Madrid, Spain

 

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Madrid Metro Map
  Date:   Dec, 2006
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Madrid (From Wikipedia)
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Madrid is the capital of Spain and the third most populous city in the European Union. Its effect on world history and politics, as well as its major cultural influence, has ranked Madrid one of the main global cities of the world. Madrid is also the largest city in Spain, as well as in the province and the autonomous community of the same name. It is located on the river Manzanares in the center of the country, between the autonomous communities of Castilla-León and Castilla-La Mancha. Due to its economic output, standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered one of the major financial centers of the Iberian Peninsula, together with Barcelona (autonomous community of Catalonia's capital, also in Spain), and Lisbon (Portugal's capital). As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political center of Spain.

As the capital of the Spanish Empire, Madrid is a city of great cultural and political importance. While Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets. Its landmarks include the huge Royal Palace of Madrid; a restored 1850 opera house; the Buen Retiro park, opened in 1631; the imposing 19th-century building containing the Spanish National Library (founded 1712); the national archives; an archaeological museum of international reputation; and three superb art museums: Prado Museum, which houses one of the finest art collections in the world, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, a museum of modern art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, housed in the renovated Villahermosa Palace.

The population of the city was 3.5 million (December 2005), while the estimated urban area population is 5.5 million. The entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area (urban area and suburbs) is calculated to be 5.84 million. The city spans a total of 607 km² (234 square miles).

Following the restoration of democracy in 1975 and Spain's integration into the European Union, Madrid has played an increasing role in European finances, marking the city as one of the most important European metropolises. The residents of Madrid are called Madrileños, and the current mayor is Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, of the conservativePartido Popular.

Names of the city and origin of the current name
There are numerous theories regarding the origin of the name, "Madrid". Madrid was founded by Ocno Bianor (son of King Tirenio of Tuscany and Mantua) and was named "Metragirta" or "Mantua Carpetana". Others contend that the original name of the city was "Ursa" ("bear" in Latin), due to the high number of these animals that were found in the adjacent forests, which, together with the Madrone tree ("madroño" in Spanish), have been the emblem of the city from the Middle Ages. Nevertherless, it is now commonly believed that the origin of the current name of the city comes from the 2nd Century B.C., when the Roman Empire established a settlement on the banks of Manzanares river. The name of this first village was "Matrice" (a reference to the river that crossed the settlement). Following the invasions of the Sueves, Vandals and Alans during the 5th Century A.D., the Roman Empire could not defend its territories on the Iberian Peninsula, and were therefore overrun by the Visigoths. The barbarian tribes subsequently took control of "Matrice". In the 7th Century the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula saw the name changed to "Mayrit", from the Arabic term "Mayra" (referencing water as a "mother" or "source of life") and the Ibero-Roman suffix "it" that means "place". The modern "Madrid" evolved from the Mozarabic "Matrit", which is still in the Madrilenian gentilic.

Middle Ages

Although the site of modern-day Madrid has been occupied since pre-historic times, in the Roman age this territory belonged to the diocese of Complutum (present Alcalá de Henares). But the first historical data on the city comes from the 9th century, when Muhammad I ordered the construction of a small palace in the same place that is today occupied by the Palacio Real. Around this palace a small citadel, al-Mudaina, was built. Near that palace was the Manzanares, which the Muslims called al-Majrīṭ (Arabic: المجريط, "source of water"). From this came the naming of the site as Majerit, which was later rendered to the modern-day spelling of Madrid). The citadel was conquered in 1085 by Alfonso VI of Castile in his advance towards Toledo. He reconsecrated the mosque as the church of the Virgin of Almudena (almudin, the garrison's granary). In 1329, the Cortes Generales first assembled in the city to advise Ferdinand IV of Castile. Sephardi Jews and Moors continued to live in the city until they were expelled at the end of the 15th century. After troubles and a large fire, Henry III of Castile (1379-1406) rebuilt the city and established himself safely fortified outside its walls in El Pardo. The grand entry of Ferdinand and Isabella to Madrid heralded the end of strife between Castile and Aragon.

