Plaza Mayor Square
The Plaza Mayor, a grand arcaded square in the center of Madrid is very popular with tourists and locals alike.
The symmetrical rectangular square features a uniform architecture.
The name of the plaza has changed over time. Originally it was called the "Plaza del Arrabal" but became known as the "Plaza Mayor".
It was built during the Habsburg period. It is located only a few blocks away from another famous plaza, the Puerta del Sol. Measuring 129 by 94 meters, and is surrounded by three-story residential buildings having 237 balconies facing the Plaza. It has a total of nine entrance ways.
The square was redesigned with gardens, but those were removed in 1936. At the center of the square is a bronze statue of King Philips III, constructed in 1616 by Juan Cristóbal González, Jean Boulogne and Pietro Tacca.
Plaza Mayor as we know it today is the work of the architect Juan de Villanueva who was entrusted with its reconstruction in 1790 after a spate of big fires. The statue of Philip III dates to 1616, but it was not placed in the centre of the square until 1848.
The Casa de la Panadería:
It is a municipal and cultural building on the north side of the Plaza Mayor. It is four stories high, the ground floor comprising porticos and the top floor in the form of an attic, with its sides crowned by angular towers.
At the top center of La Casa de la Panadería, there is a Spanish Coat of Arms. They are the royal Spanish arms from the reign of Carlos II.
The Plaza Mayor has been the scene of multitudinous events: markets (Christmas Market), bullfights, soccer games, public executions, etc.
The Plaza Mayor also has a ring of old and traditional shops and cafes under its porticoes. Celebrations for San Isidro (patron saint of Madrid) are also held here. The Plaza Mayor is now a major tourist attraction, visited by thousands of tourists a year.
The Calamari Sandwich:
The calamari sandwich is a culinary specialty in Madrid. This peculiar sandwich is composed of a bread bun opened up from one side, packed with calamari that are battered in flour and egg and then fried. Some like to add mayonnaise or lemon to their sandwich. This type of sandwich is so popular in Madrid, which can be found in most bars in the capital and is very typical of the Plaza Mayor. After a long day touring the city's landmark sites, there is no better option than to stop in the historic centre to have a calamari sandwich with an ice-cold beer.
Plaza Mayor, S/N
* Line 2 - Sol station.