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2020-08-21 12:14:23

Plaza Mayor: historic square in the center of Spain

Plaza Mayor: historic square in the center of Spain

Tourism in Spain was widely developed only in the middle of the last century, and already in 2007 this country was recognized as the second most popular in Europe. Madrid, the capital of Spain, has concentrated a large number of attractions that can be spent more than one day exploring. There are places in the city that are on the first lines of must-see places: these include the Plaza Mayor - one of the most picturesque squares in the historical and cultural center of Madrid. Glorified by the troubadours and for many centuries the backdrop for important events in the country, Plaza Mayor still serves as the main venue for celebrations, coronations, tournaments and theater festivals.


Plaza Mayor was not always central in the city - once it was located behind its gates and had the name Plaza del Arrabal, which means "Suburban". It was built during the reign of Philip III in the 17th century and served as a trade function rather than a political or cultural one. In 1617, the king of Spain decided to turn the provincial territory into a vibrant and lively area of the city, and 3 years later, on May 15, the inauguration of the Plaza Mayor took place. Currently, this day is a day off, during the week there are festive events and folk festivals.

The square was made in the Baroque style and retained the style of the Habsburg times in its appearance. The architect Juan Gomez de Mora, who designed the project for the construction, has framed the Plaza Mayor with buildings with an abundance of balconies, thus creating wonderful viewing platforms for those wishing to watch tournaments, royal weddings and executions.

What to explore and see?

Plaza Mayor is surrounded by over 130 Madrid Baroque buildings, towering 3 or 4 tiers. On the lower floors there are shopping and exhibition galleries, coffee shops, souvenir shops and stalls. You can enter the square through nine arched gates from 9 streets. The main objects of the Plaza Mayor:

  • A bronze statue of Philip III on a horse, installed in 1616. in the center of the square by the skilled craftsman from Florence Giambologna
  • Casa de Panaderia is an ancient building that attracts the eye with its turrets and frescoes depicting scenes from the history of Madrid. It was once a bakery supplying bread and sweet products to the royal table. The upper floors of the building were reserved for balls and ceremonial receptions, and from the balconies the Spanish nobility watched the celebrations in the square
  • Under the arches of the galleries, there are unique shops and stalls waiting for lovers of numismatics and philately: you can find rare coins and postage stamps.

Christmas is celebrated on a large scale on the square: fairground tents are set up here, where you can buy home nativity scenes, crackers, toys for the Christmas tree and sweets. Many tourists come to Madrid specifically to take part in carnivals and street theatrical scenes, which are very popular in Spain.

Interesting Facts

  • The opening day of the square as the central one is timed to the day of the canonization of Isidro de Medro, the patron saint of Spain
  • For all the time, Plaza Mayor has changed many names: Arrabal, Market, Royal, Republican, twice called the Constitution Square and as a result was named the Main
  • The balconies from which the townspeople watched the events of the city were often rented out for money, so that sometimes the room and the "observation deck" belonged to different people.
  • The last restoration of the Plaza Mayor was carried out at the end of the 20th century, when the square became part of the walking area of the city, an underground parking appeared, and decorative frescoes with mythological subjects were updated on the buildings.

The object belongs to the urban infrastructure.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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