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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

10 Top Attractions in Madrid Spain

Royal Exchange Panorama
Royal Exchange Panorama (Photo credit: Ian Muttoo)

Author: Austin Ortiz
Madrid is a fascinating city. Here the traditional and contemporary coexist in harmony. The historic quarter of the city with its narrow cobbled streets and medieval buildings and churches are as startling as the flashy skyscrapers of the modern city.

Replete with attractions, it takes weeks to explore this lovely capital city of Spain. Nonetheless, the discerning traveler who wants to experience the spirit of Madrid would prefer visiting the most popular attractions of the city.

Top Attractions in Madrid

1. Royal Castle

Built on the site of an old Moorish castle, the 18th century Royal Castle provides an insight into the regal lifestyle of Spain's royals. The neoclassical-style castle was designed by the famous Spanish architects Sachetti and Sabateni. Surrounded by luxurious gardens, Royal castle is one of the most visited attractions of Madrid.

2. Plaza Mayor Square

An important landmark of Madrid, Plaza Mayor Square is a popular venue for public events. The rectangular space around the bronze statue of Felipe III is dotted with traditional shops, cafes and bars.

3. Buen Retiro Park

The large pond, crystal palace, monument, rose garden and the astronomical observatory are the main attractions of Buen Retiro Park. It is home to several ancient trees of Madrid.

4. Prado Museum

Art aficionados cannot miss the art galleries of the world famous Prado Museum. The art museum boasts of the best collections of Spanish paintings created by the famous Spanish artists from 11th to 18th centuries including Goya, El Greco, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Titian and Bosch.

5. Reina Sofia National Art Museum

This art museum of Madrid is dedicated to the artworks of the 20th century artists of Spain including Salvador Dali, Miro, Picasso and others.

6. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The museum houses large collections of fine arts from the 14th to the 20th century. Most of the artworks were donated to the museum by the Thyssen-Bornemisza family.

7. Descalzas Reales Monastery

A 16th century convent that once housed aristocratic women who wanting to be the bride of Christ brought to the convent dowries, making it one of the richest convents of Christendom. The convent contains a large collection of priceless paintings and other artifacts.

8. Encarnacion Monastery

Near the Royal Plaza, this 17th century convent has a large collection of paintings and sculptures. One of the prominent attractions of the monastery is the solidified blood of St Pantaleon preserved in a glass orb.

9. Royal Botanical Garden

The Royal Botanical Garden is home to thousands of indigenous and exotic plant species. It is a popular destination in the itinerary of nature lovers in Madrid.

10. Toros Plaza

This is the popular bull-fighting arena of Madrid. From November to March, it serves as venue for circus.
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