Puerta del Sol
One of Madrid’s main squares is Puerta del Sol. Almost all tourist routes along the capital of Spain pass through this place. "Puerta del Sol" translates from Spanish as the "Gate of the Sun", and here really sunny, hills a good mood. We will talk about the origin of the title in the course of this article.
Puerta del Sol area for tourists is a reflection of the culture and history of the country and the capital. Buildings of 18-19 centuries as if tolerated in the past, and monuments on the square are famous Spanish characters.
Puerta del Sol is no less important for the Spaniards themselves. Here is a "zero kilometer", in fact, the geographical center of Spain. At the post office there are main hours of the country that marks the beginning of the New Year. Here is the statue of the bear – the symbol of Madrid, the statue of Charles III – the Great King of Spain and the statue of "White Maria". Let’s tell about everything in order.
How to get
The easiest way to get to Madrid’s subway. Under the area, 3 branches are intersect at once – 1 (blue), 2 (red) and 3 (yellow). On all three branches, the station is called the same – "SOL". Look at the Metro Schema on our page "Madrid Metro – Scheme and Prices".
From neighboring cities you can come by train. Branches C-3 and C-4, stop "SOL". We recommend our article "Trains in Spain". You can come by bus. Sit one of the routes: 3, 16, 26, 50, 51.
You can use a taxi, the cost of the trip depends on the distance, read the details in our review "Spanish Taxi". Tell the taxi driver’s phrase "Puerta del Sol", he will understand where to go.
Almost all sightseeing excursions in Madrid include at its route a visit to Puerta del Sol Square. Or with the excursion group, but be sure to "meet" with the central square of Madrid.
Historical milestones of the famous Madrid Square
In medieval times, there was a fortress wall that surrounded the city from all sides. King Carlos I (in the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge), having come to the Spanish throne in 1516, gives an order for the construction of the gate in this wall. The gate was delivered on the east. They were called "Gate of the Sun".
According to some historians, the name could be associated with the location of the gate from the East, the sunrise could be observed. There is an alternative hypothesis that the area received its name because of the image of the sun on these gates.
With Carlos I and demolished in 1521. It was necessary to make the departure from Madrid comfortable, it was easier to carry part of the wall than to expand the gate.
Over time, the area expands, new buildings are added: Resident San Felipe El Real, Church of the Annunciation, Public House. The last institution clearly did not fit into the area ensemble, and on the orders of the king it is transferred to the street Carmen located nearby.
In the 17th century, the source of the Cathedral of the Annunciation is transformed: the bronze bowl is put. In it from masks, made of bronze, dropped water. The composition was Valval Sculpture Venus. Residents of the capital called it "White Maria" – "Mariblack". The statue was taken from Italy in 1625. Now on the square you can only see a copy, because the original was damaged, and after restoration, the sculpture was sent to the historical museum.
A little later in the walls of the monastery, around the fountain, the market.
In 1761, a building of mail is built, on the tower of which the clocks were installed, which became one of the symbols of the capital. It is they who emit each year the Spaniards about the arrival of the new year. According to the tradition of the 19th century, all the Spaniards under the fight of these chimes are made by 12 ineffective wishes, eating along the grape (one krauralt strike is one grape). Nowadays in the House of Mail there is a government of the autonomous region of the capital of Spain.
During the reign of Isabella II (end of the 19th century), Puerta del Sol ensemble has already developed. The area of its shape resembles crescents. As ribbons, Madrid’s streets are departed from it in different directions.
Puerta del Sol becomes the place where the first technical innovations in Madrid appeared: the first gas lamp, the route of the first time, the first electric lighting, the first tram path. The first car in Madrid drove through Puerta del Sol Square. In 1919, the first branch of the Madrid metro was laid under the Puerta del Sol area.
Important and significant events of Spanish history unfolded on Puerta del Sol. Here a riot "Cloak and Hat" (1766), protest residents against the power of Napoleon (1808), promulgation of the Cadiz Constitution (1812) and its burning (1814), the proclamation of the Spanish Republic (1931).
