The Puerta del Sol is the centre of Madrid and is the point from which all Spain’s radial highways begin: the ‘kilometre 0′ of the country. In the central area of the Puerta del Sol you will find a statue based on Madrid’s coat of arms. It shows a bear standing against a tree. You will find this symbol all over Madrid.

The Palacio Real, or Royal Palace is the official residence of the Spanish royal family but actually used for state ceremonies. It is probably one of the most important places in Madrid and it is open to the public, except when official business is taking place. It is set in formal gardens on the site of a Moorish fortress that burned down in 1734.

The third most important place in Madrid is the Plaza Mayor, a huge square constructed in 1617. It has been pedestrianised and can be entered by any one of nine arches. From time to time, events such as concerts and fiestas are staged here. The square contains 136 houses with 437 balconies from which people used to watch the events held here!


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