Crystal Palace in Madrid

10 facts about Madrid you may not know

Madrid stands as one of the world’s most famous holiday destinations, boasting a dynamic European culture and historical landmarks that makes it unique. Despite its fame, there are fascinating and lesser-known facts about this elegant Spanish city. To learn more about the city, here are some fun and quirky facts about Madrid.

Madrid Sculpture

It was created around the year of 860 A.C

Madrid’s roots trace back to prehistoric times and the Roman civilisation. The city’s history is over 2000 years, with the Manzanares River settlers and influence from the Muslim community. Emir Muhammad I commissioned the first construction in the year 865 A.C. The construction involved the establishment of a fortress on the banks of the Manzanares River in Mayrit village.

It has been the capital of Spain since the 17th century

Philip II understood the importance of the city of Madrid and made it the capital of Spain. He moved his court there, solidifying the city as the de facto center of royal power. Before Madrid, Toledo was the capital until 1560. The two cities are merely an hour apart by car.

Its name comes from the Arabic magerit

The Arabic, specifically magerit, called this city “Madrid,” meaning a “place of many streams’. Originally known as Mayrit, Emir Muhammad founded the city in the 9th century A.D. It thrived during the Arab occupation but later fell under Christian rule during the Spanish reconquest.

It is one of the greenest cities in Europe

Madrid has a special place in the hearts of many people, both locals and tourists. This capital of Spain is situated centrally in New Castile. It has more than 300,000 trees, equivalent to 20 trees per person. The green space in the city occupies 6,400 hectares of land.

The official symbol of Madrid is a bear

Madrid ‘s official symbol is “The Bear and The Strawberry Tree” or “El Oso y El Madroño.” The symbol shows a strawberry tree and a bear on its hind legs trying to climb or eat from it. The symbol represents an era when bears roamed the city limits. Weighing over 20 tonnes, the statue serves as the emblem for Atletico de Madrid football team.

It is the highest capital city in Europe

Madrid is among the highest cities in Europe, yet it is often overlooked when considering high-altitude cities. Surprisingly, Madrid is situated at an elevation of 667 meters above sea level, making it the highest European capital.

Madrid is home to the oldest restaurant in the world

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Madrid has the world’s oldest restaurant. Established in the early 17th century (1725), Sobrino de Botin still operates to date and serves the typical Madrid cuisine at Calle Cuchilleros. If you still do not know traditional dishes in Madrid, do not miss our guide.

It has the only monument to the devil in the world

Madrid’s Retiro Park has broken the record for being the only park in the world with a statue of the devil (666 m above sea level). The statue is dedicated to Lucifer, the fallen angel and is located in the Fuente del Ángel Caído. Additionally, the statue has creature-like parts (gargoyle heads) at the base, spitting water.
If you want to deepen your understanding of El Retiro Park, you can visit the article about the best parks in Madrid.

Its home to some of the best museums in the world

The city boasts the best museums worldwide, attracting a large number of tourists. Some of the greatest museums in Madrid include the Thyssen Bornemisza, the Prado Museum and the Museo Reina Sofia, collectively referred to as the Golden Triangle.

Spanish roads start in Madrid

Madrid, Spain’s capital city, is the central hub of all roads in the country. In Puerta del Sol, there is a sign that indicates Kilometer zero or KM 0, marking the center of the Spanish road network. This means all roads start in Madrid and connect the rest of the Iberian Peninsula.

Where to stay in Madrid

Having a nice and lovely place to stay is essential to any successful vacation. The location should align with your needs and preferences. There are a lot of hotels in Madrid, each with its own character and personality, making the decision on where to stay a challenging one.

However, when it comes to the best Madrid hotels, Catalonia Goya tops the list. Situated in the center of the Salamanca neighborhood, close to Serrano Street in Madrid and next to the Velázquez metro station, it is an ideal location for sightseeing with family, friends, or a partner, as well as for business visitors. It is housed in a six-story building built in the 19th century (it is among the buildings regarded as the Artistic Heritage of the Spanish capital).

Catalonia Goya Double Room
The hotel is conveniently located, less than 10 minutes from Calle Serrano, Retiro Park and Plaza Colón. Within a 15-minute walk, you can reach popular landmarks such as Puerta de Alcalá, the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas in 2 stops and Puerta del Sol (the center of Madrid) in 4 stops. This 4-star hotel is just over 2 kilometers from the Atocha train station, a major long-distance stop, and the AVE. Prado Museum is located near the station.

Madrid, Spain’s capital, is a year-round destination. With the above facts about Madrid, you can now visit this amazing city with a clear idea of what to expect and do. Add Madrid to your “to-visit” list and enjoy great museums, beautiful parks and delicious seafood.