Top Madrid Landmarks for History Lovers

Madrid landmarks attract admirers locally and internationally. Many of these landmarks are centennial or more. Among the celebrated landmarks one can find city squares and palaces, while others are ancient city gates and fountains. Madrid Landmarks for history lovers are a link to their past that has been incorporated into present.

These Madrid beacons are scattered throughout the city, can be visited and photographed all year round..with a few exceptions!

As the 6th largest city in the European Union by population, Madrid preserves many of its historical sites and archaeological as well as architectural treasures. These valuable landmarks pieces give an approximate idea of the rich and colorful heritage of Madrid.

Discover the 5 Most Interesting Madrid Landmarks for history Lovers:

1-Puerta de Alcalá Landmark


Located at the heart of a huge intersection, history lovers are only able to see the former city gate from afar due to the large amount of traffic that surrounds it. However, if you travel from the Barajas airport to the Madrid center by taxi, the Puerta de Alcalá is one of the first Madrid landmarks that can be seen.

La Puerta, which is classified as a national monument, is an excellent example of neoclassical architecture. It was built following Carlos III ´s orders.

Five different architects’ plans were discarded before the design of Francisco Sabatini was accepted in 1778.

With the intention of being the main entrance to the Court, the entrance consists of five arches of granite and stone with three main arches taking the major protagonism. Each of the arches is decorated with lion heads made by Robert Michel, surrounded by two smaller ones. On the monument cherubs, trophies and the coat of arms, which are the work of the Spanish sculpturer Francisco Gutiérrez, can be observed.

2- Palacio Real Landmark


The present day palace is locate where an ancient Muslim fortress was located. The fortress itself was demolished in 1734 by a fire. It was then that Philip V seized the opportunity in 1737 to build an opulent Royal Palace. Filippo Juvarra conceived the first plans; however, there was neither finances nor a large enough plot to build the planned palace.

Originally, its façade length was projected to measure 476 meters (about 1561.68ft) , three times the length of today’s façade. The Royal Palace was redesigned by Juan Bautista Sacchetti and was not completed until 1764. Francisco Sabatini and Ventura Rodríguez also contributed to this project.

Currently,the Spanish royal family does not use this Royal Palace which consists of 2,800 rooms as their habitual residence. However,this venue is used for state ceremonies. Due to security reasons, the only way to see the palace is on a tour.

The tour lasts about 1:50 minutes where visitors can contemplate 50 impressive rooms , fit for royalty. The visits include the Hall of the Halberdiers, the Official Room, the Throne Room and the apartments of Carlos III. In addition to the Hall of Gasparini, the Gala Dining Room, Museum of Paintings, Royal Pharmacy, Royal Armory and the Porcelain Room.

The best place to admire the palace is from the Sabatini Gardens, located north of the Palace or also from Campo del Moro, with its impressive carriages museum that can be found in the back. For all these reasons and more,we consider this to be one of the essential Madrid Landmarks for history lovers to visit.

3- Temple of Debod Landmark


The temple was originally built 15 km south of Aswan (south of Egypt). Very close to the first waterfall of the Nile and the great religious center dedicated to the goddess Isis, in Philae. At the beginning of the 2nd century BC, Adikhalamani (Tabriqo), the Kushite king of Meroë, began its construction by building a small one-room chapel dedicated to the god Amun.

It was built and decorated in a design similar to the Dakka Temple. From the dock, a long processional path leads to the wall built in stone, through three stone pillars and finally to the temple itself.

The temple was rebuilt in one of the most beautiful parks in Spain, Parque del Oeste, near the Royal Palace and Plaza España. It was opened to the public in 1972 and entry is free.

4- Puerta de Toledo Landmark

The Puerta de Toledo is another of the most beautiful Madrid Landmarks for history lovers. It is located in the Glorieta de la Puerta de Toledo, southwest of Madrid. This city gate is 19 meters high and consists of three arches. The central arch is the highest. It has a rounded and semicircular arch and was the main gate on the road to the city of Toledo in past centuries. It is flanked by two smaller square doors that have ornamental columns on each side.

It is a striking structure of granite whose construction began in 1812 under the government of José Bonaparte. The construction stopped after the disappearance of the Napoleonic government, but it was reinitiated under the government of Ferdinand VII. Finally it was finished in 1827.
Spanish history enthusiasts would be suprised to learn that it is one of the newer landmarks in the city.

The south side of the gate, the one facing Toledo, has a set of sculptures in the upper part of the central arch. These were created by Ramón Barba and Valeriano Salvatierra. They represent the power of the Spanish monarchy
in medieval times in the northern and southern hemispheres.

5- La Plaza de Cibeles Landmark


The Fuente de Cibeles or Fountain of Cibeles has become one of the popular Madrid landmarks for history lovers and Real Madrid CF fans. It is located in the heart of the city. It shows Cibeles, the Greek goddess of fertility and nature. Wild lions symbolize the power of nature or the goddess.

Designed by Ventura Rodríguez and sculpted in 1782, it was originally located in front of the Prado Museum in front of the Neptune Fountain.

In each of the four corners of the square you can find an interesting building. The Buenavista Palace was built in 1777 and currently houses the headquarters of the Spanish Army. The Palacio de Linares was built in 1877 and is owned by the Casa de América. It is dependent and liases with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote political, economic and cultural links with Latin America.

The southwest corner of the square houses the Bank of Spain. It is located in a striking and splendid building, whose construction began in 1884. Finally, Cibeles Palace,which was completed in 1917 and since 2007, is the headquarters of the Mayor’s Office of Madrid.

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