For many years it has been the centre for mainstream Spanish festivities and events such as markets, football games, celebrations for San Isidro, and during the Spanish Inquisition, even held executions of supposed heretics condemned to death. The Plaza Mayor is now a major tourist attraction, visited by thousands of tourists a year and an epicentre of Madrid life.
Is has been suggested that the splendour of the plaza is due in large to the warm colours of the uniformly ochre apartments, with wrought-iron balconies offset by the exquisite frescoes of the 17th-century Real Casa de la Panadería (Royal Bakery).
The Plaza Mayor is situated in the centre of Madrid, Spain. The nearest airport is Madrid Barajas International Airport and is approximately 14 kms to the city centre. From the airport you can take the metro line 8 to Nuevos Ministerios which takes around 15 minutes. Alternatively, there are plenty of taxis operating at the airport.
Getting from the city centre to the Plaza on public transport can be done via the metro Sol (L1, L2, L3), Tirso de Molina (L1) or by city bus 3, 17, 18, 23 and 31.
The Plaza Mayor of today is the work of the architect Juan de Villanueva who was given the difficult task of its reconstruction in 1790 after a series of enormous fires. The present frescoes date to 1992 and are the work of artist Carlos Franco, who chose images from the signs of the zodiac and gods provide a stunning backdrop for the Plaza which is rectangular in shape and measures over 12,000 Sq m. The Plaza is surrounded by three-storey residential buildings lending to 237 balconies overlooking the Plaza and a total of nine entrance ways.
To make the most of your visit to Madrid’s vibrant city centre, stay in some of the most striking rental accommodation. Choose to stay in luxurious houses, chic apartments, stylish bed and breakfasts and all within easy reach of Plaza Mayor.
Visit the charming Mercado de San Miguel, an early twentieth-century covered market with 33 vendors selling fresh produce and sample one of the delightful cafés and mini-restaurants which offer specialty food. Not forgetting Sobrino de Botin, an atmospheric Spanish tavern listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest eatery.
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