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Essential: the kilometer zero
Famous for: the popular custom of grapes for New Year Eve
In three words: traditional, iconic, famous
This is the district where the famous Puerta del Sol is and has been the scenario during the centuries of all the most important events for the history of Spain. Today is one of the most popular and touristic areas, with its beautiful Royal Palace, and the center of the radial roads of Spain. Great location for apartments Madrid: you will move easily by walk into the heart of the capital.
HISTORY: The area of Sol occupies part of the area known as "El Madrid de los Austrias", because so much was built during the reign of the Hapsburgs, from sixteenth to the seventeenth century. La Casa de Correos, in Plaza del Sol, is the current seat of the Presidency of the Community of Madrid and is located opposite the famous kilometer zero point crossed by radial streets of Spain and famous for a legend: anyone who passes from there is bound to return to Madrid. Another tradition that comes from the past is to celebrate the New Year’ Eve in the square, and at midnight eat 12 grapes punctuated by the tolling of the clock tower. It seems that the custom dates back to 1896, when it began as an ironic act towards the upper classes who had the habit of doing the dinner with the grape. Just ten minutes from Puerta del Sol, you reach Plaza de Oriente, where the Palacio Real is: until 1931 it was the residence of the royal family of Spain.
ATMOSPHERE: Sol area is always really crowded the focal point of many touristic tours. There are many spots to visit, especially the famous palaces and squares, symbols of the Spanish capital. Great area for shopping. Of course, being here, you feel the pulse of the vibrating city.
PLACES: famous Plaza del Sol, with the famous statue of the bear, and the door, from which start a net of streets which are the shopping center for excellence. Not far away you find Plaza de Villa and Plaza Mayor, a bullfighting arena now famous for offering free concerts and a special market of numismatics and philately. The Market of San Miguel is the only example of a iron market of Spain, renovated with the idea of setting up a Centre of Culinary Culture.
Moving to Opera area there is the Palacio Real, now used as a setting for institutional event: it is the largest royal palace in Western Europe with more than 135 thousand square meters. It is a heritage of respect that hosts Caravaggio and Velázquez, Rubens and Goya. Around the building there are the Moro Gardens and the Sabatini Gardens, named by the Italian architect who also designed Puerta de Alcalá and Plaza Mayor.
Plaza de Oriente hosts the real theatre of Madrid, one of the largest in Europe. In front of Plaza de la Armería is the Cathedral, the Catedral de Santa María La Real de La Almudena, a neoclassical building with Gothic interior.
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