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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

Welcome to my thread about the cities of Spain. I have visited more cities in Spain than any other country in Europe (even the UK!) as I spend many holidays in Spain and have just finished a period of nine months living in Madrid. Also, in light of photobucket's botch job at updating its site, all my other Spanish threads have become redundant as all the picture links have changed. So, city by city, I will showcase all my photographs here. Of course, some will have been seen before but others I never managed to upload and have been waiting for time to create this sort of thread.

Spain has every reason to be proud of its cities. I was largely very impressed by what I have seen over the years in different parts of the country. I will show here cities from central, southern and eastern Spain. My next mission will be to explore the north.

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
MADRID, Comunidad de Madrid


MADRID, Comunidad de Madrid

What better place to start than the Spanish capital, where I spent October 2012 - June 2013. Madrid has been the capital of Spain since the 17th century. The name Madrid comes from the arabic "magerit" which means 'place of many streams'. The population of Madrid was 950 000 in 1900 but has grown to what it is now, over 3 million. Situated in the centre of the country, Madrid is 300 km from the sea and is located on a plateau 650 metres above sea level. Consequently, it is the highest capital city in Europe. This also results in its predominantly dry climate, hot to very hot in summer and sometimes quite chilly in winter. Madrid enjoys more cloudless days than many other cities in Europe.

The city is perhaps most well known for its art and its sport. Madrid has three art galleries in close proximity called the Golden Triangle, they consist of the Prado which has four thousand works of art including Botticelli, El Bosco, Velazquez and Goya. The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza features works by Renoir and Van Eyck. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia completes the triangle, this gallery houses twentieth century Spanish art including Guernica by Picasso. According to FIFA, Real Madrid FC is the world's most successful football club of the 20th century. Their stadium is called Bernabéu, and is located between Chamartín and Nuevos Ministerios in the North of Madrid. The capacity is 85,000 spectators.

Of course, I was there during arguably Spain's worst economic crisis of the modern era. However, Madrid's transport is highly commendable. Although I did not use it, the bus system seems very reliable and extensive. Equally, the metro is probably the cleanest I have been on anywhere and the train services are equally as good. Madrid has two main railway stations: Chamartín (north) and Atocha (south). The airport of Madrid is called Barajas and is just outside the city.

So enough of that. Let's explore Madrid, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.
 

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MADRID
Plaza Mayor & Los Austrias​

This central area, mainly to the west of Plaza Mayor was the spiritual and physical heart of Madrid when the House of Austria (the Habsburgs) ruled Spain, beginning with the autocratic, imperialist era of Felipe II in 1561, ending with the pathetic decline of Carlos II's reign in 1700.

It's northern boundaries take in the Convento de las Descalzas Reales and the Real Monasterio de la Encarnación above Calle de Arenal, while its western end covers the Vistillas area overlooking Casa del Campo, and its southern fringe encompasses the huge church of San Francisco el Grande. The area's eastern limits are the Palacio de la Cruz and Iglesia de la Cruz, close to Plaza Jacinto Benavente.































 

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MADRID
La Latina​

La Latina is arguably an extension of the Habsburg area of Madrid pictured in the previous post. However, it has a feel of its own and is very popular for nights out and tapas due to the lower prices, further away from the touristy areas of Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Of course, during the day there is plenty more to see, as shown here:





























 

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MADRID
Palacio Real & Surrounds​

The Palacio Real and its surrounding squares and gardens were created at the height of the Bourbon rule, a period of flamboyant tastes inspired by France and Italy. The area extends immediately to the west of Habsburg Madrid, starting with the Teatro Real, continuing across the Plaza de Oriente to the Palacio Real, and then sloping down to the Campo del Moro gardens that sit between the palace and the Rio Manzanares river. It is bordered to the north and south, respectively, by Plaza de España and Almudena cathedral.



































 

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Great work! from now on I will call you Miguel :)
Haha, you're welcome to it. Glad you like the pictures. :)

Wow I loved those photos! :D
Thanks mate! More to come. :)

Nice work.

Personally, I didn't care much for Madrid, much prefering other Spanish cities. But when I see your beautiful pictures I can't think of why I didn't like it.
Thanks! I suppose people have different tastes. I like Madrid for reasons different to other cities like Barcelona or Valencia for example. It certainly feels more continental than specifically Spanish I think. :)

i'm loving these pictures, miguel! keep them coming. :D
Thanks! More are coming. :)

Indeed very nice photos from Spain; i am expecting more Mike :cheers:
Thanks again! Stay tuned for more. :)
 

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MADRID
Puerta del Sol, Alcalá & Huertas​

One of my favourite areas of the city, this district at the core of Madrid has spiritual, political and cultural significance. Its many points of interest range from churches, old convents and the Parliament to literary taverns, theatres and cafe-filled squares.

