What to see in Madrid de los Austrias, the most historic in the city

The Madrid de los Austrias has a very special charm due to the beautiful architecture of its buildings, the history that is hidden behind each street and square, the atmosphere that is lived in it and because it is home to almost all the most important monuments that see in Madrid.

The Madrid de los Austrias receives this name because it is the area of ​​the city that became great with the reign of the Habsburgs, which began in 1516 with Carlos I and lasted until 1700, when Felipe II moved the court to Madrid.

If you decide to take a walk through Madrid de los Austrias, here are the main points of interest in this area. There are many more but we invite you to discover them yourself.

What to see in Madrid de los Austrias

1. The Plaza de Oriente and the Royal Palace of Madrid

Madrid - Royal Palace - ExteriorThe first place to talk about must necessarily be the Royal Palace of Madrid, since it is in the place where the residence of the Kings was, which gives its name to the historic neighborhood that we present.

In fact, none of them lived in the current palace since the residence was in the Real Alcázar, located in the same place until it burned down in 1734 and it was decided to build the current one.

Next to the Royal Palace, forming an exceptional complex with it, we find the Almudena Cathedral.

The Royal Palace is located in the Plaza de Oriente, one of the most beautiful in Madrid. In it are the sculptures of 20 Spanish Gothic kings, which were originally going to be placed at the top of the facade of the Royal Palace. In the same square is the Teatro Real and one of the rear facades of the Monasterio de la Encarnación.

The main facade of the Teatro Real overlooks the Plaza de Isabel II, from where Calle del Arenal starts, a very commercial street and where we can find the Church of San Ginés and the mythical Chocolatería San Ginés, before reaching Puerta del Sol. Very nearby is another of Madrid’s royal monasteries, the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales.

2. The High Street

Madrid - Main StreetOne of the streets that starts from Puerta del Sol is Calle Mayor, one of the most interesting in the center of Madrid. It is a very commercial and busy street, especially because next to it is the Plaza Mayor.

Its commercial activity is not new but it is something that has characterized this street for centuries, being able to find silversmiths, jewelers, shoemakers and other trades.

The buildings on Calle Mayor have an unmistakable stately style and are also of great importance in the literary history of Spain, since Lope de Vega was born in one of them and Calderón de la Barca died in another.

In Calle Mayor there was also, in 1906, an attack against King Alfonso XIII, on his wedding day. 25 people died in it and it is the biggest attack that the city has suffered after 11-M.

3. The Plaza Mayor in Madrid

The Plaza Mayor in Madrid has been one of the main squares in the city for 400 years.

Its beautiful buildings perfectly define the architecture of Madrid de los Austrias and it is a perfect place to get lost and enjoy the center of Madrid.

The red color of the arcaded and attic houses is interrupted by the Casa de la Panadería and the Casa de la Carnicería, one facing the other. Also noteworthy is the Arco de Cuchilleros, one of the entrances to the square and the Equestrian Statue of Felipe II, located in the center.

Next to the Plaza Mayor is the Mercado de San Miguel, one of the most famous places in recent years, an old market with its original iron structure that has become a benchmark for tapas.

4. The Town Square

Madrid - Villa SquareThe Plaza de la Villa is a very small square but in which we can see interesting buildings. The Plaza de la Villa has been so called since the fifteenth century when the city of Madrid received the title of Noble and Loyal Villa.

The main building that we can see in this square is the Casa de la Villa, which was the seat of the Madrid City Council for centuries since 1693. In any case, plenary sessions are still held here.

The rest of the places of interest that we can see in the Plaza de la Villa are the House and Tower of Lujanes, in Gothic-Mudejar style and in which the coats of arms of the Lujanes family stand out, the House of Cisneros, in Plateresque style and built in the 16th century and the Monument to Baztán that has been in the center of the square since 1891.

Very close to this beautiful square we find the Convent of Las Carboneras, also known as Corpus Christi. Another nearby place is the Iglesia del Sacramento, seat of the military archbishopric and of which we must highlight its baroque church and its facade built in granite.

5. Toledo Street and its surroundings

Madrid - San Isidro Collegiate ChurchCalle Toledo is another of Madrid’s historic streets, now lined with bars, restaurants, and shops. It starts from the Plaza Mayor and goes to the river on the old path that leads to Toledo.

In its initial part are the Arco de Cofreros, which connects the street with the Plaza Mayor, and the Collegiate Church of San Isidro, which was the former provisional cathedral of Madrid until the Almudena Cathedral was built, which is also located in the Madrid of the Austrias although it was built in the 20th century.

Further on is the Mercado de la Cebada, in the area of ​​La Latina, a place of entertainment and tapas. From there you can easily go to the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande to admire its dome, first admiring the Plaza de los Carros. Getting lost in the streets of this area, including Plaza de la Paja, Cava Baja and Cava Alta, is a great option.

At the end of the street is the Puerta de Toledo, starting there a wider street that leads to the river.

6. Calle de Segovia and its surroundings

Madrid - San Pedro Viejo ChurchCalle de Segovia is another of the accesses to Madrid de los Austrias coming from the Manzanares River, starting from the Puente de Segovia and ending at Calle de Toledo.

In Calle de Segovia we find the Plaza de la Cruz Verde, the Plaza de la Puerta Cerrada and above it the Segovia Viaduct, also called Bailén, because it is the street that passes above it. The streets of Segovia and Bailén are joined by the Cuesta de la Vega, leaving aside the Crypt of the Almudena Cathedral and remains of the old Arab wall.

In the surroundings of Calle de Segovia we find the Church of San Pedro el Viejo, famous for its Mudejar tower and one of the oldest in the city, and the Basilica of San Miguel, a baroque masterpiece and famous for its curved façade.

Do not miss either the Garden of the Princes of Anglona, ​​a secret place that you should visit.

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