Tag Archives: Puerta de Alcala

Great Attractions to Marvel at in Calle de Alcala of Madrid

2018_050219_5203_936Calle de Alcalá of Madrid is known as the longest street in Spain, and if only for this distinction, I had always been fascinated by it, what with all the shops, establishments, cafes and others dotting it, especially around the Goya area. In fact, I already walked a good portion of Alcala a number of times, from as far as Retiro down to my place in El Carmen. Every time, it was a thrill doing so.

Needless to say, this stretch of road, historically important as it is, is filled with some of the most fascinating and breathtaking sights and attractions you can find. You won’t just find shops, but a lot more. There are magnificent edifices, an imposing arch, a church, a huge park, a theater, and even a bull ring stadium.

1. Puerta de Alcala

imageThe Puerta de Alcalá is one of the most important Madrid monuments, and is  often compared to other major European arch structures such as the Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and the Arc de Triomphe of Paris, France. The city under the reign of Phillip IV was said to have been guarded and secured by this gate. The arch is so-called because it served as a gate to the road that extended all the way to Alcala de Henares. As in other Spanish puertas, the Puerta de Alcala exhibits strong Neo-classical design. Just a stone’s throw away, you’ll find the Retiro Park.

Location: Plaza de la Independencia

2. Palacio de Cibeles

imageCibeles Palace, that grayish-white coated building standing in the corner of Calle de Alcalá and Paseo del Prado. It houses the Centro Centro, the Center for the Culture and the Arts of Madrid. It has a public observation deck that, after paying 2 euros for entry, affords you a breathtaking view of the city, especially the nearby neighborhoods like Sol, Colon, and Atocha.

Direccion: Plaza de Cibeles 1

3.Edificio Metropolis

2018_050219_5223_036A Spanish edifice of immense beauty, it is no wonder that the Metropolis building is a much photographed building in Madrid. And like the Grassy Building (one with the famous Rolex clock in its topmost portion), it is one of the most iconic edifices within the Alcala and Gran Via areas.

Direccion: Calle Alcala 39

4. Instituto de Cervantes

received_1312324972202869Another impressive building along Alcala is the headquarters of the Instituto Cervantes, a Spanish-government cultural institution known for fostering the learning of the Spanish language and culture. The institute was named after Miguel Cervantes, one of the greatest literary minds of Spain.
Official Website

5. Nuevo Teatro Alcalá

2018_042921_4830_598Also known as the Alcala Palace and Pardiñas Coliseum, this performance center is a watering hole for avid theater goers in Madrid. The Nuevo Teatro Alcala is a huge favorite, attracting musical show and play lovers, night after night, in droves. Currently being shown is Billy Elliot. I wonder when the Los Miserables musicale will be featured here next.

Where to buy your theatre tickets

6. Casa Arabe

2018_042921_4853_903
If you want to learn anything about the Arab world, its culture, arts, and way of life, the place to visit is the Casa Arabe. The building was formerly used by the Aguirre schools of Don Lucas Aguirre y Juarez until it was turned over to the Arabic institution to be used as its headquarters. Open to the public since 2008, the center maintains its goal of strengthening friendship between Spain and the Arab countries.

Dirrection: Calle de Alcala 62
Website: Casa Arabe

7. Iglesia de San Manuel y San Benito

2018_042921_4902_204Churches abound in Madrid, and so, it isn’t surprising that you can also find them in Alcala Street, like the Church of San Manuel and San Benito, a work of art by Tremanti and Fernando Arbós.

8. Banco de España

2018_042921_4925_105Formerly called the Banco Nacional de San Carlos, it was constructed in 1782 under the reign of Carlos III as the latter’s solution of attaining 18th-century Spain’s financial stabilization. Today, it operates as the country’s Central Bank. This magnificent edifice is a veritable landmark, and together with the Palacio de Cibeles, is a crowd drawer not only because of its outstanding beauty in design but because of its rich history.

9. Plaza de Toros de las Ventas

2018_050214_0105_873The Alcala Street also has the distinction of being the site of the most famous Spanish bullring, the site where Spaniards enjoy their favorite traditional past-time. Las Ventas, for short, is famous for its Neo Mudejar or Moorish design meticulously done by Spanish architect Jose Espeliu. A gargantuan structure, it can accommodate thousands, and activities other than bullfights were held here. It was regularly used as a concert venue, where major artists such as the Beatles and Diana Ross performed. It was also used as a tennis game venue, with the bullfight arena transformed into a clay court so everyone could witness the games of Spain and the US in 2008. The Spanish team led by Rafael Nadal prevailed over their opponents.
Information about the ticket prices

10. Parque del Buen Retiro

2018_050122_3858_518The Park of the Good Retreat, in English, the Retiro Park sprawls in the heart of the city of Madrid, and the Street of Alcala happens to pass by it. It was actually a royal park in the beginning, being a property of the king. Eventually, it was converted into a park for use by Spanish commoners during the 19th century. Filled with varied attractions, a thousand varieties of flora and fauna, rose gardens, palaces, exhibit halls, jogging lanes, fountains, sculptures, and a man-made park lake — you’ll love to roam around and be lost, and stay awhile in Retiro as there is so much to see.

