Cultural Rutes

This is the name of the part of Madrid built during the reign of the dynasty of the Habsburgs, from Felipe I to Carlos II, who died in 1700. In 1561 Felipe II makes Madrid the capital of the Empire. The administration moves to Madrid and then the shops, convents... arise.
  Click to see the map click on the names.
To follow the route click on the numbers
7. PLAZA MAYOR (Main Square)
Finished in 1620.
Arched square. Felipe II ordered Juan de Herrera to design a square over the old Plaza del Arrabal, the main commercial centre of Mediaeval Madrid.

Several difficulties delayed this project until the reign of Felipe III, under the control of the architect Gómez de la Mora. It was used for public events: bull fights, autos-da-fé by the Inquisition...

The most important guilds (professional associations) of the time gathered under its arches. Their mark can still be seen in the houses around the square. One of these houses is the beautiful Casa de la Panadería (House of the Bakery), old home of the baker's guild in the 16th - 17th centuries, remarkable for its facade paintings. Opposite is the Casa de la Carnicería (Butcher's House).

In the centre of the Plaza Mayor is a statue of King Felipe III by Juan de Bolonia and Pietro Tacca.

The Arco de los Cuchilleros (Knifemaker's arch) is also well known. On Sundays there is a popular philatelic market and at Christmas a market for Christmas decorations and trees.