Discover Madrid and Its Amazing Old City Gates

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Puerta de Alcalá

Discover Madrid and Its Amazing Old City Gates

Madrid is a beautiful and dynamic city, full of great art museums, amazing cultural events and lots of historical sights. The urban architecture reflects Madrid’s development over the centuries and offers a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the city while enjoying its lively streets and squares. The monumental city gates range among Madrid’s most interesting architectural landmarks. For centuries, they have been part of the cityscape, giving Madrid its unique charm. If you come here, maybe staying in Aspasios Atocha Apartments, you will have the opportunity to discover Madrid and its amazing old city gates.

Puerta de Alcalá

Puerta de Alcalá

Puerta de Alcalá

The Puerta de Alcalá is probably the most known of Madrid’s gates. It was built in 1778 by the Italian architect Francesco Sabatini as a part of the city embellishment promoted by Charles III. The king commissioned Sabatini with the construction as a reminder of accession to the throne in 1759. The gate was built at the city entrance, next to the road leading to Alcalá de Henares, hence the name. Sabatini designed a structure consisting of five arches. In addition to the openings, there are ten Ionic columns crowned by an attic. The Puerta de Alcalá is located right in front of the Retiro park. Thus, you can combine a cultural visit with a relaxing time in one of Madrid’s most wonderful recreational areas.

Puerta de San Vicente

Puerta de San Vicente

Puerta de San Vicente

Charles III commissioned the construction of the Puerta de San Vicente almost at the same time as the Puerta de Alcalá. The construction works led by Francesco Sabatini began almost immediately, and so the gate was finished in 1775. In order to create more space for traffic the original structure was dismantled in 1892. At that time the architect José López Salaberry suggested to recycle the stones the gate was built from and use them for the gigantic street lanterns at the Glorieta de Cibeles. In the second half of the 20th century Madrid’s city hall decided to rebuild the historical gate. The authorities started the reconstruction in 1994, using the old photographs. Thus, the Puerta de San Vicente once again appeared in one of Madrid’s most central squares, close to the Royal Palace.

Puerta de Toledo

Puerta de Toledo

Puerta de Toledo

The Puerta de Toledo commemorates the arrival of Ferdinand VII to Madrid. It was built close to the current La Latina neighborhood. Initially, the king stopped the project originally developed under the reign of his predecessor Joseph Bonaparte. However, Ferdinand VII subsequently decided to carry on the construction of the gate. The king commissioned the realization of the project to Antonio López Aguado. The experienced architect used granite and stone from Colmenar to build the gate that was inaugurated in 1827. On the side facing the river Manzanares the Puerta de Toledo features a sculptural group that was supposed to represent the power of the Spanish monarchy on both hemispheres. On the opposite side of the gate you can see Madrid’s official coat-of-arms.

Puerta de Hierro

Puerta de Hierro

Puerta de Hierro

In contrast to the other gates, the Puerta de Hierro lies outside the city center, at the end of the Cinturón del Pardo. It was erected in 1751 during the reign of Ferdinand VI. The architect Francisco Nangle used several characteristic baroque elements in order to build one of Madrid’s most beautiful landmarks. According to Italian and French taste of that time the gate got a circular arch and an original wrought-iron lattice. The Puerta de Hierro is located in Monte del Pardo, close to the Ciudad Universitaria. Today, the location lies between two highways and is not very easily accessible. However, it’s worth visiting because of several parks you will find close to this historical monument.

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