Madrid sure has a lot of plazas. Be sure to bring a good pair of walking shoes!
The Plaza de la Villa, Madrid’s oldest plaza, contains three main buildings – each with a different architectural style. The Casa de la Villa, also known as City Hall, is designed in a Castilian-baroque style. It’s the home of the City Council of Madrid.
Directly across from the Casa de la Villa is the Torre de los Lujanes, home of one of Madrid’s most aristocratic families. It’s been said that King Francis I of France was held captive here. There’s also the Casa de Cisneros, a palace built in 1957 for the nephew of Cardinal Cisneros, Benita Jimenez de Cisneros. Today the building has been converted to municipal offices.
I sauntered down Calle Mayor, which leads to the Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s main square. It’s surrounded by pricey cafes and restaurants.
Many grand and historical events have happened in this plaza, like bullfights, soccer games, public executions, inquisitions and royal coronations. Today, tourists and madrileños, people from Madrid, sprawl out across the cobblestone floor to sip coffee and bathe in the sun.
A short walk from the Playa Mayor is the Plaza de la Puerta del Sol, the heart of Madrid’s historic center and the center of Madrid’s most well known landmarks. Around the corner of Puerta del Sol is the Iglesia de San Gines, one of the oldest churches in the city. The church holds El Greco’s most famous masterpiece, “The Purification”. He is one of Spain’s most reknown painter who produced his most famous work after he moved from Rome to Toledo.