Casa de Campo is an enormous urban parkland to the west of the city, the largest in Spain and Madrid's main green lung. Its area is more than 1,700 hectares (6.6 sq mi). It is home to a fairground, the Madrid Zoo, an amusement park, the Parque de Atracciones de Madrid(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190 battery), and an outdoor municipal pool, to enjoy a bird's eye view of the park and city take a cable car trip above the tree tops. Casa de Campo's vegetation is one of its most important features. There are, in fact, three different ecosystems: oak, pine and river groves. The oak is the dominant tree species in the area and, although many of them are over 100 years old and reach a great height, they are also present in the form of chaparral and bushes(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ150E battery). The pine-forest ecosystem boasts a large number of trees that have adapted perfectly to the light, dry conditions in the park. In addition, mushrooms often emerge after the first rains of autumn. Finally, the river groves, or riparian forests, are made up of various, mainly deciduous, species that grow in wetter areas. Examples include poplars, willows and alder trees. As regards fauna, this green space is home to approximately 133 vertebrate species(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ160 battery).
The Royal Botanic Garden or Real Jardin Botanico is an 8-hectare botanical garden located in the Plaza de Murillo, next to the Prado Museum. It was an 18th century creation by Carlos III and it was used as a base for the plant species being collected across the globe. There is an important research facility that started life as a base to develop herbal remedies and to house the species collected from the new-world trips, today it is dedicated to maintaining Europe's ecosystem(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ260E battery).
Campo del Moro gardens.
The Royal Palace is surrounded by three green areas. In front of the palace, are the gardens of the Plaza de Oriente; to the north, the gardens of Sabatini and to the west up to the Manzanares river, the famous Campo del Moro. Campo del Moro gardens has a surface area of 20 hectares and is a scenic garden with an unusual layout filled with foliage and an air of English romanticism(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ140E battery). The Sabatini Gardens have a formal Neoclassic style, consisting of well-sheared hedges, in symmetric geometrical patterns, adorned with a pool, statues and fountains, with trees also disposed in a symmetrical geometric shape. Plaza de Oriente can distinguish three main plots: the Central Gardens, the Cabo Noval Gardens and the Lepanto Gardens. The Central Gardens are arranged around the central monument to Philip IV, in a grid, following the barroque model garden(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11L battery). They consist of seven flowerbeds, each packed with box hedges, forms of cypress, yew and magnolia of small size, and flower plantations, temporary. These are bounded on either side by rows of statues paths, popularly known as the Gothic kings, and mark the dividing line between the main body of the plaza and the Cabo Noval Gardens at north, and the Lepanto Gardens at south(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11Z battery).
Monte de El Pardo is a mediterranean forest inside the city of Madrid. It is one of the best preserved Mediterranean Forests in Europe. The European Union has designated the Monte de El Pardo as a Special Protection Area for bird-life. This meadow, which has been used as hunting grounds by the royalty given the variety of game animals that have inhabited it since the Middle Ages, is home to 120 flora species and 200 vertebrae species(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11M battery). Rabbits, red partridges, wild cats, stags, deer and wild boars live among ilexes, cork oaks, ash trees, black poplars, oaks, junipers and rockroses. Monte del Pardo is part of the Regional Park of the High Basin of the Manzanares, spreading out from the Guadarrama Mountains range to the centre of Madrid, and protected by strong legal regulations. Just before crossing the city(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18M battery), the River Manzanares forms a valley composed by sandy elements and detritus from the mountain range.
Mount of El Pardo and Soto de Viñuelas inside the city of Madrid.
Soto de Viñuelas, also known as Mount Viñuelas, is a meadow-oak forest north of the city of Madrid and east of the Monte de El Pardo. It is a fenced property of 3,000 hectares, which includes important ecological values(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18 battery), landscape and art. Soto de Viñuelas is part of the Regional Park of the High Basin of the Manzanares, a nature reserve which is recognised as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, where it has been classified as Area B, the legal instrument that allows agricultural land use. Soto de Viñuelas also received the statement of Special Protection Area for Birds(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ210CE battery).
El Capricho is a 14-hectare garden located in the area of Barajas district. It dates back to 1784. The art of landscaping in El Capricho is displayed in three different styles of classical gardenscapes: the "parterre" or French garden, English landscaping and the Italian giardino.
Madrid Rio is a linear park that runs along the bank of the Manzanares River, in the middle of Madrid. It is an area of parkland 10 kilometres long and covers 649 hectares in six districts(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31S battery): Moncloa-Aravaca, Centro, Arganzuela, Latina, Carabanchel and Usera. It is a large area of environmental, sporting, leisure and cultural interest. Madrid Río provides a link with other green spaces in the city such as Casa de Campo and the Linear Park of the Manzanares River. The main landscaped area in Madrid Río is the Arganzuela Park, covering 23 hectares where pedestrian and cycling routes cover the whole park. The Madrid Río cycle network covers some 30 kilometres and is linked to another bike routes(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31Z battery). To the north, Madrid Rio connects to the Senda Real, the Green Ring for Cyclists and the E 7 (GR 10) trail, which goes as far as the Sierra de Madrid mountain range. To the south, Madrid Río provides access to the Enrique Tierno Galván Park and the Linear Park of the Manzanares River, an extensive green zone running parallel to the river as far as Getafe. As well as the cycle routes there are 42 kilometres of paths for walkers and runners(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31E battery). In the Salón de Pinos, a 6-kilometre long tree-lined promenade, there are circuits for aerobic and anaerobic exercise, while near the Puente de Praga bridge a tennis court and seven padel tennis courts.
