Madrid, the capital of Spain, is the third largest city in Europe, just behind London and Berlin. There are several legends about how Madrid got its name. The most famous of these legends tells that the name comes from the word madroño, which is a type of evergreen tree which can be found all around Spain, so much so that it has made its way to the city’s coat of arms. Between 852 and 886, a Moorish fortification called Alcazar stood where the Royal Palace sits today. The fortification was first called Magerit, becoming Madshrit in 939 and, finally, Madrid in 1038.
The coast of the Manzanares river, on which Madrid sits, has seen many wars waged for the acquisition of royal grounds. Madrid was conquered by the Ottomans, which helped preserve the Arabic walls of the city, which still tell of the turbulent history they have witnessed. In 1309, Madrid saw the meeting of the City Parliament of Castile, supervised by Ferdinand IV. The parliament gathered for several centuries, with their last meeting being in 1561 and 1588, but this time the parliament gathered in the famous city of Toledo, not far from Madrid. At the time, the head of the parliament was Felipe II, during whose reign Madrid experienced great leaps in development.
Madrid has always been the capital of Spain, except between 1601 and 1606. A part of Madrid was designed and built by the Habsburgs, which is why this part of town is called “Austrian Madrid” or “Madrid of the Austrians”. During the reign of the Habsburgs, many landmarks of Madrid were built, including the Puerta del Sol, Descalzas Reales, Palasio de Useda, Plaza de la Villa, Plaza Mayor, the famous Spanish square, as well as the San Isidro Cathedral.
During the first 13 years of the 18th century, Spain waged wars only for the country to fall under the rule of the English and the Portuguese. At the start of the 19th century, the older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, Joseph Bonaparte, ruled over Madrid. Joseph Bonaparte built triumphal arches wherever he would come to power. He wasn’t loved or respected by the people of Madrid, so his rule didn’t last that long. He demolished an entire neighborhood and a monastery to create a square, which further fueled the many coups organized against him and his wife. Between 1833 and 1876, Spain participated in a long war, after which a cholera outbreak devastated the country.
The country became a republic for the first time in 1873, under the dictatorship of Emilio Castelar, only to fall under the military dictatorship of Miguel Prima de Rivera in 1923. The Second Spanish Republic was established on 14th April, 1931 in Madrid. The Spanish Civil War lasted between 1936 and 1939, and it saw great devastation of Madrid because of the bombs dropped by the Italians and Germans. After the war had ended, the dictatorship of Francisco Franco started, lasting up to 1975. During Franco’s dictatorship, students organized mass protests quite often. The capital of Spain attracted many immigrants during its existence. The largest growth if population numbers came between 1940 and 1970.
Tenerife is a magnificent island of volcanic origin that belongs to the Canary Islands. Often called the island of eternal spring, Tenerife is an ideal place for a year-round vacation. From the amazing volcanic beaches characterized by black sand, popular beaches such as Las Americas, to the endless Mount Teide with the highest peak in Spain - 3718 meters. It is easy to fall in love with this island.
Gran Canaria is surely one of the last remaining European Paradise islands, situated in the Atlantic Ocean, some 200km away from the coast of Africa. It is the third largest of the Canary Islands, neighbored by Fuerteventura and Tenerife. The capital, Las Palmas, is situated in the northeast of the island. Gran Canaria is the island of contrasts, bursting with culture, an unbelievably beautiful coast and spectacular sunny beaches, the perfect destination all year round. From its cold climate in the north, to the sunny south, this perfect holiday island has everything even the most demanding traveler would wish for: a great specter of climates, lush forests, exotic flora and fauna, volcanic craters, as well as a strange sediment of snow at the highest peaks.
With its population of 3,2 million people, Madrid is considered to be one of the largest cities in Europe, and the third largest city in the European Union. The city is located at a height of 665m above sea level, which makes it the highest city in Europe. Madrid is situated on the shores of the small Manzanares river, while the Siera de Guadarrama mountain range spreads northwest of the city. The area’s distinctive continental climate means that Madrid’s winters are short, cold and usually dry, while the summers are very warm. Everyone has surely wanted to visit the capital of Spain once, and out written guide will make tour wish even greater. Madrid is a modern town with an old soul. It boasts over 2000 monuments and 90 museums that tell about the history and art of the city. You will be introduced to the people and artistic scenes that made Madrid what it is today.