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An attractive blend of tradition and modernity
Madrid has many artistic attractions, thanks to the different styles that have left their
imprint in the city over the centuries.
From the remains of the old Arab wall, to small Gothic churches and early Renaissance works,
Madrid boasts a multitude of rich and varied works of art. Madrid comes from the Arabic
word Magerit ("mother of waters"), which was the name that was given to the fortress built on
the banks of the Manzanares River by the Umayyad of Cordoba, Muhammed (823-886). Although
the city grew under the Arabs for two hundred years, the only remains still standing from that period
are the wall and a few towers, which were turned into bell towers. The arrival of Los Austrias as
the Hapsburg dynasty was known in the 16th century, and at the period of maximum splendour in
the 17th century, brought about the monuments that today make up one of the most famous parts
of the city the area of "Los Austrias", along with the Plaza Mayor square, and a number of
beautiful sites churches and convents. The austere Baroque faades contrast with the luxurious
interiors of the palaces. The 18th century left a Neoclassical imprint, with the Royal
Palace, Sabatini Gardens, and Campo del Moro gardens, which are in the city centre. The church
of San Francisco El Grande, the fountains in the Paseo del Prado, the Puente de Toledo bridge,
the Prado Museum and the Puerta de Alcal arch are also in the Neoclassical style. Madrid's more
modern and avant-garde areas are the two avenues in the new urban expansion area the Gran Va
and Paseo de la Castellana. The Gran Va, which was built at the beginning of the 20th century, is
a place for shopping, leisure and hotels. The Paseo de La Castellana crosses the city from north
to south, and has some of the most elegant hotels in the city, as well as corporate offices in modern
and avant-garde buildings. And although Madrid is home to a truly outstanding architectural
heritage, there is no question that its greatest artistic wealth is to be found in its art galleries.

Natural surroundings to be discovered
In Madrid there are many natural spaces with varied landscapes - from the Sierra de
Madrid mountains, which is full of beautiful locations for practising snow and mountain
sports, to the Aranjuez plain or the landscape of La Mancha in the area surrounding
Alcal de Henares.
Golf, sailing, windsurfing, horse riding, hot-air balloon trips and hiking are some of the possible
activities. The people from Madrid also like to look after their many urban parks and gardens, some
of them well-known historically like the Royal Residence of Aranjuez gardens, the Retiro Park in
Madrid or the Casa de Campo park. Others were created recently, like the Juan Carlos I Park or
the Tierno Galvn Park. They can be found in different urban areas and are very beautiful green

Madrid, a showcase for Spanish cuisine
Madrid's tapas represent almost all the Spanish gastronomy.
Thanks to the excellent seafood, Iberian ham and cold meat, a variety of pickled vegetables, typical
dishes such as prawns in batter, tripe or snails, excellent cheese, "pinchos" and casseroles, and all
types of wine from all over the country, Madrid is the capital of tapas.
Leisure and enjoyment, day and night
Madrid is a city where young people will find leisure and enjoyment, day and night.
There is a host of possibilities. The Dos de Mayo fiestas, the Veranos de la Villa festival or
the Autumn Festival are some of the examples of an agenda full of cultural and leisure attractions
all year round, and that includes many activities for young people, such as concerts, cinema, theatre
or dancing. Coming to a large city always has its privileges, such as being able to go to gigs by
international artists, or to watch Real Madrid play in the stadium. Madrid comes alive at night,
especially at the weekend. Discos, bars, cafs and fashionable clubs in different leisure
areas and districts offer the best nightlife. And when the weather starts to get hot, the best thing
is to have fun and hang out until the early hours of the morning in one of the many summer terraces
that appear on the streets and avenues. Malasaa and the area surrounding Dos de Mayo square
are the main places to hang out at night in Madrid. The university atmosphere is in Argelles
and Moncloa, and there are many fashionable clubs in Paseo de la Castellana and the streets
around it. There is also a series of public initiatives that offer an alternative plan for the night,
with a whole range of free activities that take place in several centres: sports, Internet, games,
theatre workshops, music, dancing, etc. Sports lovers will find magnificent facilities to practise
their favourite sport professionally. And if they prefer open-air sports, the outskirts of the city
provide an ideal environment for hiking, horse riding, cycling, mountaineering, and any of the winter
sports, including skiing and snowboarding.