The theme park Faunia, is a natural history museum and zoo combined, aimed at being fun and educational for children. It comprises eight eco-systems from tropical rain forests to polar regions, and contains over 1,500 animals, some of which roam freely(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31J battery).
During the end of the Middle Ages, Madrid experienced astronomic growth as a consequence of its establishment as the new capital of the Spanish Empire. As Spain (like many other European countries) continued to centralize royal authority, this meant that Madrid took on greater importance as a center of administration for the Spanish Kingdom. It evolved to become an important nucleus of artisanal activity that eventually experienced industrial(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31M battery) revolution during the 19th century. The city made even greater strides at expansion during the 20th century, especially after the Spanish Civil War, reaching levels of industrialization found in other European capital cities. The economy of the city was then centred on diverse manufacturing industries such as those related to motor vehicles, aircraft, chemicals, electronic devices, pharmaceuticals, processed food, printed materials, and leather goods. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31B battery)
Madrid is a major centre for international business and commerce. It is one of Europe's largest financial centres and the largest in Spain.
During the period from 1992 to 2006, Madrid experienced very significant growth in its service sector. The most notable of these services are those geared towards companies, followed by transport and communications, property and financial services. These four groups generate 51% of gross value added for Madrid's economy and 62% of gross value added for the services sector(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ32 battery). The importance of the Barajas Airport to the city's economy is substantial. The construction of housing and public works, such as the ringroads and train network, constituted a major pillar of the economy up to 2006.
As Spain has become decentralized politically, Madrid has taken on a smaller administrative profile as compared to the rest of the Spanish state. Even so, the Community of Madrid (centred upon the city of Madrid) experienced the highest growth of all the Spanish regions between 2004 to 2006(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ410 battery). Its growth rate was higher than for the country as a whole by 1.4% during the period 2000–2006, and that of the Eurozone by 13%.
Madrid has become the 23rd richest city in the world and third richest in Europe in terms of absolute GDP; the economic output for the year 2005 was of $201.5 billion, behind the considerably larger cities of Paris ($460 billion) and London ($452 billion) and ahead of Moscow and Barcelona. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21 battery) Additionally in terms of GDP per capita, Madrid, in specific the Madrid region is the richest in Spain and one of the richest in Europe. At 133.9% of the European average of 25,800€ (34,572€/$48,313) Madrid is ahead of all the other 8 Spanish regions above 100%. Similarly, Madrid is just 97.8% of New York's purchasing power.
Madrid is a world's financial leader, rising to the top five Centres of Commerce in Europe(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21S battery). Madrid continues its upward trajectory as a key European city, rising from its 2007 spot at number 16 to number 11 globally and from number 6 to the number 5 spot in Europe. Madrid's stable GDP, exchange rate and strong bond market, coupled with a high standard of living, place this city in the company of Europe's most prominent cities: London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21M battery)
Madrid is one of the cities in the Iberian Peninsula that attracts most foreign investment and job seekers. The average salary in Madrid during 2007 was 2540€, clearly above the Spanish average of 2085€. In terms of net earnings, Madrid also places first in Spain; Madrid is 28th in the world, at 78.6%.(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ38M battery)
Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations concerning art museums. Best known is the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three museums. The most famous one is the Prado Museum, known for such highlights as Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas and Francisco de Goya's La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. The other two museums are the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum(Sony VGN-NR11S/S Battery), established from a mixed private collection, and the Reina Sofia Museum, where Pablo Picasso's Guernica hangs, returning to Spain from New York after more than two decades.
The Museo del Prado is a museum and art gallery that features one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection. The collection currently comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings(Sony VGN-NR11M/S Battery), in addition to a large number of works of art and historic documents. El Prado is one of the most visited museums in the world, and it is considered to be among the greatest museums of art. It has the best collection of artworks by Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens, Titian, Hieronymus Bosch, José de Ribera and Patinir; and works by Rogier van der Weyden, Raphael Sanzio, Tintoretto, Veronese, Caravaggio, Van Dyck, Albrecht Dürer, Claude Lorrain, Murillo and Zurbarán, among others(Sony VGN-NR260E/S Battery).
Museo Reina Sofía (MNCARS).
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) is the Spain's national museum of 20th century art. The museum is mainly dedicated to Spanish art. Highlights of the museum include excellent collections of Spain's greatest 20th century masters, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Juan Gris and Julio González. Certainly the most famous masterpiece in the museum is Picasso's painting Guernica(Sony VGN-NR11Z/S Battery). The Reina Sofía also hosts a free-access library specializing in art, with a collection of over 100,000 books, over 3,500 sound recordings and almost 1,000 videos.
