Magerit, 'land rich in water' is how the Arabs called this area on the central plain of the Iberian Peninsula, close to Sierra de Guadarrama, where King Phillip II of Spain later established the royal court. Later on, it grew into the big city that we now know as Madrid.
Madrid is the capital of Spain, and is home to the Spanish Royal family as well as the Spanish Government. It is a modern metropolitan city and aneconomical and industrial center of Spain, and, with its population of nearly 3,5 million people, is also the biggest city in Spain.
Madrid was built from upon the village of Mayrit, on the banks of the river Manzanares. 'Mayrit' means 'plenty of waterways', which is why the city's first recorded coat of arms read, 'I was built on water / My walls are made of fire / This is my flag and my coat of arms'.
Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Madrid was the capital of a huge empire; Madrid drew writers, artists, fortune hunters and members of the "movida" was the democratic transition that came after Franco's dictatorship, and people were eager to try it all. The city saw an explosion of new artistic productions.
Experience Madrid through the ages and the cosmopolitan Madrid of today!
Top 10 Places to Visit in Madrid
Paseo del Arte
If you're a lover of classic and modern art, you'll find the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía Museum.
The largest royal palace in Western Europe.
Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol, the centre of Madrid, where the main streets meet.
An arcaded square located in the historical centre of the city.
Puerta de Alcalá
Built for Charles III in the 18th century, and is one of the most iconic monuments in Madrid.
Found at the beginning of the Paseo de Arte, this fountain is an icon of Madrid.
Las Ventas Bullring
The most famous bullfighting ring in the world.
El Retiro Park
A green oasis in the centre of the city.
Spain's best known street market dates back to mediaeval times.
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
Go behind the scenes of Real Madrid, visit the club's museum and see the players' changing rooms.