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
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.