Renaissance

The kingdoms of Castilla, with its capital at Toledo, and Aragón, with its capital at Zaragoza, were welded into modern Spain by Charles I of Spain. Though Charles favored Madrid, it was his son, Philip II (1527-1598) who moved the court to Madrid in 1561. Although he made no official declaration, the seat of the court was the de facto capital. Sevilla continued to control the Spanish Indies, but Madrid controlled Sevilla. Aside from a brief period, 1601-1606, when Felipe III installed his court in Valladolid, Madrid's fortunes have closely mirrored those of Spain. During the Siglo de Oro (Golden Century), in the 16th/17th century, Madrid had no resemblance with other European capitals: the population of the city was economically dependent on the business of the court itself.


End of Renaissance and Early Modern World

Felipe V decided that a European capital could not stay in such a state, and new palaces (including the Palacio Real de Madrid) were built during his reign. However, it would not be until Carlos III (1716-1788) that Madrid would become a modern city. Carlos III was one of the most popular kings in the history of Madrid, and the saying "the best mayor, the king" became popular during those times. When Carlos IV (1748-1819) became king the people of Madrid revolted. After the Mutiny of Aranjuez, which was led by his own son Fernando VII against him, Carlos IV resigned, but Fernando VII's reign would be short: in May of 1808 Napoleon's troops entered the city. On May 2, 1808 (Spanish: Dos de Mayo) the Madrileños revolted against the French forces, whose brute reaction would have a lasting impact on French rule in Spain and France's image in Europe in general.

After the war of independence (1814) Fernando VII came back to the throne, but after a liberal military revolution, Colonel Riego made the king swear respect to the Constitution. This would start a period where liberal and conservative government alternated, that would end with the enthronement of Isabel II (1830-1904).

20th Century

Isabel II could not calm down the political tension that would lead to yet another revolt, the First Spanish Republic, and the comeback of the monarchs, which eventually led to the Second Spanish Republic and the Spanish Civil War. During this war (1936-1939) Madrid was one of the most affected cities and its streets were battlezones. Madrid was a stronghold of the Republicans from July 1936. Its western suburbs were the scene of an all out battle in November 1936, when the Nationalist forces tried to take the city. Thereafter, the city was besieged for almost three years, until it surrendered in March 1939. It was during the Civil War that Madrid became the first city to be bombed by airplanes specifically targeting civilians. (See Siege of Madrid (1936-39).

During the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, especially after the sixties, the south of Madrid became very industrialized and there were massive migrations from rural environments into the city. Madrid's south-eastern periphery became an extensive slum settlement, which was the base for an active cultural and political frame.

After the death of Franco, emerging democratic parties (including those of left-wing and republican ideology) accepted Franco's wishes of being succeeded by Juan Carlos I - in order to secure stability and democracy - which led Spain to its current position as constitutional monarchy.

Befitting from the prosperity it gained in the 1980s, the capital city of Spain has consolidated its position as the leading economic, cultural, industrial, educational, and technological center on the Iberian peninsula.

21st Century

On 11 March 2004, Madrid was hit by an terrorist attack when terrorists placed a series of bombs on multiple trains during the rush hour, three days before the 14 March 2004 elections. This was the worst massacre in Spain since the end of the civil war in 1939.

Europride 2007 (July 1) will be hosted by Madrid, Spain.

Madrid has also expressed its desire to become an Olympic city, and became a candidate for the 2012 games, which were awarded to London after Madrid was eliminated in the third round of the ballot. However, the mayor of the city has already stated that Madrid's Olympic dream did not end at Singapore, as the city will again present itself as a candidate to host the 2016 Olympic games.[5]

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Reference Maps and Info  - External Links


Map and info of Madrid's Subway System (Urban Rail. net)
Maps and the most updated info on the metro system of Madrid

 

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