Puerta del Sol. Plaza in Madrid, Spain

Puerta del Sol

Plaza in Madrid, Spain

madrid puerta del sol - HDR Photo © Ramón Durán

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Puerta del Sol

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The Puerta del Sol is one of the most well-known and lively places in Madrid, Spain. It is also the actual center of the city, for this is the starting point of the radial network of roads in the city itself and Spain as a whole. This is Km 0. As one of the busiest and most central public squares in Madrid, the Puerta del Sol is the ideal place to begin any visit to the Spanish capital.

It is home to many features, such as Statue of Charles III, the Casa de Correos, which is now the seat of the regional government of Madrid, and the famous El Oso y El Madroño (Wikipedia Article), a statue that has become the symbol of the city. Additionally, the Puerta del Sol is also a popular meeting place, and the location of many events, celebrations (such as the live broadcast New Year’s celebrations), marches, strikes. and protests. This bustling area used to be located at the edge of the city and was the site of the eastern city gate; a gate that was decorated with an image of the sun. Hence, the name Puerta del Sol, which is Spanish for ‘Gate of the Sun’.

History

The origins of the modern-day Puerta del Sol lay in its purpose as one of the 15th-century city gates. The gate was part of the defensive wall that surrounded the city and separated the city center from the outer medieval suburbs. Since the gate was oriented to the east, it was adorned with a symbol of the rising sun. This gave the gate, and later the square, its name. The square became home of the main post office in the mid-18th century, which resulted in its becoming an important meeting place for couriers from other parts of Spain and even from other countries. It was also frequented by people looking for the latest news. The square’s current semi-circular shape dates back to a major renovation project that took place between 1854 and 1860.

Features

This historically significant and bustling square is home to several important highlights.

Casa de Correos

The main building on the square, the Casa de Correos, was built as the main post office in 1768. The beautiful clock tower was added much later, in 1866. This striking red-brick building has also served as the seat of the Interior Ministry, as the headquarters of the Security Police under the Franco regime and, currently, serves as the seat of the regional government of Madrid.

El Oso y El Madroño

The El Oso y El Madroño statue depicts a bear on its hind legs eating the fruit of a strawberry trees. This is without question the most famous symbol of the city; the tree symbolizes the Madrid aristocracy, while the female bear refers to the fertile soil that surrounds the city.

Statues

Other statues that decorate the square are the equestrian Statue of King Charles III and a replica of the Mariblanca Statue, the original of which can be seen at the Municipal Museum.

Kilometer Zero

The Kilometre Zero (Wikipedia
	Article) plaque is located on the ground in front of the Casa de Correos and marks the center of the Spanish network of roads. This is the starting point from where the distances of all Spanish highways are measured. It is regarded is the symbolic center of Spain.

Visiting the Puerta del Sol

The Puerta del Sol is one of Madrid’s busiest squares. It’s constantly filled with people, no matter if it’s day or night. The square remains lively until well into nights, as many of the nearby bars and nightclubs don’t start entertainment until 1 a0 feet Because of its major highlights and central location, this is a popular meeting place and arguably the very best area to start exploring the city. The square itself is mostly car-free and is surrounded by bars, restaurants and stores. Additionally, there are several streets radiating from the square and leading to other important sights.

How to Get There

It’s not only a meeting place, it is also a transportation hub. Underneath the square lies a subway station that is served by three subway lines, M1, M2, and M3. Those lines go directly to other attractions throughout the city, as well as to the main Atocha railway station. Several streets radiate out from the Puerta del Sol, making it very easy to reach other landmarks on foot. The Plaza Mayor, the Opera House and the Plaza de Cibeles are located only a short walk away. The monumental Gran Via is reached along a couple of pedestrianized shopping streets to the north.

Similar and Nearby Landmarks

Similar major public squares in the city are the historic Plaza Mayor, the magnificent Plaza de Cibeles and the popular Plaza de España Madrid, all located in different area of the city center.

Other important Madrid landmarks include the Royal Palace Madrid, the Buen Retiro Park, and the Prado Museum.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Apr 02, 2015

Pictures of Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol Plaza - Madrid - Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol Plaza - Madrid - Photo by Librarygroover

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