Top 5 Historical Sites in Madrid

Sandra Escorza is a student at the University of North Texas and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Madrid, Spain.

Madrid is a modern and vibrant city with lots of history behind its famous sites, so lets take a look at the top 5 historical sites in Madrid.

Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is home to the Real Madrid soccer team. A little history of this stadium is that it officially opened its doors in December 1947. The stadium name was not always Santiago Bernabéu. Its original name was Nuevo Estadio Chamartin (New Stadium Chamartin), but after 8 years the name changed and it was named after the Real Madrid soccer team president. The stadium was always being renovated and upgraded until 2006, and has hosted four European Cup and Champions League finals. If you are a soccer fan like me then seeing the Real Madrid stadium while studying abroad in Madrid is a must! Attending a Real Madrid match is so worth it. If you are able to go then be prepared to see fans singing, hugging , roaring, and whistling. Also, if you want to blend with the locals then bring some sunflower seeds because there is a high chance that you will see fans eating these seeds. Lastly, alcoholic drinks are not sold inside the stadium, so fans usually go out for a drink  before the match to get excited and in the spirit.  Additionally, if Real Madrid wins, fans usually go celebrate in the Cibeles fountain. However, if you cannot attend a game, the stadium also offers self-guided tours every day.

Las Ventas- The Bullring

Las Ventas Bullring was completed in 1929 and it is the largest bullring in Spain (3rd largest bullring in the world) with a total area of 45,800 square feet. The construction of this bullring took 7 years, and although it was completed in 1929, the inauguration did not take place till 1934, and as of that year the bullring began to be used regularly. There are 3 matadores (the people that kill the bull) in every bullfight, and each matador kills 2 bulls. Bullfights usually start around 6:30 pm and last two to three hours. An important thing to know if interested in being part of this Spanish culture is that the doors close once the bullfighting starts, and after the bull is killed, the doors reopen. Then the next bull comes out and the process starts again.

Retiro Park

The Retiro Park is one of the largest parks in Madrid! Originally, it belonged to the Spanish Monarchy, but then it was opened to the public in the late 19th century. There is so much to see and do in the park. The Retiro Park has a lake and you can rent a rowboat and paddle around the lake. Also, there is a crystal palace and the name says it all. This building is made entirely of glass, and there are different art exhibitions throughout the year. Another thing to see is the statue walk (Paseo de la Argentina). In this area there is a path that has statues of Spain’s past royalty.

Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod is a beautiful ancient Egyptian temple. This temple was a gift to the city of Madrid by the Egyptian government. Its original location was not in Madrid though, but in Egypt. Due to the construction of a dam, the temple was transported and rebuilt stone by stone in its current location in Madrid, specifically in Parque del Oeste.

Gran Via Avenue

Gran Via is like the Broadway of New York if you ask me, and it is also said that this is the street that never sleeps. Gran Via is the most famous and touristic street in Spain. It connects Calle de Alcala and Plaza de España. This avenue has cinemas, theaters, musicals, bars, and shopping stores. The construction of this famous avenue was between 1910 and 1929. This avenue includes Madrid’s first skyscraper which is the Telefonica Building!


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