AREAS OF MADRID MADRID CITY CENTER

Paseo del Prado - Las Cortes

Paseo del Prado/ Paseo de Recoletos/ Paseo de la Castellana are the three names given to this north-south boulevard that covers all metropolitan Madrid and divides Old Madrid (west) from New -19th century- Madrid (east: Salamanca) and continues north to the city's modern financial district. Paseo del Prado, the southernmost and oldest section, begins by the Atocha train station and Reina Sofia Museum. Paseo de Recoletos was added on later and lastly, the extensive Paseo de la Castellana.

Covering the area from Plaza de Neptuno to Atocha, Paseo del Prado can be considered the core of aristocratic and institutional Madrid: The area contains the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, Reina Sofía National Art Centre Museum, the Jardín Botánico (Royal Botanical Gardens), Palacio de las Cortes -the Spanish Parliament-, the fountains of Cibeles, Neptuno, and the Puerta de Alcalá -three of Madrid's icons-, the Bank of Spain, the Madrid City Headquarters, Spain's Stock Exchange, The Zarzuela Theater, Círculo de Bellas Artes and Casa América -two of the best cultural institutions of the city-, Hotel Ritz, Hotel Palace....and some of our favorite tapas bars. It's also an exceptionally quiet area given its central location.
The area between the Paseo de Prado and the Parque del Retiro, is well known for the splendid houses it has.

The Palacio de las Cortes -the Spanish parliament- at Carrera de San Jerónimo is a neoclasssic building dated 1850. Its imposing Greek temple facade with its two bronze lions, has now a new adjacent building.

Cybeles fountain: Symbol of the City
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Also known as the Great Mother or Mother of the Gods, Cibeles is more than a fountain for the citizens of Madrid. A symbol of the city since 1782, no visitor can leave the capital without having included the beautiful goddess in the list of sights to see. The fountain formed part of a brilliant project by Carlos III at the end of the XVIII century for an urban and monumental area in the style of those already existing in other European capitals, which resulted in the Paseo del Prado.
The fountain was designed by Ventura Rodríguez. Sculpted in marble, the Phrygian god of nature and fertility Cibeles, seats on a throne on a carriage pulled by lions. In her right hand she holds the sceptre and in her left the keys of the city.
When Real Madrid football team wins the Spanish league, this is their celebratory spot. Keep up Alcalá and you arrive at Puerta de Alcalá and the Retiro Park in the Salamanca area.

Cibeles is surrounded in her privileged position by four trusty and unique companions: in the direction of the Puerta del Sol is the Bank of Spain - built in 1891 and Eclectistic style - and the Neo-Classic Palacio de Buenavista, built in 1777. Behind the goddess is the Palacio de Linares, today known as the Casa de America, dating from 1873, and the monumental Palacio de Comunicaciones, from 1919. Even further behind is the silhouette of the Puerta del Alcalá, and on either side of the fountain the start of the Paseos del Prado and Recoletos.

cibeles fountain madrid

 

Neptune fountain: God of the Sea
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Along with Cibeles, Neptuno is one of the most majestic and beautiful fountains in Madrid. Both gods have occupied their prominent posts in the hierarchy of Greek mythology and also compete during football tournaments, since the fans of the Atlético de Madrid celebrate their joys in the plaza where the Sea god abides, while those of the Real Madrid at the Cybeles.
As part of the original project by Ventura Rodríguez, both fountains were made to face each other across the Paseo del Prado. Neptune, just like his rival, also went through renovations at the end of the 19th century, and was moved to the place it finally occupies in the plaza Canovas del Castillo. In the sculpture, Neptune emerges on his carriage shaped like a shell and pulled by two horses or hippocampuses symbolizing storms and a raging sea. In this square are located the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and the emblematic hotels Palace and Ritz.

Paseo del Prado - Art walk

The Paseo del Arte is in fact the axis Paseo del Prado- Atocha, which connects three remarkable museums, situated very close to one another: the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, and the Reina Sofía National Art Centre Museum. Right by the Museo del Prado are the interesting Botanical Gardens, designed in 1781, also commissioned by king Charles III, the rich variety of flora shows many species from South America and Philipines. It is a perfect place to rest after a long visit to el Prado.
The importance of these three great galleries has unfairly eclipsed the richness and variety of the other museums of Madrid. If the traveller has the time, he or she can choose from dozens of options. Some of these include art galleries, such as the Royal Academy of San Fernando; municipal museums; and specialised museums such as the Romantic Museum, the Railway Museum, the Navy Museum, the Army Museum, the Museum of America, the National Archaeological Museum, the National Museum of Natural Sciences, etc.

Prado Museum Madrid,
Paseo del Prado s/n
Metro: Banco de España (L2)
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www: Prado Museum Madrid
This Museum is considered by many experts to be the best art gallery of the world, as it has the most complete and impressive collection of sixteenth, seventeenth, and twentieth century art, with the best works from the Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools. It is in the Prado Museum where artists of the stature of Goya, Velázquez, Bosch, Rubens, Murillo, Fra Angélico, Botticelli, Titian, Rafael, Watteau, Tintorretto, El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, and very many others, can be admired, along with a magnificent collection of classical sculptures. The recent extension of the Prado National Museum by architect Rafael Moneo allows more pieces of this splendid collection to be shown.
More information in our page in culture section.

Thyssen Bornemisza Museum Madrid,
Paseo del Prado, 8
Metro: Banco de España (L2), Antón Martín (L1)
Google map location
www: Thyssen Bornemisza Museum Madrid
The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum stands right on Plaza Neptuno, it lodges in the old Palacio de Villahermosa at the corner of San Jerónimo and Paseo del Prado. This museum keeps maybe the world's greatest private art collection, finally donated to Spain in 1993. It has the widest variety of periods and styles, from primitive 13th century paintings to the avant-garde movements of the 20th century.
Dürer, Tintoretto, Degas, Kandinsky, Goya, Cezanne, Matisse, Dalí, Miró, Picasso, and Renoir, are just a few of the artists whose work forms part of this collection. There's a café in the basement and re-entry is allowed, as long as you get your hand stamped at the exit desk. During the summer the "Mirador Restaurant" is open in the attic, with a gastronomy characterised for being informal combined with more elaborate dishes loaded with imagination.
More information in our page in culture section.

The Paseo del Arte ends at the Reina Sofía National Art Centre Museum, very famous for having Picasso's Guernika, and for its collection of contemporary paintings, mainly Spanish ones. We have included this museum in the area of Atocha.

In the area you can also visit the Palacio de la Bolsa (Madrid Stock Exchange) at Plaza de la Lealtad 1, which every working day morning opens its doors to all visitors for a guided-tour within the 19th century neo-classic Palacio de la Bolsa. The tour, approximately, 60 minutes long, includes a visit to the exhibition "BME". All visitors are encouraged to ask as doubts arise, assuming a dynamic and active role.

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parliament madrid
Parliament at Carrera de San Jerónimo, Las Cortes area

madrid buildings
Madrid buildings in carrera de San Jerónimo

madrid cortes
Dont forget to look at the top of the buildings

palacio linares madrid
Palacio de Linares - Casa de América

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Neptuno fountain in Paseo del Prado

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Velazquez entrance at Prado Museum at night madrid stock market
La Bolsa de Madrid

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