Museo Thyssen Bornemisza.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is an art museum that fills the historical gaps in its counterparts' collections: in the Prado's case this includes Italian primitives and works from the English, Dutch and German schools, while in the case of the Reina Sofia the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection(Sony VGN-NR11Z/T Battery), once the second largest private collection in the world after the British Royal Collection, includes Impressionists, Expressionists, and European and American paintings from the second half of the 20th century, with over 1,600 paintings.
The Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando currently functions as a museum and gallery that houses a fine art collection of paintings from the 15th to 20th century: Giovanni Bellini, Correggio, Rubens, Zurbarán, Murillo, Goya(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21E battery), Juan Gris, Pablo Serrano. The academy is also the headquarters of the Madrid Academy of Art. Francisco Goya was once one of the academy's directors, and, its alumni include Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Antonio López García, Juan Luna, and Fernando Botero.
Royal Armoury, Royal Palace of Madrid.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of Juan Carlos I of Spain, but he uses it only for official acts. It is a baroque palace full of artworks is one of the largest European Royal Palaces(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21Z battery), which is characterized by its luxurious rooms and its rich collections of armors and weapons, pharmaceutical, silverware, watches, paintings, tapestries and the most comprehensive collection of Stradivarius in the world
The National Archaeological Museum of Spain collection includes, among others, Pre-historic, Celtic, Iberian, Greek and Roman antiquities and medieval (Visigothic, Muslim and Christian) objects. Highlights include a replica of the Altamira cave (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21J battery) (the first cave in which prehistoric cave paintings were discovered), Lady of Elx (an enigmatic polychrome stone bust), Lady of Baza (a famous example of Iberian sculpture), Biche of Balazote (an iberian sculpture) and Treasure of Guarrazar (a treasure that represents the best surviving group of Early Medieval Christian votive offerings and the high point of Visigothic goldsmith's work). (Sony VAIO VGN-FW11 battery)
The Museum of the Americas (Spanish: Museo de América) is a National museum that holds artistic, archaeological and ethnographic collections from the whole American continent, ranging from the Paleolithic period to the present day. The permanent exhibit is divided into five major thematical areas: an awareness of America, the reality of America, society, religion and communication(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M battery).
National Museum of Natural Sciences
The National Museum of Natural Sciences is the National Museum of Natural History of Spain. The research departments of the museum are: Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Ecology, Paleobiology, Vulcanology and Geology.
The Naval Museum is managed by the Ministry of Defence. The Museum's mission is to acquire, preserve, investigate, report and display for study, education and contemplation, parts, sets and collections of historical(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11S battery), artistic, scientific and technical related to naval activity in order to disseminate the story sea of Spain; to help illustrate, highlight and preserve their traditions and promote national maritime awareness.
El Aquelarre, Francisco de Goya. Lázaro Galdiano Museum.
The Monastery of Las Descalzas Reales resides in the former palace of King Charles I of Spain and Isabel of Portugal. Their daughter, Joan of Austria, founded this convent of nuns of the Poor Clare order in 1559(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E battery). Throughout the remainder of the 16th century and into the 17th century, the convent attracted young widowed or spinster noblewomen. Each woman brought with her a dowry. The riches quickly piled up, and the convent became one of the richest convents in all of Europe. It has many works of Renaissance and Baroque art, including a recumbent Christ by Gaspar Becerra, a staircase whose paintings were painted by unknown author (perhaps Velázquez) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW21J battery) and they are considered of the masterpieces of Spanish illusionist painting, and Brussels tapestries inspired by paintings of Rubens.
The Museum of Lázaro Galdiano houses an encyclopedic collection specializing in decorative arts. Apart from paintings and sculptures it displays 10th century Byzantine enamel; Arab and Byzantine ivory chests; Hellenistic, Roman, medieval, renaissance, baroque and romantic jewelry; Pisanello and Pompeo Leoni medals; Spanish and Italian ceramics; Italian and Arab clothes and an collection of weapons including the sword of Pope Innocent VIII. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW21L battery)
The Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (National Museum of Decorative Arts) is one of the oldest museums in the city. It illustrates the evolution of the called "minor arts" (furniture, ceramics and glass, textile, etc.). Its 60 rooms expones 15,000 objects, of the approximate 40,000 which it has. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M battery)
The Museo Nacional del Romanticismo (National Museum of Romanticism) contains a large collection of artefacts and art, focusing on daily life and customs of the 19th century, with special attention to the aesthetics about Romanticism.
The Museo Cerralbo houses a private collection of ancient works of art, artifacts and other antiquities collected by Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, XVII Cerralbo Marquis. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M/H battery)
The Museo Nacional de Antropología(National Museum of Anthropology) provides an overview of the different cultures in the world, with objects and human remains from around the world, highlighting a Guanche mummy of the island of Tenerife.
