AREAS OF MADRID MADRID CITY CENTER
Salamanca and Retiro neighbourhoods
"Barrio de Salamanca"
This neighbourhood, bounded by Paseo de la Castellana, Calle Alcalá, calle María de Molina and Francisco Silvela, is one of the few parts of the city with a well-defined urban structure. Blocks in the area are square and streets run parallel and perpendicular. It has a reputation for being the wealthy neighbourhood in central Madrid, and some of the most exclusive boutiques in town are located there. Its main streets are Serrano, Velázquez and Goya.
If you're willing to venture outside Madrid's typical hub of tourist attractions, there are a handful of great places to explore in Salamanca. See the Student's Residence where Salvador Dalí once lived, the Juan March Foundation, which hosts classical music concerts and intimate art expos, Spain's National Library, the Museo Lázaro Galdiano, or the fascinating Archaeological Museum.
South of Serrano brings you straight to the Plaza de Independencia, one of the main entrances to El Retiro. In this area, there are some gorgeous private homes, many of them, former 19th century palaces.
North of Serrano you'll pass a number of stately embassies and, way down, just off Serrano, on calle del Pinar 23, the reknown Residencia de Estudiantes. A plethora of famous artists and authors lived or visited here in the early 20th century: Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, Miguel de Unamuno, José de Ortega y Gasset and more. It is still residence for students, a library and a cultural center.
Palacio-Museo Lázaro Galdiano, c/ Serrano, 122
Metro: Rubén Darío (L5), Gregorio Marañón (L7,L10) Google Maps
Located in a beautiful palace, it is considered to be one of the Spain's finest private musems. The collection, built up by the Spanish entrepreneur José Lázaro Galdiano (1862-1947), comprises over 15,000 works of art and a librabry containing more than 20,000 books. The museum first opened its doors in 1951 and, after closing for refurbishment in 2001, reopened. Artists on show include: Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Murillo, Zubaran, Constable, Reynolds and Gainsborough. You will also find a good collection of porcelain, clocks, bronzes and many other art pieces.
Fundación Juan March,
c/ Castelló 77
Metro: Lista (L4), Núñez de Balboa (L5) Google maps
Established in 1955 by the Spanish financier Juan March Ordinas, the Fundación Juan March is a family-run institution that dedicates its resources and activities to the fields of science and the humanities. It organizes art exhibitions, concerts, lecture series, and seminars in Madrid and also it administers the Spanish Library of Contemporary Music and Theater in its Madrid headquarters and directs the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca, and the Museu d'Art Espanyol Contemporani in Palma de Mallorca.
Plaza de Colón's eastern side stretches along calle Serrano. Serrano is packed with luxury stores like , Gucci, Carolina Herrera and Yves Saint-Laurent, as well as Spanish designers as Adolfo Domínguez, Loewe, Purificación García and Hoss, along with some affordable Madrid shopping options like the Zara mega-store.
El Jardín de Serrano is a high-quality shopping gallery located in two restored 19th century palaces in the heart of Salamanca's district. Here you will find names with recognised national and international prestige offering exclusive and elegant fashion, jewellery, gifts and accessories. All this in a welcoming atmosphere to shop, stroll, have a cup of coffee or eat dinner.
ABC Shopping centre,
Set within what used to be the working premises of a well-known Madrileño newspaper (ABC), this is a three-storey complex of about 85 upscale boutiques that emphasize fashion, housewares, cosmetics, and art objects.
You can enter from Calle Serrano or Paseo de la Castellana and wander through the fashion boutiques and gift shops. Fashion clothing outlets include Musgo and Musgo Bebes, Boch, Zara, Doble Aa and Minority. There are two hairdressing salons, a wine merchant...
Although each of the outfitters inside are independently owned and managed, most maintain hours of Monday to Saturday from 10am to midnight. You'll find cafes and restaurants to keep you fed between bouts of shopping, lots of potted and flowering shrubbery, and acres and acres of Spanish marble and tile.
Far north, above calle María de Molina, we actually leave past Salamanca neighborhood to enter Chamartín. There, you can gape at the luxury homes of El Viso. It's probably the wealthiest corner inside Madrid.
In Salamanca area there are some well
known hotels and restaurants.
It also has some nightlife, posh discos and bars, though that's certainly not it's main characteristic.
Madrid's many parks provide great places to escape the sightseeing for a few hours. The most central and most popular one is the Parque del Buen Retiro behind the Prado, a stunning mix of formal gardens and wilder spaces. You can jog, row a boat, picnic, have your fortune told and, above all, promenade –on Sunday afternoon half of Madrid turns out for the paseo-. Autumn is a specially attractive time of the year to visit the Retiro due to the great amount of trees of different species which display splendid colors for the enjoyment of the passer by. The nearby Jardines Botánicos, whose entrance faces the southern end of the Prado, are also delightful.
The origins of the Retiro park date back to 1630 when the Conde Duque de Olivares, minister of Felipe IV, decided to create a leisure complex with gardens, an artificial lagoon and a palace, in the terrains of the monastery of San Jerónimo el Real, where the kings had a retirement lodging (Retiro means retreat) for special solemn occasions. The palace and other installations were destroyed during the independence war in 1812. In the 19th century the park was opened to the public.
Th Palacio de Cristal built in 1887 to house an exhibition about the Phillipines with plants, animals and real native population, is one of the most beautiful sites in the park placed by a small lagoon with a water jett. It is today a contemporary art showroom dependant of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Travelling art exhibitions are frequently housed there or in the nearby Palacio de Velázquez.
The Parterre, at the entrance by the Puerta de Felipe IV is a palatial garden with curiosly shaped bushes and some of the oldest trees in the park.
The artificial lake is one of the oldest structures of the park, as it was part of the original 1630 park, naval battles were performed in it for the enjoyment of the royal family in the 17th century. Today the grand monument to Alfonso XII borders one side of its shores and a bongo playing crowd gathers there at weekends. Navigating the lagoon on the hiring rowing boats is an all-time tradition in Madrid.
Madrid is the only capital in the world which has built a monument dedicated solely to the devil. The fountain of the Fallen Angel (Ángel Caído) at the Retiro gardens, takes as its theme the expulsion from paradise, in which Lucifer is shown being banished and embodying the spirit of evil which has sway over him. Created by Ricardo Bellver and inaugurated in 1885, this monument leaves a striking effect of tension, expressivity and drama. Its lower base displays eight faces of evil in four groups of two, holding in their hand snakes, lizards and dolphins.
On this section
Lázaro Galdiano Museum
Boats in the Retiro Park
ABC Serrano shopping center
Juan March exhibition centre
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