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On April 4, 2010, the Gran Via was 100 years old. One hundred years before this date, King Alfonso XIII approved the papers to demolish many buildings on the route of the present Gran Via to be able to construct it. The street was supposed to copy the avenues of Paris created by the Baron Haussmann, but it turned out that it turned out to copy the streets of New York City.
One hundred years ago, where the Gran Via is today, there was a very dense city, with many buildings and very narrow streets. There were no big public spaces. This was the result of building within the old city walls.
In 1901 the city architects Andres Octavio and Jose Lopez Salaberry proposed joining Calle Preciados and the Plaza del Callao with Calle de Alcala. The City Hall approved the project and later the National Government. There was a bidding contest that would allow a company to expropriate old buildings in the way of the new street to construct the new road. In 1909 the French banker Martin Albert Silver won the bid to start the project. It was in 1910 that the King Alfonso XIII inaugurated the demolishment of 334 old buildings in the right of way of the new street.
The Gran Via joined Calle de Alcala with the Plaza de España and Calle Princesa. This street soon became the street of large stores, hotels, luxurious offices, movie halls, jewelry stores, clubs, casinos, private clubs, luxurious bars and restaurants.
There are several beautiful buildings on the Gran Via. The Edificio Metropolis is at Alcala, 49, at the corner of the Gran Via. The architect of this building was Jules et Raymond Fevrier. This building has a cupola that has the sculpture of Winged Victory (Victoria alada) that was created by Federico Coullaut Valera in 1975.
The Telefonica Building is located at Gran Via, 28. It was constructed in 1929 by the architect Ignacio de Cardenas. The upper portion has touches of the Giralda Tower of Seville, and this building was the highest building in Europe for many years.
The Edificio Grassy is located at Gran Via, 1 and 3. The architect of this building that was completed in 1916 was Eladio Laredo. The top of this building is graced with a two story temple that has slender columns. This building has the shape of the prow of a ship.
The Edificio España is a tower at the Plaza de España, at the end of the Gran Via that is 117 meters high. Its style is Neo-Baroque and the architects were Joaquin and Julian Otamendi, and the building was finished in 1953.
The Torre de Madrid is another tower at the Plaza de España, and is 142 meters high. It was built between 1954 and 1960, and the architects were Julian and Jose Maria Otamendi. It used to be the tallest building in western Europe for a few years.
The Gran Via is also the Broadway of Madrid because it has many theaters, such as the Coliseum.