Puerta del Sol is one of the nerve centres of Madrid. The first buildings surrounding this area were begun in the 16th Century, although the square took on the importance it holds today with the construction of the Casa de Correos building in 1768. In the 19th Century the square was completely transformed and between 1857 and 1862 it took on its current look following the demolition of a number of buildings. This site, “kilometre zero” from which all radial roads out of Madrid start, has witnessed many different historical events, including the Esquilache Mutiny in 1766, the resistance against Napoleon’s troops on 2nd May 1808 and the coronation of Fernando VII in 1812.
Puerta del Sol must not be missed. It features several attractions, such as the “Oso y Madrono” (the “Bear and the Strawberry Tree”) statue, next to Calle Alcala, and the equestrian statue of Carlos III standing nine metres tall. The square is closely linked to the New Years Eve tradition of eating twelve grapes at midnight, one on each chime. The large clock that dominates the square sees the new year in for many Spanish people.
Historic period: 18th century - 19th century