The Golden Triangle of Art

By: Douglas Scott

The capital of Spain since 1562, is located on the geographic centre of the Iberian Peninsula and it is Madrid. The city is financial, commercial, and industrial as well as picturesque with the Bull fighting Madrid, El Rastro a flea market, the Flamenco Madrid with its dancers, singers, and guitarist and the Madrid of antique dealers and artists.

There are over 4,000 restaurants and bars in central Madrid. It has been said that in one street alone there are more bars than in the City of London.

Plaza Mayor is just a two minute walk from Puerta del Sol. Initially it was a small market square when it was first built in the 15th century. It was completely rebuilt after Phillip II made Madrid the capital of Spain and became the city's focal point as carnivals, bullfights, and all the great festivals and ceremonies of imperial Madrid were held there. Large sections of it were rebuilt after a fire in 1790.

The shopping is just what you would expect from a sophisticated European capital plentiful, entertaining, and varied. The Gran Via offers many shopping options, with still more in the streets leading from Callao down toward the Puerto del Sol.

The city is a good place for buying antiques. The most popular is probably the Rastro. This is a sort of flea market with its stalls down both sides of the street, and curiosity shops and antique dealers behind. Some of these shops have now become quite large store and good bargains can some times be picked up. The city has one street which is almost entirely devoted to antique dealer's shops, the Calle del Prado. There are also a number of curiosity shops in the neighbouring of Carrera de San Jeronimo Plaza de las.

Madrid is best known for its Golden Triangle of art museums Reina Sofia, Prado, and Thyssen-Bornomisza. The celebrated Paseo del Arte links all three. The royal Palace, surrounded by gardens is a magnificent example of 18th century palatial art.

Casino de Madrid is an officially listed building that contains important works of art considered to be national treasures. It has impressive collections of sculpture and paintings as well as a neogothic library, antique glassware and lamps produced by the royal supplier.

It is now a popular venue for social events, cultural events, and press conferences. Its has a sauna, gym, swimming-pool, reading room, bars and two restaurants. The Casino is a private club dating from 1910 and public access is restricted to the restaurants only.

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