Bourbon Madrid

Great tour of several landmarks.




Madrid’s monument and city plan was completed under the Bourbon dynasty, especially during the reign of Carlos III, known as the "Rey Alcalde", (King Mayor). Before beginning the tour, a place of great interest to visit is the Palacio Real, whose importance and beauty warrant a full day of your holiday. From there, you could continue this tour by visiting some of the era's interesting official buildings. Leaving the bustling Puerta del Sol, where you will find the Casa de Correos [post office], continue on to calle Alcalá, passing the Casa de Postas and the Real Casa de Aduanas [customs]. Now in the traditional Calle Alcalá, Madrid's fundamental backbone, we find ourselves by the Real Academia de Bellas Artes, a palace built by Churriguera, where you can also dwell a pause at its splendid cafeteria (entry fee payable). Within very easy reach, at Caballero de Gracia no. 5, you can visit the Oratorio del Caballero de Gracia, one of the best examples of neo-classical architecture, or stay on Calle Alcalá, on the corner with Gran Vía, going round the Iglesia de San José, a prime example of 18th-century Baroque architecture, and, on the corner with La Cibeles, the Palacio de Buenavista, built in 1777 at the request of the Dukes of Alba, which today houses the Cuartel General del Ejercito [Army Headquarters].

In any event, and if you do not have much time, do not forget the next section, one of the most famous in the capital: go through the famous arch of triumph, the Puerta de Alcalá, pass the Salón del Prado and end up at the most famous fountains in Madrid: the Fuente de la Cibeles, the Fuente de Apolo, and the Fuente de Neptuno. This route ends on the Paseo del Prado, built at the time of Carlos III as a planted walkway which was to become the site of a number of buildings dedicated to science. Very near here, you can visit the Jardín Botánico, the Observatorio Astronómico and the Fuente de la Alcachofa, a replica of the original by Ventura Rodríguez which may be found in the Parque del Retiro.

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