AREAS OF MADRID NEAR MADRID CITY CENTER

Cuatro Caminos- Paseo Castellana -
AZCA & Nuevos Ministerios- El Viso- Chamartín

La Castellana - Madrid´s Grand Avenue

The Paseo de la Castellana starts in Plaza de Colón. It is an extention of the Prado-Recoletos axis. It was created in the mid 19th century, following the Castro Plan guidelines. In those years, it was an avenue of luxurious palaces and residences accommodating the bourgeois elites and aristocracy. It extended to practically Nuevos Ministerios, where the old Hippodrome was located.
In the 1930s Secundino Zuazo was brought in to help reorganise the city, the architect wanted to create a grand avenue that would amaze all visitors travelling to the capital, a promenade that would house the Government's most important buildings and that would communicate the city and join Madrid with other areas. The town planner designed the government building of Nuevos Ministerios as a functional building with a modular design, creating an L-shape to the south that departs from the general structure, granting it a touch of lightness. The project, commenced during the Republic, was paralysed during the war. Nevertheless, it was completed during the regime, following the architect's plans, who was then in exile. Only the southern entrance was modified, with an access that was more monumental.
Also during the Republic, communication systems were extended, Indalecio Prieto designed a railway network to coordinate all the trains travelling north, which used to arrive to Príncipe Pío. This was the seed of the Chamartín station, although it did not gain its current aspect until the 1970s.

The city was reinvented during the second half of the 20th century. Many new constructions were erected, coexisting alongside old mansions in the Paseo de la Castellana. Tall skyscrapers towered above palaces, and tall new buildings -many designed by architects as illustrious as Rafael Moneo or Antonio Lamela-, Colón towers, la Caixa offices, Hespería hotel or Bankinter building, change the aesthetics of the avenue, dominated now by new materials that combine reinforced concrete with steel, glass and brick.

Castellana is the name given to the area round the avenue between Nuevos Ministerios and Plaza de Colón, on either side of the Paseo de la Castellana. This area is one of the main financial centers of the Spanish capital. Most important banks have their headquarters there. The offices of the European Union in Madrid and many important companies are located there too. In the area there are also some of the most prestigious hotels in town, embassies, big stores, luxurious appartment houses, boutiques...it is also walking distance from calle Serrano in Salamanca area.
Public Art museum. Below the overpass that joins Juan Bravo street and Eduardo Dato, there is an excellent collection of 17 abstract sculptures. Over 4,000 m2, in the heart of the Paseo de la Castellana, dedicated to contemporary Spanish art designed by 17 different Spanish artists. It is an open air museum in which the city, its inhabitants and art merge in a common space.

AZCA

The Castellana was aimed to be the avenue opening Madrid up to the world and presenting it as a new, cosmopolitan and contemporary capital. AZCA was conceived in the 1950s, with a revolutionary urban model. It was planned as a small modern city inside the city itself, accommodating shops, companies, housing and all types of leisure services, but it has currently become one of the capital's financial centers. Placed between Paseo de la Castellana, Calle Orense, Calle General Perón and Calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, it contains some of Madrid's most emblematic skyscrapers. Such is the case of the Torre Picasso, designed by Japanese architect Minoru Yamasaki; standing at 157 metres tall with 43 floors; or the BBVA building, measuring 120 metres tall and designed by Sáenz de Oiza.

In the area there are lots of bars and businessmen-oriented clubs, but it is not a popular area for nightlife.

Nuevos Ministerios

Nuevos Ministerios is the area round the nuevos Ministerios building and the metro staton with the sasme name. It is primarily a residential area but it includes the Santiago Bernabéu soccer stadium where Real Madrid play their home matches. There are many shops in the area and you can find some tapas bars, though it's not a typical neighbourhood for tourists to go. It has some recommended restaurants.

Trade fairs and conventions centre (Palacio de Congresos de Madrid)
Paseo de la Castellana, 99

This building is the result of the decision taken in the early seventies to build a centre of conventions in Madrid. The building stands on Paseo de la Castellana, opposite the Real Madrid football stadium. The large mosaic composition on its façade, by Joan Miró, is worth looking at. It has halls for small groups or for meetings of up to 2,000 people. Being in the vicinity of the Nuevos Ministerios metro station gives it a special link to the Barajas airport, which is roughly 20 minutes away. The metro station even has baggage check-in for the airport.

National Museum of Natural Sciences, Calle José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2
It has over 6 million specimens in its collections, and this makes it one of the main reference centres not only for Spanish fauna, but also for other Mediterranean areas.

Cuatro Caminos

This area, probably one of the most active and popular ones outside Madrid's center, is just what its name describes, a junction of four big streets. Its influence goes from Plaza de Castilla down to calle Cea Bermúdez and from Nuevos Ministerios to Calle Reina Victoria. There are lots of shops and commercial establishments basically oriented towards supplying the needs of the residents. But there are also cinemas and some places of particular interest. The rental of flats in this area is quite reasonable compared with many other areas in the city.
The Mercado Maravillas, at Bravo Murillo 122 (Metro Cuatro Caminos) is the biggest market in Madrid, and the most multicultural.

Plaza de Castilla

Plaza de Castilla can be considered the main entrance to Madrid from the north. The square is dominated by the imposing, leaning Torres KIO on both sides of the avenue forming a sort of "door". That's why the square is called "Puerta de Europa", though for many Spaniards, the KIO towers are the synister setting for the "Day of the Devil" scary-freakish movie.

It is a major hub of transports, the bus station just below the Torres Kio is terminal to many lines which go to towns north of Madrid. Plaza de Castilla area reaches to calle General Perón (Plaza de Lima) and to the west up to Calle Bravo Murillo. It is a residential area where blocks of flats mix with high-standard hotels, hospitals and other resources. The most important commercial street is Calle Orense, though Calle Capitán Haya also has a good number of establishments.

El Viso

This is a small neighborhood, from 1933-1936, it is now a reduct of luxurious houses that stretches from Calle María de Molina to the area of Bernabéu (the stadium of Real Madrid). It has almost no tourist or commercial interest, except for those who wish to rent or buy a house without caring about money, the area is very much in demand.

Chamartín

Its difficult to make exact delineations, we could say that this area runs from North of the Bernabéu soccer stadium to the Chamartín train station. Again a residential area with blocks of flats and commerce to serve the residents. No real tourist interest, apart from the railway station of course.

Links of interest

ACCOMODATION TRANSPORT ART & CULTURE SPORT & BUSSINESS SHOPPING RESTAURANTS & TAPAS GOOGLE MAPS METRO IN THE AREA
  • In Cuatro Caminos: Cuatro Caminos (L1,L2,L6)/ Estrecho (L1)
  • In Castellana: Cuzco /Santiago Bernabéu /Nuevos Ministerios /Gregorio Marañón /Rubén Darío
  • In Nuevos Ministerios: Nuevos Ministerios (L10,L8,L6)
  • In El Viso: República Argentina (L6)

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