Fun all year round
Madrid has a wide variety of leisure activities for children. Animal and nature lovers will
be able to enjoy memorable moments in the Casa de Campo Zoo Aquarium and at
Faunia, a "bio-amusement" theme park, which offers a fun approach to nature. Those
who like more action will love Madrid's Amusement Park and the Warner Bros Madrid
theme park, one of the most spectacular in the world.
In Madrid, museums are not only for adults. The Planetarium, with its 3D cinema screen;
the Prez the Mouse Cottage Museum centred on the character who its said gives a present to
the children for every tooth they lose; or Micrpolix, a centre located in San Sebastin de los
Reyes (half an hour from Madrid) that simulates a city where the kids learn the various adult
professions, are good examples. But there are also numerous other museums and exhibitions that
organise specialised guided tours for school trips and children in general.

A whole range of options to please everybody
Everything from fabulous antiques to the very latest designs: the window displays with
furniture, top fashion labels, gifts, souvenirs and speciality foods will delight visitors
strolling through the citys streets. Theres a whole world of shopping possibilities in
Madrids shops, shopping centres and street markets.
Madrid has numerous shops and shopping centres to entice visitors of all ages out on a shopping
trip and many of them, both in the centre and in the suburban areas, are open all day. There are
five main shopping areas in Madrid: Salamanca, Chueca, Centro, Princesa and Cuatro Caminos.
Other useful information
Opening times: most of the shops and shopping centres are open from 10am to 8.30 or 9.30 in
the evening. Traditional shops open from 10.00 to 14.00 hours and from 16.30 to 20.30
hours.Sales: the winter sales generally begin in the second week of January and go on until the
end of February, and the summer sales begin on 1 July and run until the end of August.How to
pay: most people pay in cash or with a credit card, when you must show your passport or identity
card.Tax free: residents from outside the European Union are entitled to have Value Added Tax
(IVA) refunded on purchases of more than 90.15.Madrid Shopping Tour: this is a guided
minibus tour of Madrids main shopping areas, and includes discounts in several different
establishments. Another option is the Shopping Vip-Pack, which offers exclusive services such as
delivery of your purchases to your hotel, and discounts and free gifts in participating shops.Las
Rozas Village Shopping Tour: just 30 minutes outside Madrid, this option offers a day of fashion
in over 95 cut-price outlet shops with goods by major Spanish and international labels, with a range
of exclusive advantages.

A strategic point devoted to service
Madrid is exceptionally well equipped for trade fairs, conferences, and exhibitions, with
two convention centres, and two trade fair complexes. Equipped with the most modern
service facilities, the city's capacity and high standards attract more than five million
professionals each year, who attend a variety of events.
Lavish palaces and castles mingle with modern buildings in Madrid, giving rise to a varied
selection of venues for holding conferences, meetings, and all kinds of receptions. Here, each event
will find a suitable venue, depending on the particular atmosphere it requires. All this makes of
Madrid a rising travel destination, one of the world's favourites for holding business
conferences and conventions. Fully aware of this, the city's range of accommodation is
constantly growing and improving. Madrid's hotels are of exceptional quality, and the city has
more than sixty-five thousand beds, half of which are in four and five star hotels. The premises,
way above the European average, combine comfort with outstandingly professional, friendly, and
personalised service. The accommodation, geared to conference, incentive, business, and cultural
travel, is equipped with all the facilities necessary for holding meetings.

Madrid comes alive at night, especially at the weekend. Discos, bars, cafs and
fashionable clubs in different leisure areas and districts offer the best nightlife. And
when the weather starts to get hot, the best thing is to hang out at one of the numerous
and lively summer terraces that appear in such profusion on the streets and avenues.
Here are a few ideas to guide you when you set out to enjoy a night out on the town,
from the early evening until the sun come up.
Early evening(between about 8 and 11 pm)Musicals and theatre: Madrid offers the chance
to spend an unforgettable evening in the theatre with a whole range of musical shows every season.
Some are completely original, and you'll only find them in Spain. Others are adapted classics not to
be missed, and which in Madrid can be enjoyed in unique style. To get an idea of the wide offer of
musicals youll find, just take a stroll down the Gran Va avenue and see the theatres on both sides
of the streets.Going out for tapas: Madrid is the ideal city for enjoying the popular custom of
going out for tapas: moving from one bar to another with your friends and enjoying delicious bite-
sized portions of typical local specialities (potato omelette, spicy fried potatoes in sauce, croquettes,
squid, cod, bulls tail) accompanied by a refreshing glass of beer or a good wine, and interesting
conversation. In the historic centre (mainly in the neighbourhoods of Huertas and La Latina, near
the Plaza Mayor) youll find classic taverns (with their unmistakeable tile-covered faades) and
modern venues where in addition to tapas you can order raciones (more plentiful dishes to share).

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