20th - Century Madrid

It is in Paseo de la Castellana that you can obtain the best view of Madrid's 20th-century architecture.

The Jardines del Descubrimiento are located in Plaza de Colón and contain a monument to Christopher Columbus and gigantic sculptures which crown the entrance of the Centro Cultural de la Villa with a waterfall. This is a place where you can enjoy concerts and events every night.

From here, continuing northwards along Paseo de la Castellana, you will notice on both sides tall, interesting skyscrapers such as the Torres de Colón, the Edificio de la Unión y el Fénix, the Edificio Bankunión, La Adriática, the Compañía de Seguros de Occidente, La Caixa, and the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones. The Museo de Esculturas al Aire Libre, located beneath the bridge over the Paseo de la Castellana, is of particular interest.

The renovations carried out between 1980 and 1990 form a very special chapter and include the Mercado de la Puerta de Toledo located in the old the central fish market, the Glorieta de la Estación de Atocha, whose iron and glass structure has been supplemented with a new one; and in front of it, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, created by remodelling the former Hospital de San Carlos and adding glass structures to its façades. And last but not least, a few metres away, we find an interesting group of constructions: la Torre Picasso, designed by Yamasaki, 150m tall; the Edificio Sollube, most original and aesthetically pleasing; and the Torre Europa, really eye-catching, both in terms of the structure of its façade and its metal ornaments.

But we cannot draw these pages to a close without mentioning a bizarre "human monument" from modern-day Madrid, both contemporary and traditional; El Rastro, a street market which has sold anything and everything for over five centuries, and which takes place on Sunday mornings at the Ribera de Curtidores, extending through many streets in the old town.

This is an interesting trip, an absolute must for anyone seeking to discover the "real Madrid". The same is true of the Plaza de Toros de "Las Ventas", one of the largest and most traditional bullrings in Spain, where the best bullfighters perform every year. It is also one of the most beautiful bullrings, with a splendid, very elegant neo-Mudejar façade.


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