The Museo Sorolla is located in the building in which the Valencian Impressionist painter had his home and workshop. The collection includes, in addition to numerous works of Joaquín Sorolla, a large number of objects that possessed the artist, including sculptures by August Rodin. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW21M battery)
CaixaForum Madrid is a post-modern art gallery in the centre of Madrid. It is sponsored by the Catalan-Balearic bank la Caixa and located next to the Salón del Prado. Although the CaixaForum is a modern building, it also exhibits retrospectives of artists from earlier time periods and has evolved into one of the most visited museums in Madrid. It was constructed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron from 2001 to 2007(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21Z battery), which combined an old unused industrial building and hollowed it out at the base and inside and placed on top further floors which are encased with rusted steel. Next to it is an art installation of green plants growing on the wall of the neighbouring house by French botanist Patrick Blanc. The red of the top floors with the green of the wall next to it form a contrast. The green is in reflection of the neighbouring Royal Botanical Gardens(Sony VAIO VGN-FW32J battery).
Madrid has a considerable number of Catholic churches, some of them are between the most important Spanish religious artworks.
The oldest church that survives today is San Nicolás de los Servitas, whose oldest item is the bell tower (12th century), in Mudejar style. The next oldest temple is San Pedro el Real, with its high brick tower(Sony VAIO VGN-FW17W battery).
St. Jerome Church is a gothic church next to El Prado Museum. The Catholic Monarchs ordered its construction in the 15th century, as part of a vanished monastery. The monastery's cloister is preserved. It has recently been renovated by Rafael Moneo, with the goal to house the neoclassical collection of El Prado Museum, and also sculptures by Leone Leoni and Pompeo Leoni(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31E battery).
The Bishop Chapel is a gothic chapel which was built in the 16th century by order of the Bishop of Plasencia, Gutierre de Vargas. It was originally built to house the remains of Saint Isidore Laborer (Madrid's patron saint), but it was used as the Vargas family mausoleum. Inside are the altairpiece and the tombs of the Vargas family, which were the work of Francisco Giralte, a disciple of Alonso Berruguete. They are considered masterpieces of Spanish Renaissance sculpture(Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E battery).
St. Isidore Church from the Plaza Mayor
St. Isidore Church was built between 1620–1664 by order of Empress Maria of Austria, daughter of Charles V of Germany and I of Spain, to become part of a school run by the Jesuits which still exists today. Its dome is the first example of a dome drawing on a wooden frame covered with plaster, which, given its lightness makes it easy to support the walls. It was the cathedral of Madrid between 1885 and 1993, which is the time it took to build the Almudena(Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E/H battery). The artwork inside were mostly burned during the Spanish Civil War, but it retained the tomb that holds the incorrupt body of Saint Isidore Laborer and the urn containing the ashes of his wife Maria Torribia.
Royal Convent of La Encarnación is an Augustinian Recollect convent. The institution, which belonged ladies of the nobility, was founded by Queen Margaret of Austria, wife of Philip III of Spain, in the early 17th century(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31M battery). Due to the frescoes and sculptures which houses is one of the most prominent temples in the city. The building's architect was Fray Alberto de la Madre de Dios, who built it between 1611 and 1616. The façade responds to an inspiring Herrerian style, with great austerity,and it was imitated by other Spanish churches. The church's interior is a sumptuous work by the great Baroque architect Ventura Rodriguez(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31J battery). In the church are preserved shrines containing the blood of St. Januarius and St. Pantaleon, the second (according to tradition) liquefies every year on the saint's day on 27 July.
San Antonio de los Alemanes (St. Anthony Church) is a pretty 17th century church which was originally part of a Portuguese hospital. Subsequently it was donated to the Germans living in the city(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31Z battery).
The interior of the church has been recently restored. It has some beautiful frescoes painted by Luca Giordano, Francisco Carreño and Francisco Rizi. The frescoes represent some kings of Spain, Hungary, France, Germany and Bohemia. They all sit looking at the paintings in the vault, which represent the life of Saint Anthony of Padua(Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery).
Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida is sometimes named the "Goya's Sixtine Chapel". The chapel was built on orders of King Charles IV of Spain, who also commissioned the frescoes by Goya. These were completed over a six month period in 1798. The frescoes portray miracles by Saint Anthony of Padua, including one which occurred in Lisbon, but which the painter has relocated to Madrid(Sony VGN-NR11S Battery). On every 13 June, the chapel becomes the site of a lively pilgrimage in which young unwed women come to pray to St. Anthony and to ask for a partner.
San Francisco el Grande Basilica was built in neoclassical style in the second half of the 18th century by Francesco Sabatini. It has the fifth largest diameter dome to Christianity. (33 meters in diameter: it's smaller than the dome of the Rome's Pantheon (43.4meters), St. Peter's Basilica (42.4 meters) (Sony VGN-NR110E Battery), the Florence Cathedral (42 meters)and the Rotunda of Mosta (37.2 meters) in Malta, but it's larger than St. Paul's Cathedral (30.8 meters) in London and Hagia Sophia (31.8 meters) in Istanbul). The church is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, who according to legend was established in Madrid during his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Its sumptuous interior features many artworks, including paintings by Goya and Zurbarán(Sony VGN-NR110E/T Battery).
The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena is the episcopal seat of the Archdiocese of Madrid. It is a temple of 102 meters long and 73 high, built during the 19th and 20th century in a mixture of different styles: neoclassical exterior, neo-Gothic interior and neo-Romanesque crypt and neo-Byzantine abse's paints(Sony VGN-NR110E/S Battery).
