Apartments in Madrid.

Madrid's History

Madrid view
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Madrid is one of Europe’s most hospitable, cosmopolitan and lively cities, with wide avenues, attractive parks and a great sense of joie de vivre. The enchantment of Old , the extraordinary collections in the museums, among the world’s finest, the magnificent monuments, the beautiful avenues and lovely parks are just some of the attractions the city offers to visitors.

In addition, Madrid is famed for lively, intense nightlife. Nights here go on till dawn, and there is plenty of entertainment for all tastes.

While proud of its past, Madrid is most certainly a modern capital on the move, its urban environment and its inhabitants always up-to-date. It is a city open to the world.

Madrid in the past

Apartments Madrid, an unimportant village until the Moorish invasion, owes its name to the fortress (alcazar) of Majerit built during the rule of Mohamed I on the banks of the Manzanares in the 9C. In 1083 it was captured by Alfonso VI, who, it is said, discovered a statue of the Virgin by a granary (almudín) as the entered the town. He then converted the town mosque into a church, dedicating it to the Virgin of the Almudena who was decjared the city patron. From the 14C the kings of Castilla came regularly to Mafrid. The medieval town expanded raplidy and the population tripled (at the time of the king’s death, there were 60.000 people living in Madrid). Its layout of winding streets can still be seen today around Plaza Mayor.

The town rally began to develop under the last of the Habsburgs, in the middle of Spain’s Golden Age (16C). During the reign of Philip III, Juan Gomez de Mora undertook a series of reforms and from then on Plaza Mayor was to be the heart of the city. The town plan drawn up in 1656 by Pedro Texeira, gives a cood impression of Madrid under Philip IV, when it had a large number of convents and churches. The king was an art lover who gave his patronage to many artists including Velázquez and Murillo, as well as men of letters such as Lope de Vega, Quevedo, Calderón and Tirso de Molina.

From a town to a city

It was in the 18C under the Bourbons that the town underwent it greatest transformations. Philip V decided to built a royal palace, and Charles III, inspired by ideas from European courts, provided Madrid with splendour hitherto unknown. This was the Prado and the Puerta de Alcalá,
magnificent examples of neo-Classical town planning. In turn, the nobility began building palaces, such as Liria and Buenavista, which they surrounded with gardens.

The 19C began with occupation by the French and the Madrid rebellion of May 1808 and the brutal reprisals it provoked. In the second half of the 19C, Madrid underwent great alteration: in 1857 the remaining ramparts were demolished and a vast expansion plan (ensanche) gave rise to the districts of Chamberi, Salamanca and Argüelles, and, at the end of the century, Arturo Soria’s Ciudad Lineal, a revolutionary town planning project.
At the beginning of the 20C, architecture was French-inspired, as can be seen in the Ritz and Palace hotels ; the neo-Mudejar style was also popular and brick façades so characteristic of Madrid’s new districts, was inaugurated in 1910 and the since been popularised in an operetta (zarzuela).

Madrid today

As capital Madrid is Spain’s leading city as far as banks, insurance companies, universities, administrative bodies and political institutions are concerned. Its is also an important industrial and technological centre.
The business district, centred around the Puerta de Alcalá and Paseo de la Castellana, was modified extensively between 1950 and 1960 when traditional mansions were demolished to make room for new buildings. The city’s most modern edifices may be seen in the AZCA area, the result of fulfil various administrative, residential and commercial functions. Among its most noteworthy buildings are the avant-garde Banco de Bilbao-Vizcaya and the Torre Picaso.

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