Puerta del Sol

This is the center of Madrid. There is a 'Kilometro 0' plaque, marking the center of the Spanish road network, from where all the highway distances are measured. The area was in the outskirts of the city in the 15th century and was surrounded by a wall with a gate facing the sun. That is how the plaza got its name.

During the reign of Queen Isabel II in 1856, the architect Juan Bautista Peyronnet was asked to design the plaza, which turned out to be in the shape of an ellipse. Many buildings, especially convents, were expropriated and demolished. In 1859 Lucio del Valle gave the rules for the new construction. The ground floor was supposed to be used for stores and commerce. There would be three floors above this for apartments. There would be an attic with terrace for photographers, who would take advantage of the light of the plaza. The most famous building on the plaza is the Casa de Correos (post office), which was built by the French architect Jaime Marquet in 1766. This building is the only one that remained intact during the construction of the plaza. This building has a clock tower with the famous clock that was given to the city by the famous clockmaker Losada. The New Year’s Eve celebration takes place on this square to the sound of the clock striking a bell just before midnight, and one grape is eaten for each ringing of the bell, as is the custom.

In the middle of the square is a large equestrian statue of King Carlos III. The plaza has the Mariblanca statue which marks a former fountain at one end. At one corner, opposite the Calle del Carmen, is a statue in bronze of the bear and the strawberry tree (el oso y el madroño), which represents the coat of arms of the city of Madrid.