The cathedral was built in the same place which was built the Moorish citadel (al-mudayna) in Madrid. It was consecrated by Pope John Paul II on his fourth trip to Spain on 15 June 1993, thus being the only Spanish cathedral dedicated by a pope.
Madrid has been one of the great centers of Spanish literature. In this city were born some of the best writers of the Spanish Golden Century, including: Lope de Vega (Fuenteovejuna, The Dog in the Manger, The Knight of Olmedo) (Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery), who reformed the Spanish theater, a work continued by Calderon de la Barca (Life is a Dream), Francisco de Quevedo, Spanish nobleman and writer famous for his satires, which criticized the Spanish society of his time, and author of ´El Buscón. And finally, Tirso de Molina, who created the famous character Don Juan. In addition, Cervantes and Góngora also lived in the city, although they were not born there(Sony VGN-CR11S Battery). The homes of Lope de Vega, Quevedo, Gongora and Cervantes are still preserved, and they are all in the Barrio de las Letras (Letters Neigtbourhood).
Other writers born in Madrid in later centuries have been Leandro Fernandez de Moratín, Mariano José de Larra, Jose de Echegaray (Nobel Prize in Literature), Ramón Gómez de la Serna, Dámaso Alonso, Enrique Jardiel Poncela and Pedro Salinas(Sony VGN-CR11M Battery).
Madrid is home to the Royal Academy of Spanish Language, internationally important cultural institution dedicated to language planning by enacting legislation aimed at promoting linguistic unity within and among the several Hispanic states; ensure a common linguistic standard, in accordance with its founding statutes "to ensure that the changes undergone [by the language] not break the essential unity that keeps all the Hispanic. "(Sony VGN-CR11E Battery).
Madrid is also home to another internationally cultural institution, the Instituto Cervantes, whose task is the promotion and teaching of Spanish language as well as the dissemination of the culture of Spain and Latin America. ...
The National Library of Spain is a major public library, the largest in Spain. The library's collection consists of more than 26,000,000 items including 15,000,000 books and other printed materials, 30,000 manuscripts(Sony VGN-CR21E Battery), 143,000 newspapers and serials, 4,500,000 graphic materials, 510,000 music scores, 500,000 maps, 600,000 sound recording, 90,000 audiovisuals, 90,000 electronic documents, more than 500,000 microforms, etc.".
The nightlife in Madrid is one of the city's main attractions. Tapas bars, cocktail bars, clubs, jazz lounges, live music venues, flamenco theatres and establishments of all kinds cater to all. Every night(Sony VGN-CR21S Battery), venues pertaining to the Live Music Venues Association La Noche en Vivo host a wide range of live music shows. Everything from acclaimed to up-and-coming artists, singer-songwriters to rock bands, jazz concerts or electronic music sessions to enjoy music at its best.
Nightlife and young cultural awakening flourished after the death of Franco, especially during the 80s while Madrid's mayor Enrique Tierno Galván (PSOE) was in office, at this time is well-known the cultural movement called la movida and it initially gathered around Plaza del Dos de Mayo. Nowadays, the Malasaña area is known for its alternative scene(Sony VGN-CR21Z Battery).
Some of the most popular night destinations include the neighbourhoods of: Bilbao, Tribunal, Atocha, Alonso Martinez or Moncloa, together with Puerta del Sol area (including Opera and Gran Via, both adjacent to the popular square) and Huertas (barrio de Las Letras), destinations which are also filled with tourists day and night. The district of Chueca has also become a hot spot in the Madrilenian night life, especially for the gay population. Chueca is popularly known as the gay quarter, comparable to The Castro district in San Francisco(Sony VGN-CR31S Battery).
What is also popular is the practice of meeting in parks or streets with friends and drinking alcohol together (this is called 'botellón', from 'botella', bottle), but in recent years, drinking in the street is punished with a fine and now young madrileños drink together all around the city instead of in better-known places(Sony VGN-CR31E Battery).
What makes nightlife in Madrid so unique compared to other cities, is that people do not go out until later in the evening, and do not return home until early in the morning. A typical evening out could not start before 12:30 AM and end at 6:30 AM.
Students who study abroad in Europe consider Madrid to have one of the most amazing nightlife experiences(Sony VGN-CR31Z Battery).
The city has venues for performing alternative art and expressive art. They are mostly located in the centre of the city include in Opera, Anton Martin, Chueca and Malasaña. There are also several festivals in Madrid including the Festival of Alternative art the Festival of the Alternative Scene(Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery).
The neighbourhood of Malasaña as well as Anton Martin and Lavapies hosts several bohemian cafe/galleries. These cafes are typified with period or retro furniture or furniture found on the street, a colourful non traditional atmosphere inside, and usually art displayed each month by a new artist, often for sale. Cafes include the retro cafe "Lolina" and bohemian cafes "La Ida", "La Paca" and "Cafe de la Luz" in Malasaña, "La Piola" in Huertas and "Cafe Olmo" and "Aguardiente" in Lavapies(Sony VGN-CR41S Battery).
