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Introduction :

Madrid has been the first city of Spain for almost 5 centuries, ever since a resolute King decided to take his entire court to a modest burg at the Manzanares river bank. From this time, Madrid has consolidated it fundamental role and has become a Spanish political and financial centre, as well as one of the liveliest cities in Europe with regards to culture and the arts. Located at the heart of the Castilian planes and of Spain itself, Madrid is the starting point to the discovery of the entire country, not only because of the "Puerta Del Sol" (the Gate to the Sun) from and to all distances in Spain are measured, but also because it embodies the flavors and traditions of the entire nation. Madrid and its 3 million inhabitants -that become 5 millions if the entire province of Madrid is considered- are the protagonists of the eternal spark that characterizes the live of this cosmopolitan city; after the "delirio" of the Franco years, the city has once again conquered its equilibrium, and it has established its image to the eyes of the tourist, still enchanted by the enthusiastic nightlife of its streets, squares, and bars.

Appealed by the entertainment and surrendered to the scent of art that is breathed at the prestigious museums of the "Paseo del Prado", the number of visitors of Madrid grows every year. They have not cancelled their rendezvous with the Spanish capital even after the events of March the 11 th 2004 , admired by the braveness of the Spanish people and by their firm reaction to terrorism.



Madrid 's history goes back to a relatively recent time and it is closely connected to the Muslim world. In 865 A.D. Mohamed I decided to build a fort on the current site of the Spanish capital, which he named Magrit. This strategic position at the Manzanares River bank and at the centre of the Meseta exposed the settlement to frequent conflicts between Christians and Muslims until the arrival of Alfonso IV of Castilla at the beginning of the eleventh century.

The first attempt to position Madrid as an important city was made by Isabella of Castilla and Ferdinand of Aragona, but it is Phillip II who changed the faith of the city when he named it the capital of the empire.

After a period in which Madrid remained of modest size, the city exploded and reached its Culturel and political peak with Phillip IV. This is the period of the Spanish Baroque and of the great master Diego Velazquez.

With the coming of the Bourbons and the arrival to the throne of the Francophile Carlo II the city changed its face and grew richer of new architectural marvels; the 1800's are also the years of the Spanish rebellion to the TRANSALPINI domination and of the successive cruel Napoleonic repression.

If the nineteenth century was unstable, the twentieth century was for Madrid even more tragic. The three years of Civil War (1936 - 1939) left its mark in the capital, and the control of the General Franco, which lasted until 1975, clouded the image of the city.

The arrival of the young King Juan Carlos of Bourbon has brought to Madrid a period of innovation. The Spanish capital has become the capital of the "movida," a centre of famous museums of immense value and one of the most desirable destinations of international tourism.

tel number and information :

Population : 3.160.000
Surface: 607 km2
Country: Kingdom of Spain , of which Madrid is the capital
Language : Castilian Spanish
Currency: After January the 1 st 2002 , the Euro was adopted as the national currency.
Time: Winter: GMT + 1 Hour. Summer: GMT + 2 Hours
Religion : Roman Catholic
Travel Documentation Required : Based on the Schengen Treaty, Citizens of the European Union do not require any documentation. However, we recommend that you carry your ID card at all times.

Distance to other European Cities:

Madrid - Rome: 2.030 km
Madrid - Vienna: 2.450 km
Madrid - Berlin: 2.540 km
Madrid - Paris: 1.260 km
Madrid -Prague: 1.380 km
Madrid - Amsterdam: 1.805 km
Madrid - Lisbon: 660 km
Madrid - Brussels: 1.570 km
Madrid - Milan: 1.665 km
Madrid - Barcelona: 630 km

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