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Madrid is the capital of Spain, it is the largest city of the country, third largest in the EU, after London and Berlin.
Recently, the traditional administrative and financial activities were joined by other activities like tourism, culture and entertainment, and this process came to a peak in 1992 when Madrid was elected the European cultural capital.
Among the places to visit, it is worth mentioning Madrid’s numerous museums, like the Prado museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, the Art Centre of Queen Sofia (where the famous Guernica of Pablo Ricasso is found).
Among the palaces to visit there is the “Palacio Real” (Royal Palace) with its 2,000 rooms. “Puerta del Sol” is the place where you can visit the “Kilometre Zero” plate (it is an object used for measuring distances between Spanish States) and where Madrilenians get together, at the end of every year and, while waiting for the new year to come in, they eat grapes for each strike at midnight.
Visitors should also spend some time at the nearby “Plaza Mayor”, where every week end there is a numismatic market and, during Christmas period, the nativity market, the “Retiro” park, and near this area the Monastery and the “Escorial” palace, “Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos”.
Madrid is very well known for its nightlife, or the so called “movida madrileña”, and for its nightclubs, which sprouted everywhere after Francisco Franco‘s death. Until recently year, it was common for madrileños to dance all night long, have breakfast with chocolate and churros, go back home, take a shower and go straight to work.
One of the most lively areas at night is the “Barrion de las Letras”, in the city centre, near the St. Ana Square, and the Huertas and Echegary streets. The “Calle Arenal”, is also located in the city centre with several nightclubs, among them the famous “Joy” and “Palacio de Gaviria”. Another Madrilenian place of entertainment is “Pasha” located in the “Calle de Barcelò”.
Other areas of interest are the “Malasaña” district, the “Lavapiès” district which is a multiethnic area where live music is played until dawn.
Other nearby cities which are well worth a visit as they are rich in history and art are Toledo, Segovia, Ávila and Aranjuez.