In the neighbourhood of Lavapies, there are also "hidden houses", which are illegal bars or abandoned spaces where concerts, poetry reading and the famous Spanish Botellon (a street party or gathering now illegal but rarely stopped).
The Auditorio Nacional de Música  is the main venue for classical music concerts in Madrid. It is home to the Spanish National Orchestra, the Chamartín Symphony Orchestra and the venue for the symphonic concerts of the Community of Madrid Orchestra and the Madrid Symphony Orchestra. It is also the principal venue for orchestras on tour playing in Madrid(Sony VGN-CR41E Battery).
The Teatro Real is the main opera house in Madrid, located just in front of the Royal Palace, and its resident orchestra is the Madrid Symphony Orchestra. The theatre stages around seventeen opera titles (both own productions and co-productions with other major European opera houses) per year, as well as two or three major ballets and several recitals(Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery).
The Teatro de la Zarzuela is mainly devoted to Zarzuela (the Spanish traditional musical theatre genre), as well as operetta and recitals. The resident orchestra of the theatre is the Community of Madrid Orchestra.
The Teatro Monumental is the concert venue of the RTVE Symphony Orchestra.
Other concert venues for classical music are the Fundación Joan March and the Auditorio 400, devoted to contemporary music(Sony VGN-CR42S Battery).
Madrid hosts the largest Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Spain, Las Ventas, established in 1929. Las Ventas is considered by many to be the world centre of bullfighting and has a seating capacity of almost 25,000. Madrid's bullfighting season begins in March and ends in October. Bullfights are held every day during the festivities of San Isidro (Madrid's patron saint) from mid May to early June, and every Sunday, and public holiday, the rest of the season. The style of the plaza is Neo-Mudéjar. Las Ventas also hosts music concerts and other events outside of the bullfighting season(Sony VGN-CR42E Battery).
Madrid is home to La Liga football club Real Madrid, who play their home games at the Santiago Bernabéu. Their supporters are referred to as Madridistas or Merengues (Meringues). Real Madrid is one of the most prestigious football clubs of the world (FIFA selected Real Madrid the best team of the 20th century), having won a record 9 European Cups(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery). Their hometown rivals, Atlético Madrid, are also well supported in the city. The players (and supporters) are referred to as Colchoneros (The Mattress Makers), in reference to the team's red and white jersey colours, which were determined by mattress material being the cheapest at the time of the club's formation. In 1982, Madrid hosted the FIFA World Cup Final. Along with Barcelona, Glasgow and Lisbon, Madrid is one of only four cities in Europe to contain two UEFA 5-star stadia(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/P Battery): Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu and Atlético Madrid's Vicente Calderón both meet the said criteria. Rayo Vallecano and Getafe CF are two further teams from the Madrid area playing currently in La Liga.
Some of Spain's top footballers are Madrileños (born in Madrid), including Real Madrid former player Emilio Butragueño and co (La Quinta del Buitre, "The Vulture's Quint"), Premier League's Pepe Reina, Fernando Torres and Real Madrid veterans Raúl, Guti and Iker Casillas(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/W Battery).
Madrid boasts a prominent place in Spanish basketball, with two clubs in the country's top-level Liga ACB. Real Madrid's basketball section has won 30 Spanish League championships, 22 Spanish Cup championships, 8 Euroleague Championships, 4 Saporta Cups, 4 Intercontinental Cups and have won 2 Triple Crowns. Madrid's other professional basketball club is Estudiantes that have won 3 Spanish Cup championships(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11Z/R Battery).
Madrid hosts the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open. The tournament is classified as an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event on the Association of Tennis Professionals tour, and a Premier Mandatory event on the Women's Tennis Association tour. Caja Mágica (The Magic Box, and also known as the Manzanares Park Tennis Centre) is a tennis structure located at Manzanares Park, used for the Madrid Masters tournament, Caja Mágica is also home to the Spanish F1 team HRT F1 Team(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/B Battery).
The city is also host to the Circuito Permanente Del Jarama, a motorsport race circuit.
Historically, the city serves as the final stage of the Vuelta a España cycling event, in the same way Paris serves as the conclusive stage of the Tour de France.
Skiing is possible in the nearby mountains of the Sierra de Guadarrama, where the ski resorts of Valdesqui and Navacerrada are located(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/L Battery).
In the past, Madrid has bid to host the 1972, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Munich, London, and Rio de Janeiro respectively. In July 2011 Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon announced Madrid's plans to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The city has two major annual road running events – the Madrid Marathon and the San Silvestre Vallecana 10 km (6 mi) run – tens of thousands of runners take part in these races each year. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/P Battery)As reported by Olympic news outlet Around the Rings,
Madrid is home to a large number of public and private universities. Some of them are among the oldest in the world, and many of them are the most prestigious universities in Spain.