The area spreads east and southeast from Puerta del Sol, Madrid's answer to Piccadilly Circus or Times Square. In the 15th century it was the city's easternmost gate; today the area;s northern boundaries begin with the long wide Calle Alcalá, which heads up past the Retiro and Ventas bullring, eventually reaching the suburbs of eastern Madrid before continuing to... Alcalá de Henares. The southernmost extent is probably Calle Atocha.

Perhaps the historic and touristic focal point is the French-influenced Plaza Santa Ana, across which run the Carrera de San Jerónimo - home to the Spanish Parliament, and the narrow Calle Huertas, where one can find some of the liveliest bars of the city. Locals call it the street that never sleeps.























































 

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MADRID
Paseo del Prado​

This grand boulevard, forming the southern stretch of the Paseo de Castellana, is a monument to Carlos III's vision of a centre of Enlightenment. It is here that you can find the famous Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and (close-by) Reina Sofia art museums.

Lined with huge trees and stylish buildings it is the most richly attractive paseo of the Prado, Recoletos and Castellana. The avenue tends to become more boring as you head north towards Nuevos Ministerios and beyond. Here, on the eastern edge of the 18th-century town, the enlightened despot Carlos III built a kind of cultural green belt: a cluster of scientific institutions situated around a grand open-air salon where carriages circled around a promenade. The two surviving elements from his original plans are the Observatorio Astronómico and the spelndid Jardín Botánico.

Nevertheless, the basic shape of the planned area remains the same, albeit modified to accomodate modern traffic. Indeed, in the last two decades or so new impetus has been given to Carlos III's vision of a centre of Enlightenment. The addition of two major state-owned fine-art museums, both within a stone's throw of the Museo del Prado, has converted the paseo into one of the world's greatest concentrations of fine art open to the public, and the Atocha roundabout has been re-landscaped to make it more pedestrian-friendly.















































 

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vagamundo
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It's great to see your evolution towards my country throughout the years. I still remember your first threads when you joining the forum some years ago. It seems that it really caugh your eye somehow. Glad to know it :)

I lived in Madrid some years and I don't think so that it feels more continental than specifically Spanish. Maybe, what leads people to believe so is the stereotype they have, imagining Spain as a whole as those cities in Andalusia and the Mediterranean coastline. I think that we could define Madrid as a pure Castilian city with cosmopolitan hints through the last centuries, specially with Italian influence (can be spotted in some iconic buildings such as Palacio Real).

Apart from that, the city has improved a lot during the last decade and has brought to the front page some areas that used to be unknown and now they are trendy and populous (for example, Chueca). There are some new projects to revitalize some other areas and I hope they are as succesful as the previous ones were in the city centre.

Speaking about the coat of arms, it's a bear leaning against a strawberry tree. You can find it in many places (the statue in Puerta del Sol, Atletico de Madrid's logo, sewer lids, etc.) Here you are:



Thank you for sharing the pics.
 

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^ nice one, miguel! :D
Bristol Mike :applause:
Thanks very much guys! :)

I've never seen this shield in my life! :crazy:
Great pics Mike, waiting for more!
It s seal of Madrid last name, not Madrid comunidad.



Thanks Bristol, greats and nice pics.
Haha. Thanks for that, I wasn't sure if it was or wasn't but I've seen it in other places too so it seemed plausible. :)

It's great to see your evolution towards my country throughout the years. I still remember your first threads when you joining the forum some years ago. It seems that it really caugh your eye somehow. Glad to know it :)

I lived in Madrid some years and I don't think so that it feels more continental than specifically Spanish. Maybe, what leads people to believe so is the stereotype they have, imagining Spain as a whole as those cities in Andalusia and the Mediterranean coastline. I think that we could define Madrid as a pure Castilian city with cosmopolitan hints through the last centuries, specially with Italian influence (can be spotted in some iconic buildings such as Palacio Real).

Apart from that, the city has improved a lot during the last decade and has brought to the front page some areas that used to be unknown and now they are trendy and populous (for example, Chueca). There are some new projects to revitalize some other areas and I hope they are as succesful as the previous ones were in the city centre.

Speaking about the coat of arms, it's a bear leaning against a strawberry tree. You can find it in many places (the statue in Puerta del Sol, Atletico de Madrid's logo, sewer lids, etc.) Here you are:



Thank you for sharing the pics.
Thank you for your thoughts. I suppose I mean that many other nationalities come to Madrid (much like London). I met people from France, Germany, USA, Malta & Portugal as well as Britain. I would certainly agree with you that it's a typical Castilian city rather than the stereotypical Mediterranean city which everyone else other than Spaniards think is the case in all of Spain. Nevertheless, a thoroughly enjoyable and lively city. :)

Thank you for sharing your beautiful pics, Mike!. In fact "Magerit" is just the arab version of latin "Matrice" wich is its original name.
Ah right thanks, didn't realise that. :)
 
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