My fiancé and I finally got the opportunity to visit Madrid (from Barcelona) over the Easter holiday! I was thrilled as it's been a while since I flexed my travel photography muscles! I hope you enjoy part 1 of our two-day visit to the big city. This post features Plaza Mayor, San Miguel Market (Mercado de San Miguel), Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal) and Madrid Atocha Railway Station.
Since Plaza Mayor's existence, it has been host to bull fights (which was banned on 28th July 2010 in Catalonia), royal coronations and even executions. These days, you're more likely to be surrounded by tourists, paella and beer than raging bulls.
At the centre of the Plaza is a bronze statue of King Philips III, constructed in 1616 by the Italian sculptors Giovanni(Jean) de Bologna and Pietro Tacca. You can see below, the two Flemish-style towers and spires of the Casa de la Panadería, or the Bakery, was designed for the Bakers' Guild. Unfortunately, I discovered(after leaving Madrid) that you can enter the Casa for free from 11am to 2pm and from 5pm to 8pm everyday.
Now on to the Mercado de San Miguel! I was bummed to miss all the day-time action at this market but it didn't disappoint. Originally planned as an outdoor market, construction was completed in 1916. It is the last remaining iron market hall in Madrid.
Madrid Atocha feels more like an airport than a train station. It's the first (inaugurated in 1851) and the biggest station in Madrid. The station was destroyed in a fire in the 1890's and Gustave Eiffel contributed to the design of the new station (the main architect was Alberto de Palacio Elissagne). The station is not really an attraction but it has a beautiful tropical garden (4000 square metres) with many species of fish and turtles.
Below is the bronze statue Homenaje al Agente Comercial (Homage to the Commercial Agent) by sculptor Francisco López Hernández.
I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek of my first visit to Madrid. Have you ever been to Spain before? Where have you visited? Where is your favourite place in Madrid? Comment below!