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Plaza Mayor of Madrid
The huge Plaza Mayor ("major square") is an architectural jewel and the unofficial gathering center of old Madrid.
The original buildings were constructed in 1619. The current ones were erected in 1790 following a devastating fire.
The Plaza Mayor of Madrid is completely enclosed by buildings. They are collectively praised for their style quality and uniformity. Their bases have handsome porticoes and tall arched passageways connecting to city streets outside.
Casa del Panaderia
The oldest and most famous building is the the Casa del Panaderia ("bakery house"). It once served as the headquarters of a powerful baking guild. You can see one of its twin towers on the right side of the photo.
The equestrian statue in the middle of the photo is of Philip III, the 17th century king who commissioned the square.
In the past
Events included coronations, bullfights, and the burning of heretics at the stake during the inquisition.
The Plaza Mayor of Madrid is for pedestrian use only. It hosts many functions including concerts, coin-and-stamp market (Sundays), seasonal Christmas market, alfresco dining, and summer evening strolling.
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