Complutense University of Madrid, founded 1293
The Complutense University of Madrid is the largest university in Spain and one of the oldest universities in the world. It has 10,000 staff members and a student population of 117,000. Nearly all academic staff are Spanish(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/R Battery). It is located on two campuses, in the university quarter Ciudad Universitaria at Moncloa in Madrid, and in Somosaguas. The Complutense University of Madrid was founded in Alcala de Henares, old Complutum, by Cardinal Cisneros in 1499. Nevertherless, its real origin dates back from 1293, when King Sancho IV of Castile built the General Schools of Alcalá, which would give rise to Cisnero's Complutense University(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/W Battery). During the course of 1509–1510 five schools were already operative: Artes y Filosofía (Arts & Philosophy), Teología (Theology), Derecho Canónico (Canonical Laws), Letras (Liberal Arts) and Medicina (Medicine). In 1836, during the reign of Isabel II, the University was moved to Madrid, where it took the name of Central University and was located at San Bernardo Street. Subsequently, in 1927, a new university area was planned to be built in the district of Moncloa-Aravaca(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G Battery), in lands handed over by the King Alfonso XIII to this purpose. The Spanish Civil War turned the "Ciudad Universitaria" into a war zone, causing the destruction of several schools in the area, as well as the loss of part of its rich scientific, artistic and bibliographic heritage. In 1970 the Government reformed the High Education, and the Central University became the Complutense University of Madrid. It was then when the new campus at Somosaguas was created to house the new School of Social Sciences(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/B Battery). The old Alcalá campus was reopened as the independent UAH, University of Alcalá, in 1977. Complutense also serves to the population of students who select Madrid as their residency during their study abroad period. Students from the United States for example, might go to Madrid on a program like API (Academic Programs International) and study at Complutense for an intense immersion into the Spanish Language(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/L Battery). The beautiful setting of the campus allows students living temporarily in Madrid to have access to all of the city's public features including Retiro Park, El Prado Museum, and much more. After studying at the University, students return home with a fluent sense of Spanish as well as culture and diversity.
School of Mines, Technical University of Madrid.
The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Technical University of Madrid), is the top technical university in Spain. It is the result of the merge of different Technical Schools of Engineering(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/W Battery).
The Autonomous University of Madrid was instituted under the leadership of the famous physicist, Nicolás Cabrera. The Autonoma is widely recognised for its research strengths in theoretical physics. Known simply as la Autónoma in Madrid, its main site is the Cantoblanco Campus, situated 10 miles (16 km) to the northeast of the capital (M-607) and close to the municipal areas of Madrid, namely Alcobendas(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/P Battery), San Sebastián de los Reyes, Tres Cantos and Colmenar Viejo. Located on the main site are the Rectorate building and the Faculties of Science, Philosophy and Fine Arts, Law, Economic Science and Business Studies, Psychology, Higher School of Computing Science and Engineering, and the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education. The Medical School is sited outside the main site and beside the Hospital Universitario La Paz. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/R Battery)
The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, whose philosophy is to create responsible free-thinking people with a sensitivity to social problems and an involvement in the concept of progress based on freedom, justice and tolerance. The undergraduate degrees in Business Administration, Economics and Law are ranked first, first and second respectively among those offered by public and private universities in Spain, (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/L Battery) and its Master and PhD programs also rank top in the country. The Department of Economics is among the 50 best worldwide, and in the top 10 in Econometrics.
Some other prestigious universities include Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, rebuilt at Alcalá de Henares in 1975; and the Universidad Pontificia Comillas, involved in a number of academic exchange programmes, work practice schemes and international projects with over 200 Higher Education Institutions in Europe, Latin America, North America and Asia(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/P Battery).
Other universities in Madrid, some of them private, are: Rey Juan Carlos University (public), Universidad Alfonso X, Universidad Antonio de Nebrija, Universidad Camilo José Cela, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca Campus de Madrid, Saint Louis University Madrid Campus and San Pablo CEU (all of them private) (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/R Battery).
Madrid is also home to the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía, the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid and many other private educational institutions.
IE Business School (formerly Instituto de Empresa) has its main campus on the border of the Chamartín and Salamanca districts of Madrid. IE Business School recently ranked #1 in WSJ's 2009 rankings for Best MBA Programs under 2 years(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/W Battery). It scored ahead of usual stalwarts, INSEAD and IMD, giving it top billing amongst International MBA programs. Although based in Barcelona, both IESE Business School and ESADE Business School also have Madrid campuses. These three schools are the top-ranked business schools in Spain, consistently rank among the top 20 business schools globally, and offer MBA programs (in English or Spanish) as well as other business degrees. Other Madrid business schools and universities that have MBA programs include(Sony Vaio VGN-CR150E/B Battery):
EAE Business School (in English and Spanish).
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid through the Centro de Ampliación Estudios (in English or Spanish).
Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid (in Spanish only).
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (in Spanish only).
Madrid is served by highly developed communication infrastructures, making the Spanish capital the leading logistics hub for both Spain and all of southern Europe. It also boasts a network of motorways, encompassing both ring roads and radial roads, and provides the backbone for Spain's railway network(Sony Vaio VGN-CR190 Battery), thereby providing effective connections with not only other parts of the region, but also the rest of Spain and Europe as a whole. Madrid ranks alongside Tokyo and Paris as one of the world's three largest high-speed railway hubs. Madrid is also home to the Madrid-Barajas airport, Spain's flagship airport and one of the largest in the world(Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery).
