Puerta del Sol of Madrid

In continuing my series of rejuvenating my older posts, I write again to you of my beloved Madrid. The Puerta del Sol, the center of it all and the place to be on any day in Madrid. The starting point par excellence of your visit to the city.

First, I have written before on my blog a bit on it back in February 2011 ! here it is ; https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/21/madrid-puerta-del-sol-y-cibeles/

So on the 6th anniversary I thought to get an update and more. Yes I know after so many posts I get lost too…lol!

It all started with the building of the Casa de Correos (post office house) in the middle of the 18C and almost a century later between 1857 and 1862 the current form took place. In the 20C gardens, fountain, and more pedestrian space was added.

Some of its most emblematic spots today are the statue of the bear rising to the Madroño tree (strawberry tree) below the sign of Tio Pepe (taken out and recently reinstated) by the entry on the Calle de Alcalà, this statue was built in 1967. Then you come to the beforementioned Casa de Correos and its watch or Reloj (added in 1866) , here you hear the bells announcing the new year since 1962. And you have the kilometer zero where the distances in Spain are measure.

A historical anecdote is that here in 1931 the Second Republic was proclaimed.  Before that on May 2 1808 started here the rebellion against Napoleon’s occupation that led to the event known today as Spanish Independence.  In the 1980’s took many manifestations to the freedom of expression and finally in 1997 the Madrilène came here to manifest against the terrorism of our days.

To the north of the square, you have buildings in an arch circle with many boutiques and cafés. Opposing this you have building of neo-classic style in red brick built in 1760.  This building house the Interior Ministry since 1847. A statue for  king Charles III was put up on the square.

 You can see live a webcam on the Puerta del Sol here:


A bit of directions, going west on the square you arrive at the Calle Arenal, where you have the wonderful disco Joy Eslava and the Chocolateria San Ginés of great fame indeed and my teen predilection for its churros and chocolate continues as adult ! This street will take you too to the Royal Palace and on a southwest direction you reach the Calle Mayor (see the pasteleria Riojana sweets here) taking you to the Plaza Mayor. On the east you have the street Carrera de San Jeronimo, and here you have a great sweets and nougats of Casa Mira. And of course right on the square you have the famous La Mallorquina. Going back to the Carrera de San Jeronimo this street will take you to the Congreso de Diputados and the Museum of Prado, and getting on the Calle de Alcalà will take you to the Plaza de Cibeles , Puerta de Alcalà, and the Retiro park. On its side you have the picturesques streets of Calle Montera, Calle Carmen (Real Madrid store here) and Calle Preciados (an old building of Galerias Preciados  of my days living there,now El Corté Inglés), and this will take you to the Gran Via.

The metro stops here are Sol, Sevilla, Gran Via,and Opéra. Buses that I know of are lines 5, 51,and 53.

Other nice sweets places to eat nearby are La Duquesita, Calle Fernando VI, 2 and Horno de San Onofre, one at Calle Mayor 73.

Another wonderful statue that have been move around until finally put in the square is that of the Mariblanca. Name like this because of its whiteness of its stone, and it is a replica of the original brought from Italy in 1625.

In all there are 10 streets coming out of this square, these are in no particular order; Preciados, Carmen, Montera, Alcalà, Carrera de San Jeronimo, Espoz y Mina, Carrera, Correos, Mayor,and Arenal.

And another anecdote of the legend of the Puerta del Sol, back around 1520 there was a lot of hunger and needs in the city and the commoners rose against the king Carlos I  as a consequence of the situation one of the most famous squares of Spain is born.  The square got its name because the authorities of the city to solve the problem of bandits generated for the chaos of the times as well as the hunger; they decided to built a fortress to protect them. they ordered to built a well and built a castle ,been the principal gate that gave access to the city , in this gate they paint the figure of the sun. It is thought that this painted sun was done because the castle or tower was oriented towards the orient, where the sun rise. Others said, the sun was there because the light of the sun came through one of the holes in the walls or ramparts that was where the square is today. This wall was demolished in the 16C. 

For me it is more than the above, as a youth came here to hang out with the friends a way to express my new freedom, and see the girls. An event after school or whatever time; at Eslava it was a theater than and many town dance days were held, the old Galerias Preciados was there now El Corté Inglés.  Hard to pass on this feeling to the new generation in Spain today, how was the struggle and the hopes of youth seeking freedom. Time change digits but the motivation is still there.

Hopefully, my sons will understand. Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday. I am glad still on earth to enjoy this beauty of a square, long live Tio Pepe. Cheers

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2 Comments to “Puerta del Sol of Madrid”

  1. Thanks for sharing. Ah Madrid! What a place. I appreciate the details & pictures. Cheers!


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