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IntroductionThe region of Madrid is unique in having only one province - of the same name, and the same capital for the city, the province and the nation. A little confusing perhaps - but at least everyone knows where it is - right in the centre of Spain. City of Madrid page >>
The region is the smallest in area of the seventeen in Spain. But it makes up for that by having the largest population(some five million), and the highest density. Unlike, say, London or Paris, it hasn’t always been the capital city, but it has a rich heritage and has caught up quickly, especially in the last one hundred or more years in the national and international status stakes.
The capital city has some outstanding monuments but its collection of paintings, in several galleries, is the best in Spain. Outside the capital, in the rest of the region, there are some distinguished gothic buildings. Among these are: the monastry of Paular and the Castle of Buitrago de Lozoya. From the sixteenth century the monastery of Escorial and the University of Alcala of Henares are outstanding. Beautiful royal palaces of the eighteenth century are to be found at Aranjuez and Pardo. Other noteworthy buildings are the Hospital of the Ciempozuelos and the Cruz de los Caidos.
UNESCO has recognised several locations as of world importance. These are:
- The monastery and royal site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial(1984),
- the university and its historical surrounding at Alcala de Henares(1998)
- and the Landscape of Aranjuez(2001).
Among the galleries of Madrid three stand out - those of the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the national art centre of Queen Sofia. The Prado keeps the largest collection in the world of Spanish masters, such as El Greco,Valazquez, Goya and the masters of the golden age, such as Ribera, Zurbaran and Murillo among others.
Festivals and gastronomyMadrid, as the capital, has attracted people from all over the nation, and its folklore reflects this diversity in the different communities of the city. Nevertheless, certain indigenous festivals stand out, such as those of St Bartolome(24 August, Alcala de Henares), Fair of Motin(5 September, Aranjuez), Our Lady of Carmen(Easter, Morata de Tajuna and Chinchon), the Festival of Maya( 2 May, Colmenar Viejo) and the Procession of the Virgen de la Sol( 1 September, Torrelaguna). The tradition that can be considered as common to all the communities of the region is that of the Fiesta of the Bulls.
Madrid takes many traditional dishes from the regions that border it, especially Castilla-LaMancha, which is famous for its stews and pork. The market gardens of the plain of Aranjuez produce some delicious sweet dishes which would complete the best of meals.
Further development at spain.on-map.net
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- List of hotels in Madrid city.
- List of cheap hotels in Madrid city.
- List of apartments in Madrid city.
- Rural Housing in the province of Madrid
CountrysideOutside the Capital city one can find the true province of Madrid with beautiful landscapes, mountains and woods where,because of its exceptional height, one can breath fresh mountain air.
Throughout its history the region of Madrid has sought to designate protected countryside spaces in order to conserve habitats that the fauna and floradepend on. Noteworthy among these are: the Regional Park at Manzanares and Pedriza. The Regional Park at Jarama, The Regional Park at Guadarama, the Wildlife Park at Penalara, the Nature Reserve of Regajal-Mar de Ontigola and the mountain of Pardo.
Activities and sportsAmong the many sporting facilities of the region the one best provided for is golf - with some twenty courses, designed by the top professionals and players of the game.
Active tourists can take part in rock climbing in many places such as - La Pedriza(Manzanares), Abantos(El Escorial) and Alto de Telegrafo(Navacerrada). Hill walking, horse-trekking and mountain-biking are well catered for in some of the country-parks mentioned above.
For snow sports there are two stations at Navacerrada and Valdesqui.
There are also several theme parks, such as zoological gardens, water-parks and aquariums and leisure parks.
Getting there and aboutMadrid is the centre of a wheel of road and rail communications. From the capital there are six national roads - all of them upgraded over recent years to dual-carriageway or motor-way standard.
Trains arrive at Madrid from all over Spain. From Atocha station the high speed train(Ave)service currently runs to Seville in just over two and a half hours and this service will extend to Barcelona in 2006 and other cities later. And there is also an upgraded regional service to all parts.
Madrid-Barajas international airport is one of the busiest of Europe.
Paleolithic and Neolithic settlements took place in the region along the banks of the Henares and Menzanares rivers. The Roman domination has left few important remains apart from their bridge at Cercedilla and remains of roads and burial places at Villaverde Bajo. The Visigoth period was similarly undistinguished and left only burial sites at Daganzo.
The conquest of the Moors by the Christians was achieved at the end of the eleventh century by the Castillian king Alfonso VI. The city of Madrid was built as a military base and was used throughout the rest of the Middle Ages as a hunting centre for the monarchs. From the end of the sixteenth century the city of Madrid was the seat of the parliament.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the capital’s political and social role eclipsed the development of the rest of the region.
During the twentieth century the industrial expansion of Madrid brought economic importance and created its own dynamic and confidence which was seen in the industrial struggles in the last years the Dictatorship.
Further development at spain.on-map.net
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MADRID PROVINCE, Spain. Travel guide and travel information for the province of MADRID, Spain. SOL Spain On Line.
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