Visiting European City - Madrid

The City of Bear - Madrid, Spain

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Casa de la Villa (City Hall)

Casa de la Villa (City Hall)

Madrid is a young capital among other European capitals. (London became capital in 1066, Paris - in 508 year, not to mention "The Eternal City" Rome.) Till 1561 Madrid was a small provincial town near to the former capital Toledo.

The architectural history of Madrid is devided into three periods: Habsburg period from 16th till 17th centuries, Bourbon period from 18th till 19th centuries, the modern period from 20th century.
The old mayor's office of Madrid (Ayuntamiento) is built in the Madrid baroque style of the Habsburg period and is situated on the Villa square. The city was governed from here even before the mayor's office was built in 14th century.

The old center of Madrid is called "The Madrid of the Austrians" (El Madrid de los Austrias).

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

The Mayor Square has seemed to me to be the most beautiful square of Madrid. It was constructed in 1619. There was a lake on this place before.
On this square people were burnt alive comparatively not long ago. And now people are comfortable sitting here and drinking coffee...

Prior to the beginning of 18th century bullfighting was held here. At that time it took place on horseback. The bullfighting on foot was held then in other place.
Season of bullfighting - from May till October. We travelled to Madrid in the end of April (2008), therefore could not visit bullfighting. I really do not know if I should regret about it or not. (My attitude to bullfighting is ambiguous.) Beeing critisized for cruelty to animals corrida keeps its spirit still after 500 years. But its popularity decreases, probably because of degradation of bulls. In Madrid, however, bullfighting still remains very popular.
Right after the corrida the body of bull is sent in one of restaurants. Meat of the fighting bull differs from a usual beef, it is more rigid and bitterish.

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Selected paintings in Prado:

El Greco:

- The Adoration of the Shepherds
- Portrait of a Nobleman with His Hand on His Chest
- The Annunciation
- Coronation of the Virgin
- Pentecost


- Apolo en la Fragua de Vulcano
- La rendicion de Breda (Las Lanzas)
- Cristo crucificado
- The Maids of Honour
- Mercury and Argus


- The Meadow of San Isidro on his Feast Day
- The Parasol
- The Naked Maja
- The Clothed Maja
- The Family of Charles IV
- The Second of May 1808
- The Third of May 1808
- The Milkmaid of Bordeaux