During our Madrid tours, you will discover not only wonderful buildings and monuments, but also interesting facts and dates that will help you learn about the past, the present and the future of the capital of Spain. In this article, What to do in Madrid shows you some of them.
– Madrid was founded in the late 9th century by the Muslims troops, led by Mohamed I. They settled a castle and a fortress where the Royal Palace stands up today. The goal of that foundation was to defend the city of Toledo, and at that time was the most important city of this area. It was during this time, the first centuries of the Middle Ages, that the whole Iberian Peninsula was in Muslim hands.
– Madrid was re-conquered by the Christian troops in 1085, led by King Alfonso VI of León and Castile. At that time, the small Christian population situated itself here, but the new municipal government didn’t rid the area of the Muslim people. Instead, they settled themselves on the opposite hill, where the Vistillas Gardens are spread today.
– Madrid was named capital by the Habsburg King Philip II in 1561. Before that , Madrid was actually a very small town, with a population of 12,000 inhabitants in the first years of that century (Barcelona had 30,000 inhabitants at that moment). During those years, the city grew exorbitantly and in the late 16th century it already became a population of 90,000 people.
– In 1700, a Succession War started in Spain. In 1713, the Bourbons won and King Philip V took the throne. At this time, this new dynasty ordered a new style to be developed, much different from the current local one. The Royal Palace, Alcalá Gate and the Royal Theatre are symbols of this new dynasty.
– During our Madrid tours you will also learn about the numerous fires that the city has suffered. While the fires didn’t ruin the entire city, many important buildings were devastated with damage. The Royal Palace, the Royal Theatre and the Plaza Mayor are examples of buildings that are no longer their former glory due to the fires.
– On May 2nd 1808, the citizens of Madrid started a revolution that spread throughout the entire country. The French troops led by Napoleon, had conquered Spain and put his brother Jose at the throne. He built many buildings and squares, but the flame lit by the citizens of Madrid gave results.: The Independence War was won by the Spaniards and the French went away in 1814.
– The Spanish Civil War caused much damage in Madrid. The church, San Cayetano and the one of Escuelas Pías of San Fernando are two such examples. The National troops settled in the Casa de Campo Park, while the Republican troops stayed in the Buen Retiro Park.
– During the late 20th century and early 21st century, when Franco’s dictatorship finished in 1975, Madrid opened itself up to the world and started to develop an intense nightlife. ‘La Movida’ was a youth movement that appeared in Tribunal and Chueca boroughs. Today, they still keep some of that ‘fiesta’ spirit. Many streets and squares have become pedestrian places, new parks have shown up, old green areas have been curated and the city has developed a touristic industry that gives service to millions of people every year.
If you don’t know what to do in Madrid to discover all these facts, just book one of our Madrid tours and you will be surprised about what the city has to share.