Location: 7 Plaza de la Independencia
Time Open: April to September: 6am to 12am; October to March: 6am to 10PM

11. Puerta del Sol

2018_050122_5841_790The Street of Alcala starts on this busy and boisterous square, one of the most visited in Madrid. Known to be the gate to the old city, the square is so-called because it faces the East, and hence, the rising sun. I intend to walk the length of the street starting at Sol square, at the store facing it which is the Apple store, up to the Plaza Norte at Ciudad Lineal. A mere 6.8 kilometers spans these two points,  and so, estimate I’d be able to do the task in under 1 and a half hours.

Arch Monuments: Magnificent Madrid Attractions

Madrid, Spain, like most other European cities, is rich in history, culture and arts. This is evident in the numerous significant monuments and and structures in various parts of the city, many are intended to commemorate a significant event or an individual in the distrito or barrio where they are found.  Others serve to represent or honor the place or the whole city itself. A popular type of monument is the arch, and the two most common reasons for being is to serve as a gateway to the city or celebrate a major victory in a battle.

The following are some of the popular arch monuments within the Spanish capital:

Puerta de Toledo

imageOne of the most visited Madrid attractions is the Puerta de Toledo, an impressive monument located in the heart of the city. It is near Gloriette de Embajadores and Lavapies. It took 15 long years for builders to finish this grand structure. Done in the early 19th century, it is actually considered as a new monument, since many others like it date as far back as the 1500’s. Still the Toledo Gate is special since it bears the official emblem of Madrid.

And like other important statues, a number sits on top of the monument – all of which represents the powerful reign of the kings of Spain during the medieval period. A fitting honor has been bestowed upon the well-loved structure – it was labelled in 1996 as a Bien de Interes Cultural.

How to go: The easiest way is via Madrid Metro. Like linea 5 and get off at Puerta de Toledo station. C2, C1 are two of the many auto-buses that passes through the monument.

Puerta de Alcala

imagePuerta de Alcala will surely pop up into one’s mind when asked which monument is most associated with the city of Madrid. Indeed, it strongly represents the city as far as Spanish history and culture are concerned. Finished in 1778 by Senor Francisco Sabatini, the architect who was also responsible for the Sabatini Gardens.

Where can the monument be found? It is right in the middle of the Independence square (Plaza de la Independencia), standing at the starting point of Calle de Alcala. It is also near the Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro), and so this Madrid attraction is good enough reason to drop by Alcala.

How to go:

Metro: Take linea 2 and alight at Retiro atation. From here, proceed to the park gate fronting the Puerta de Alcala.

Bus: Autobus No. 51 stops at the parade in Plaza de la Independencia, in front of the monument.

Arco de la Victoria

imageStanding proudly within the vicinity of Moncloa is the Arco de la Victoria – one of the majestic arch monuments of Madrid. Francisco Franco ordered the building of the structure in 1950, as a way of remembering the strongman´s victory in one of his battles during the Civil War of Spain, the Battle of Ciudad Universitaria, in 1936.

Also called the Puerta de la Moncloa, the Victory Arch of Madrid was not built to serve as a gateway to the city; but instead, it is triumphal in nature. It has a resemblance to the Puerta de Alcala, and was constructed by prolific Spanish architects Bravo Sanfeliu and Lopez Otero. Conspicuous among the sculptures on top is that of Minerva.

How to go:

Metro: Opt for line 3 or 6, and get off at Moncloa Station. You will find it standing in the middle of Avenida de Arco de la Victoria.

Puerta de San Vicente

IMG_0003Another brilliant work by Francesco Sabatini, acting as a significant gateway to Madrid is the Puerte de San Vicente. It is in the middle of the Glorietta de San Vicente, while the most popular landmark nearby is the Principe Pio Metro train station and shopping center. This 3-arched monument, which is also called Puerta de Florida and Puerta del Angel, displays the statue of San Vicente, hence the name. Pedro Ribera was commissioned by then mayor of 1726 Marquis de Badillo to build the structure as a replacement to a old gateway.

How to go:

The glorietta is just a stone´s throw away from the Principe Pio station and mall. It is also near the Jardines de Campo del Moro at Paseo Virgen del Puerto.