Once the eastern gate of the city, today Puerta del Sol it is the nerve center of Madrid and symbolically of all Spain. On this square with a semicircular plan, one of the largest and most famous in the capital, the main arteries of the city flow (Calle Mayor, Arenal, Alcalá or Preciados); three metro lines stop at Sol station and numerous buses leave and arrive.
A hub of passage for hundreds of people from Madrid who today pass through here to go elsewhere, the square of Puerta del Sol occupies a prominent place in the heart of all Spaniards for its symbolic position in the center of the country and because here are concentrated buildings and elements among the most representative of the city of Madrid.
Theater of numerous historical events including the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931, the square is today the location of festive occasions such as cultural and sporting events (the Challenge Madrid triathlon passes this way), but the best opportunity to admire the square at the height of its festive atmosphere is December 31st.
Puerta del Sol is in fact the place where the citizens of Madrid gather for the big ones New Year celebrations: in an atmosphere of collective euphoria, the new year is welcomed with a auspicious tradition that since 1962 has been picked up on television and broadcast live to families across the country.
What to see in Puerta del Sol
Elegant palaces from various eras overlook Piazza di Puerta del Sol: it stands out above all others Post House, so called because in the past it was the seat of the Post Office; today it houses the administrative offices of the Community of Madrid.
The Casa de Correos clock is a real "celebrity" in Spain: it is in fact this ancient clock that marks twelve chimes that mark the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. Tradition has it that you eat a grape at each stroke, one for each month to come, as a good luck rite for the new year.
The attraction most photographed by tourists in Puerta del Sol square is curiously a small plaque on the floor that if it hadn't become so famous you could walk on it without even realizing it.
On the other hand, it will be impossible not to notice it because crowds of visitors gather around it, mostly Spaniards, who absolutely want to see this “monument” among the most famous in Madrid.
The reason this plaque has become famous is because it marks the 0 km of the Spanish motorway network: that is, it is the point from which the measurement of the different national roads that start radius from Madrid and reach the most disparate points of the nation begins.
A famous attraction of Puerta del Sol è "the bear and the strawberry tree", the statue of the bear and the strawberry tree, an image that incorporates the coat of arms of the city; it symbolically represents fertility (the tree) and the city aristocracy (the bear). Built in 1967, the statue is now a popular meeting place for many people from Madrid.
The fountain in the center of the square is dominated by equestrian statue of King Carlos III, enlightened monarch who during his reign, from 1759 to 1788, was the promoter of numerous reforms aimed at modernizing society and the structure of the state.
The statue that you can admire on the side where Calle Arenal begins, la statue of the Mariblanca, is a replica of the XNUMXth century original.
How many advertisements become tourist attractions? In Puerta del Sol theadvertising sign for Tio Pepe sherry it has dominated the square with its neon lights for many years which has now become an essential element of the urban landscape of Madrid for all.
A bit of history
Puerta del Sol can be said to be as old as Madrid: its construction took place in the XNUMXth century at the same time as the foundation of the new Spanish capital as a replacement in Toledo.
It soon became an important commercial, administrative and cultural center of the city; numerous interventions over the centuries changed its appearance, reaching what we can still admire today between 1857 and 1862, with the work of the architects Lucio del Valle, Juan Rivera and José Morer.
How to get to Puerta del Sol
The Puerta del Sol square is centrally located in the Sol / Gran Vía area and can be easily reached by metro and bus.