Puerta del Sol Madrid
The Puerta del Sol is the centre of Madrid and Spain as a country; it is from here that the five historic routes of the country originated from stretching to all corners of the country. The Puerta del Sol is the heart of Madrid with every national celebration or protest focused in the large semi circular plaza. The emblem of Madrid, the statue of a bear and Madroño Tree, lies within the Puerta del Sol and as a tourist the square will be crossed many times while sightseeing, shopping or late night partying.
History of The Puerta del Sol Madrid
Much of the history of the Puerta del Sol can be established by translating the Spanish name of the plaza into English. Puerta translates into gate and del sol means of sun. The plaza was once the main gateway to the east for the ancient city of Madrid (12th through to 15th century) and as the gate faced east it was referred to as the sun (rise) gate. An image of the sun was even painted above the old gate.
The present semi-circular shape of the square originates from the from the mid 19th century with the flat south side facing the Real Casa de Correos (Post Office building ) which is presently government offices. The statue of El Oso y El Madroño (the bear and Madroño (strawberry) tree) was infront of the Real Casa de Correos at the centre of the country but was moved back to its original place to the east of the plaza.
The Puerta del Sol is the 0 km distance marker for all measurements in Spain and from the square six of the national highways originate from. The ancient city of Madrid had 5 gate ways and major routes while today there is 6 routes that start from the Puerta del Sol.