Madrid’ Plaza Mayor is a picture of the city during its olden days. It was built during the Habsburg Dynasty and the ambiance there is far removed from the hurry and strife of the city life.
What is now Madrid’s Plaza Mayor was the asymmetrical trading place Plaza del Arrabal in the olden times. Urbanization prompted Philip II to build the structure. His heir Philip III set the plan in motion.
The place is similar in architectural sophistication with the Monastery of el Escorial. Its creator, Juan Gomez, made a plan around Casa de la Panaderia (designed by Diego Sillero). This structure of traditional Madrid theme has slated roof tiles and a façade with two towers, different from that of the common red and gray of the Madrid’ Plaza Mayor and the Habsburg borough. It serves various purposes such as that of being a city bakery, the Royal Academy of Arts and History and housing of the Madrid’s Tourist Board.
Each of the buildings in the square had five floors; the porticos were made of wood; and was not completely close not until the occurrence of destructive fires, the most tragic of which occurred in 1790. After such disasters, Casa de la Panaderia is the only one remaining and is in the process of renovation under the tutelage of Juan de Villanueva.
Renovations drastically changed the appearance of Plaza Mayor. It only now has three floors, the porticos made of granite, walls plastered red, and slate covered roof and entrances topped with big arcs.
Different events are held in the plaza, from bullfights, concerts, fairs and markets to such majors undertakings as the crowded auto-da- fes during the Inquisition, the canonization of San Isidro and royal coronations such as that of Philip III, who has a monument at the center for him being the one who initiated the construction of the structure and being the first king born in the city.
Future modifications await the place such as that of Casa de la Carniceria (in front of Casa de la Panaderia) which will have a luxury hotel. Houses and apartments are to be renovated which will then lead, expectedly, to an increase in prices and emergence of the real- estate industry. At present, the average rate is 3, 000 euros per square meter.