Madrid’s historic main square, Plaza Mayor is a popular tourist site and important area for civic events, public celebrations and even royal coronations. The idea for such a square came from King Philip II in the late 1500’s but it wasn’t until 1619 that his vision was realised. Since that time the square evolved throughout the centuries and became what we see today after the square’s rebuilding from destructive fires in the late 1780’s.
The beautiful buildings surrounding the square are of uniform design and create a uniquely Spanish setting. Arched entryways and colonnades create a stately appearance while the distinctive residential buildings are painted a distinctive red and decorated with lovely balconies.
Ornamental decoration inside the large rectangular square includes four ornate lamps or lights as well as the historic statue of King Philip III dating back to the early 1600’s. During the Spanish Inquisition the square was used for executions but today this peaceful square is a place of recreation and enjoyment where visitors can witness the vibrant urban plaza coming to life throughout the day.
Plaza Mayor is a short walk from the La Latina or Opera train stations and there are nine entry ways into the square. Many cafés and restaurants are located within this grand civic space as well as a tourist information centre.