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Madrid is in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula and it is the capitol of the Spain and official seat of the Royal Family. It is a cosmopolitan and  very rich of cultural attractions city, thanks to Christian and Arabic cultures influences. Museums are one of the most important attractions of Madrid:

the Prado Museum with Goya, Velázquez and El Greco works, the nation's great masters with three apposite sections;

the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is the museum of modern art that was recently renovated. It takes the famous "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso, inspired by the Nazi bombing of the ancient Basque town of Gernika in 1937 during the Spanish civil war;

the Museum of the Americas with artistic, archaeological and ethnographic collections from America;

the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum with Canaletto, Caravaggio, Tiziano and Rubens paintings;

the Museo Naval with documents, maps, weaponry, paintings and ship models. From Columbus expeditions to modern naval construction accomplishments;

the Museo del Traje (Costume Museum) with a collection of dress from the old burial garments worn by kings and nobles in Spain to the modern creations of designers as Balenciaga and Pertega.

To find the true character of the city you should have a walk in the downtown area that extends from the Royal Palace to the Parque of Buen Retiro and from Plaza de Lavapiés to the Glorieta de Bilbao in avenidas, twisting medieval alleys, grand museums, stately gardens, and tiny, tile taverns in a very rich urban texture. You should visit also the 19th-century National Library building, the Royal Theatre, the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor with its numismatic market in the weekend

A trip in a trip nearby Madrid there are three important sites of the World Heritage List by Unesco:

the cultural landascape of Aranjuez just 30 miles on the southside of the city. It was the first city in Spain connected by railroad so you can now catch Tren de la Fresa or Strawberry Train that is a replica of the first Spanish steam train, that is named as the typical fruit of the zone. You can visit  the Royal Site with  the Royal Palace in herreriano style, the Gardens composed by four wonderful zones, the Casa del Labrador and the Falúas Museum with  original river boats that the monarchs used to navigate the Tajo River.

Alcalá de Henares, the birth place of Miguel de Cervantes, the famous author of Don Chisciotte. It was the first city to be sith of the Complutense University in the Middle Age. It was on of the oldest in Europe and in the XIX century was moved in Madrid and it is now one of the best public university of the country. You can visit Collegium Scholarium of St. Ildefonso, the ancient walls of the city and the museum of the house of Miguel de Cervantes.

The Monastery of the Escurial is an exceptional monument dedicated to St Lawrence, in the north west area of Madrid built at the end of XVI century. There is unique complex with a monastery of monks of the order of St Jerome, a basilica with The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence by Tiziano, the Royal palace, a college and seminary, a library, and mausoleum of the Royal family.

To feel a real Madrileño: you should enjoy very long nights with the exciting movida madrileña  that is famous all over the world expecially thanks to LGBT community.

Do not miss:  the traditional meals in Madrid are Sopa de Ajo- Garlic Soup with a poached egg, Gallinejas and Entresijos- giblets , Callos a la Madrileña a sticky casserole of veal tripe and cheeks, Cocido Madrileño a stew with meat and chickpeas, and Besugo, a special red bream.


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