Three main metropolitan streets are adjacent to the square: San Heronimo, Alcala, Major.
Acquaintance with Puerta del Sol
In the heart of the square there is a statue of King Charles III, squeezing on horseback. It is he who is considered the "father of the Spanish nation", in his rule, Spain felt a single country, and not a set of regions with a common king. Modern flag of Spain – his brainchild.
Karl III made a lot for Madrid. He forbade residents to throw away from the windows into the street, and when the Madrids tried to protest this decision, he said: "You’re like children who cry when they wash them". Roads leading from Madrid to other cities is the brainchild of Charles III.
In Madrid, he received the nickname "El Ray Alcalde", translates as "Losing Mayor". It laid down the buildings of the Prado Museum and the Queen Sofia Museum, the Royal Palace was seriously rebuilt. He said about him: "He received Madrid in clay, but left behind in marble".
Present on the square and the symbol of Madrid, present on the coat of arms of the city. This sculpture "Statue of the Bear and Strawberry Tree". Many our tourists are surprised: "How this strawberry grows on a tree?". The strawberry tree exists, although the apparent relationship has nothing to do with us. Such a tree grows in Mediterranean and Western Europe, fruits are like our strawberries. The composition can be seen at the intersection of Puerta del Sol with Alcala Street. This is a favorite meeting place in love in Madrid.
On the facade of the post office building, two memorable boards are installed: on one reminder of the people’s excitement on May 2, 1808, on the second – about victims from the explosion of Madrid trains in 2004. Here is "Kilometro Cero" – a dot "zero kilometer", look for a stone plate under the legs.
And on the square there are dozens of boutiques and shops, including the most famous Apple store in Spain. There are a lot of snack bars and fast foods: McDonalds, Burger King, KFC and others, restaurants with magnificent Spanish cuisine, including Castilian and Galician restaurants.
In the evening, Puerta del Sol is illuminated by spotlights, the backlight turns on at all buildings, and the area becomes also brighter and more colorful.
Tips for tourists
– Walking around the area is more interesting with the guide, which will tell about the history of buildings, monuments and sculptures on Puerta del Sol;
– The best Madrid Confectionery Mallorquina is located here. Look there to try the best local sweets. Read our detailed article "The best sweets of Spain". Here, go to the Cafe Chocolateria de San Gines and try the main dish of the institution – Chocolate Con Churros, prepare it here since 1894;
– Two minutes from Puerta del Sol posted two more famous Madrid Squares: Sibleles and Major;
– Especially beautiful Spanish Square in Christmas holidays. She sparkles garlands lights, overflow lanterns and spotlights. In the photo on the right, click on the photo to enlarge. However, the Puerta del Sol celebrates all holidays – both national and regional. Calendar, see our article "Holidays in Spain";
– But on the other days there will be many visitors, musicians, singers, animators. Bored on Puerta del Sol does not happen;
– Puerta del Sol Square is a small – 200 x 60 meters, there will not have to go here. But most often, tourists are watching several sights of the center of Madrid at once, and move between them. Take comfortable shoes and clothing for the season, what we talked about in the article "What to take tourist to Spain";
– For one of the corners, find the Church of San Gines. Crocodile stared here, according to legend, this is a gift of kings brought from America for the Catholic Church. The temple is dedicated to the Saint Hensia Arles, the patron of notaries and secretaries;
– From Puerta del Sol Square to Plaza de Santo Domingo Square there is a preppy street, with hundreds of boutiques and shops, this is the main "fashionable" street of Spain. But besides the clothes, here you can buy a lot of interesting things, as you read our article "What to bring from Spain";
– Do not forget that Puerta del Sol is a crowded place. Beware of pockets, about what we talked in detail in the article "Hazards for tourists in Spain".
Successful walks on Puerta del Sol, and read our other interesting articles about Spain (Links below).
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thanks. I seemed to visit Madrid again on this square. Although it was in October 2018.