The Plaza Mayor is located in the center of Madrid city and is a square shaped arcade. Its uniform architecture of rectangular, square features remind visitors of Place des Vosges in Paris. This Plaza was a market earlier, which was located outside the city. The then King Philip II wanted to convert it into a proper plaza, so he requested the famous Renaissance architect named Juan de Herrera to design the plaza.
The actual plan was made as per the King’s request. But the construction could not be started till the year 1617. At that time Philip III was ruling the kingdom and he initiated the construction by asking an architect named Juan Gomez de Mora to continue with the construction. In the year 1619, he could finish the porticos. An architect named Juan de Villanueva reconstructed the current plaza, after the old plaza was gutted by a series of fire. The reconstruction was done in the year 1790. The Statue of the king Philip III on a horseback was made by Juan de Bolonia in the year 1616. Unfortunately, it was not installed until 1848.
The first building, which was constructed in the plaza, was called as “La Real Casa de Panderia”, which means the Royal bakery. Now it has become the home for the municipal city council and is situated in the northern side of the plaza.
During the years 1820-1823, 1833-1835 and 1840-1843, the plaza had again been called as “Plaza de la Constitucion”. It was then renamed as “Plaza de la Republica” in the year 1873, and again went back to its previous name in 1876. It was then being called by this name only till the end of the civil war. After this war the name was changed to “Plaza Mayor”. Initially the Plaza Mayor was used for executions during the Spanish Inquisition. It has been a home for markets, soccer games and bullfights. Now many old and traditional shops can be seen in the plaza.
The Plaza Mayor has become a famous tourist spot and is used for holding the celebrations of San Isidro, who is the patron saint of Madrid.
Plaza Mayor Map
Facts about Plaza Mayor
- During 1560s, the Plaza Mayor was known as Plaza del Arrabal.
- In the year 1812, a rule was made to change the names of all the plazas to “Plaza de la Constitucion”.
- The Plaza Mayor came to be known as “Plaza Real” in 1814.
Where is Plaza Mayor ?
The Plaza Mayor is situated in an area called “Madrid de los Austrias”, which is also called the old Madrid. It is located next to “Puerta del Sol”. It takes 26 minutes to reach the Plaza Mayor from the Madrid-Barajas Airport.
Address: Plaza Mayor, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Best time to visit Plaza Mayor
The best time to visit Plaza Mayor in Madrid is during spring and summer.
Plaza Mayor Hours
Plaza Mayor opens round the clock.
More about Plaza Mayor
Nearby Attractions: Prado Museum, Sorolla Museum, Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro), Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Metropolis, Bernabeu Stadium (Estadio Santiago Bernabeu), Palacio de Comunicaciones, Cerralbo Museum, and Museo Lazaro Galdiano.
Published On: Wednesday, April 30th, 2014