Madrid-Barajas Airport is Spain's busiest airport, and is the main hub of Iberia Airlines. It consequently serves as the main gateway to the Iberian peninsula from Europe, America and the rest of the world. Current passenger volumes range upwards of 49.8 million passengers per year, making it the country's largest and busiest airport, and in 2009 it was the world's 11th busiest airport and Europe's fourth busiest airport(Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/P Battery). Given annual increases close to 10%, a new fourth terminal has been constructed. It has significantly reduced delays and doubled the capacity of the airport to more than 70 million passengers per year. Two additional runways have also been constructed, making Barajas a fully operational four-runway airport(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21/B Battery).
The airport is located within the city limits of Madrid, at 9 km (5.6 mi) from the city's financial district and 13 km (8.1 mi) northeast of the Puerta del Sol, Madrid's historic centre. The airport name derives from the adjacent district of Barajas, which has its own metro station on the same rail line serving the airport(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/L Battery).
The Councillor of Transports of the Community of Madrid, Manuel Lamela, announced in 2007 that the city will also be served by two new airports which are expected to be fully operative in 2016, the first of which will be located in Campo Real, it will be initially be used for cargo flights, but also as hub for low-cost carriers, and the second one, expected to be built between the two municipalities of El Álamo and Navalcarnero, which will only take over the routes operating in Cuatro Vientos Airport(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/P Battery).
Spain's railway system, the Red Nacional de Ferrocarriles Españoles (RENFE) operates the vast majority of Spain's railways. Cercanías Madrid is the commuter rail service that serves Madrid and its metropolitan area. It is operated by Cercanías Renfe, the commuter rail division of Renfe. The total length spans 339.1 km. Main rail terminals are Atocha in the south and Chamartín in the north(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/W Battery).
The most important project in the next decade is the Spanish high speed rail network, Alta Velocidad Española AVE. Currently, an ambitious plan includes the construction of a 7,000-kilometre (4,300 mi) network, centred on Madrid. The overall goal is to have all important provincial cities be no more than 4 hours away from Madrid, and no more than 6 hours away from Barcelona(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/L Battery). As of 2008, AVE high-speed trains link Atocha station to Seville, Málaga, Córdoba, Ciudad Real and Toledo in the south and to Cuenca, Albacete, Valencia, Zaragoza, Lleida, Tarragona and Barcelona in the east. AVE trains also arrive from Valladolid in the north.
Serving a population of some five million, the Madrid Metro is one of the most extensive and fastest-growing metro networks in the world. With the addition of a loop serving suburbs to Madrid's south-west "Metrosur"(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/P Battery), it is now the second largest metro system in Western Europe, second only to London's Underground. In 2007 Madrid's metro system was expanded and it currently runs over 283 kilometres (176 mi) of line. The province of Madrid is also served by an extensive commuter rail network of 370 kilometres (230 mi) called Cercanías(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/W Battery).
The system is the sixth longest metro in the world after London, New York, Moscow, Seoul and Shanghai, though Madrid is approximately the fiftieth most populous metropolitan area in the world. Its fast growth in the last 20 years has also put it among the fastest growing networks in the world, on par with the Shanghai Metro and the Beijing Subway. Unlike normal Spanish road and rail traffic, Madrid Metro trains use left-hand running on some lines due to historical reasons(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N Battery).
This railway network is ably supported by an ever-expanding network of city buses. The overall length of the bus network of Madrid's Municipal Transport Corporation (Empresa Municipal de Transportes, or EMT) at yearclose 2008, when 426 million passengers were transported, stood at 3,690 kilometres, marking a 31% increase over the last eight years. These routes are serviced by a growing fleet of over 2,000 vehicles, while the network as a whole is undergoing a continuous improvement process with a view to attaining the utmost standards of speed, quality and sustainability(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/B Battery).
Madrid is the most important hub of Spain's motorway network and is surrounded by four orbital motorways: M30, M40, M45 and M50. M30 circles the central districts and is the inner ring motorway of Madrid. Significant portions of M30 runs underground and its urban motorway tunnels have sections of more than 6 km (3.73 mi) in length and 3 to 6 lanes in each direction(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/P Battery), between the south entry of the Avenida de Portugal tunnel and the north exit of the M-30 south by-pass there are close to 10 km (6.21 mi) of continuous tunnels. M40 is a ring motorway which borders Madrid at a mean distance of 10.07 kilometres (6.26 mi) and it has a total length of 63.3 km (39.33 mi). M45 is a partial ring around the city serving the metropolitan area of Madrid. It was built to help alleviate the congestion of the M40 from the southern to the north-eastern(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/R Battery), runs between the M40 and the M50 where the two ring motorways are more separated. M50 is the outer of the Madrid orbital motorways and has a total length of 85 km (52.82 mi). It services mainly the metropolitan area at a mean distance of 13.5 km (8.39 mi).
The most important radial autovías of Madrid are:
Radial tolled autopistas (named R-n instead of A-n) form a new system of accesses to the capital that merges with their autovía counterparts far from Madrid. The main advantage to these roads is that they allow true fast travel from the first kilometer(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/L Battery).