Just pass by the roundabout where Paseo de Castellana and Bravo Murillo meet, or take a Madrid Metro ride at the Plaza de Castilla subway station, surely you will not the two leaning buildings or towers that stand on the opposite sides of the sprawling metro and autu bus station — they are collectively known as the Puerta Europa or the Gate of Europe. If only because of the unique stance of these skyscrapers, tilted at a 15-degree angle, they deserve to be considered as major icons of the city.
Enjoying major attention from the tourists visiting the Gate of Europe is the Calvo Soleto Monument, which faces away from the towers and looks into the Paseo de Castellana
Formerly known as the Torres KIO, (KIO stands for Kuwait Investment Office), its current name is the Gate of Europe or Puerta Europa. Today these impressive 115-meter tall buildings located at this quiet part residential-part business (judicial) part of the city is the property of two major banking institutions of Spain – Bankia and Realia. In fact, you will be able to find the names of these two banks shining brightly on the top part of the buildings come evening tim.
Estacion de Plaza Castilla. I frequent this Madrid Metro Station, not only because it houses 3 important lineas that bring me to various destination, Lines 1, 9, and 10, but also because it serves as the stop to Autobus 27, the bus that ride whenever I go to Lavapies and Embajadores. At the far left of the photo is the Caja Madrid Obelisk
These twin buildings have the bragging rights for being the first inclined or leaning buildings in the world. Its creators were architects from the US, John Burgee and Philip Johnson; these talented American duo were commissioned by the Kuwaiti Investment office to design the towers. Without, the Plaza de Castilla and its surroundings were never the same again after the towers, the KIO Towers, opened for business in 1996.
Also in the plaza, in the midst of the roundabout, is the Obelisk. It is a slender yellow-colored metallic structure that never fails to get the attention of many passers-by. Its official name is Caja Madrid obelisk, so-called because its construction is funded by the popular Madrid bank of the same name. Anyone can notice that this beautiful creation by Constantin Brancusi fully complements the overwhelming presence of the Puerta Europa.
Within walking distance is another popular set of buildings — the Cuatro Torres (Four Towers) — located in the nearby Business area.
Calvo Sotelo Monument – another awesome Madrid attraction within the Plaza de Castilla area
Just across the Realia Building, located along Mateo Inurria, is the Fundacion Canal or Canal de Isabel II. This is the service agency that ensures the provision of the water supply in order to meet the city’s requirements. It is under the ownership and management of the the Madrid Government.
How to go:
Take the Metro Metro Station lines 1, 9 and 10, and get off at Plaza de Castilla metro station. The plaza station also serves as the parada to a number of auto bus lines such as 27, 149, 173, 174, and 176.