3. Wunderground Forecast for Spain
  4. Foreign Population in the city of madrid. A study by the Dirección General de Estadística of the municipality of Madrid
  5. Pleno de Madrid (Spanish Only)
  6. Mondosonoro - Bandas en Madrid
  7. History of the Teatro de la Zarzuela
  8. Teatro de la Zarzuela - Timeout Madrid
  9. Sistema Educativo LOE by the Spanish Ministry of Education(Spanish Only)
  10. Preliminary Air Traffic Results for 2006 from Airports Council International

See also

External links

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