An attractive blend of tradition and modernity
Madrid has a varied artistic offer, the result of the different styles that have left their mark over the centuries.
From the remains of the old Arab wall, passing through small churches of Gothic style to the first works of the Renaissance, Madrid gathers in its development very rich and varied artistic works. Madrid owes its name to the Arabic name of Magerit (“mother of the waters”), which was baptized the fortress that on the banks of the Manzanares River had built the Umayyad of Cordoba, Muhammed (823-886). Despite the fact that the city grew under Arab rule for two hundred years, only a few remnants of the wall and a tower that was later converted into a bell tower remain. The arrival of the Habsburgs, from the sixteenth century and in its heyday in the seventeenth century, marks the beginning of the monumentality that has given one of the most renowned areas in the capital – the so-called Madrid de los Austrias – in which they emphasize, in addition to the Greater Place, multitude of corners, churches and convents, full of flavor and art. The austere facades of this Baroque style contrast with the luxurious interiors of the palaces.
The eighteenth century left its neoclassical imprint on the splendid set of the Royal Palace, Jardines de Sabatini, Campo del Moro, which are located in the center of the capital. The church of San Francisco El Grande, the fountains of the Paseo del Prado, the Bridge of Toledo, the Prado Museum or the Puerta de Alcalá, are also splendid examples of this style.
The most modern and avant-garde Madrid is found in the widening areas on its two main thoroughfares, the Gran Vía and the Paseo de La Castellana. The Gran Vía, which began at the beginning of the 20th century, is today a commercial center, entertainment center and hotel establishments. In the Paseo de La Castellana, which crosses the city from north to south, there are some of the most elegant hotels in the capital, along with companies that have located their headquarters in modern and avant-garde buildings. Being important the architectural legacy that has received Madrid, without a doubt, its great artistic wealth is in gallery.