Monday 28 February 2011

Beauty of madrid

Capital city of Spain and of madrid province, on the Manzanares River; population (2001 est) 2,957,100, conurbation (2003 est) 5,130,000. Built on a vast elevated plateau in the centre of the country, at 655 m/2,183 ft it is the highest capital in Europe and experiences extremes of heat and cold. Industries include the production of food, electronics, pharmaceuticals, leather, chemicals, furniture, tobacco, and paper, and there is engineering and publishing. Madrid is the country's chief transportation and administrative centre, as well as an important commercial and financial centre.
Madrid began in the 10th century as the Moorish city of Magerit. It was captured in 1083 by King Alfonso VI of Castile. It remained a small provincial town until Philip II made it his capital in 1561 because of its position at the centre of the Iberian peninsula; it became the national capital in 1607. The city developed slowly at first, but expanded rapidly in the 18th century. In 1808 there was an uprising here against Napoleon's army of occupation. In reprisal, hundreds of citizens were shot at night along the Prado promenade; these events were immortalized by two of Francisco Goya's most celebrated paintings, now in the Prado museum. The city's commercial and industrial life developed very rapidly after the 1890s, subsequently rivalled only by that of Barcelona. Madrid was the centre of opposition to General Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War, and was besieged by the Nationalists 1936–39. A series of bomb attacks on the city's railway network in 2004 killed over 200 people

As the newest of Spain's great cities, Madrid lacks the traditions of the ancient Castilian and Andalusian towns, and its general aspect is largely modern, with tree-lined boulevards and fashionable shopping districts. However, the city's old quarters have picturesque winding streets, and there are many landmarks, including the Real Academia de Bellas Artes (1752); the Prado museum (1785); the royal palace (1764), built for Philip V; the 15th-century Retiro Park (opened in 1631); the Plaza Mayor (1617–20); the Puerta de Alcalá arch; and the basilica of San Francisco el Grande (1761–84).
Autonomous community and province of central Spain; area 7,995 sq km/3,087 sq mi; population (2001 est) 5,372,400. Situated on the country's central plateau (meseta), the region is bounded by the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains in the northwest, and by the River Tagus in the southeast. It is crossed by several rivers, including the Jarama, a tributary of the Tagus. Products include cereals, potatoes, fruit and vegetables, grown in the south and southeast; timber from the forests in the northeast, and lime, granite, and gypsum from quarries in the mountains. The escorial palace lies in the northwest; Aranjuez in the south has had a royal palace since the 15th century and has luxurious gardens. The capital is madrid.

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