Plaza Mayor, Madrid Facts You Should Know Before Your Trip | Kidadl


Plaza Mayor, Madrid Facts You Should Know Before Your Trip

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Plaza Mayor in Madrid is one of the most famous and visited squares in Europe.

Located in the heart of the city, Plaza Mayor was built by King Philip III in 1617. Over the centuries, Plaza Mayor has been at the center of many important historical events.

Over the years, the square has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. From time to time, it has also received different names (like Plaza de la Constitución and Plaza de la República) until the end of the Spanish Civil War, when its current name was given to this fine piece of architecture. Being one of the oldest squares in Spain and Europe, Plaza Mayor possesses much cultural and traditional significance. It has also been used for several government and public events and celebrations.

If you're planning on visiting Madrid soon, be sure to read this article for some interesting facts about Plaza Mayor!

History Of Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor has been standing in the center of Madrid for more than 400 years. It has become a part of Spanish history and carries much cultural significance. So, let's see some of the facts related to the landmark's history.

Did you know that King Philip II actually commissioned construction? Yes, it took place in 1577. However, the execution of the plan was delayed by a few decades and finally started under the supervision of King Philip III in 1617. The king appointed Juan Gómez de Mora and Juan de Herrera as the head architects.

As mentioned, the Plaza has been destroyed many times in the past, so it has been renovated repeatedly. The first commission for architectural renovation went to Herrera while the Plaza was still under construction. In 1619, the commission passed on to de Mora. He also renovated the Plaza when it caught fire for the first time in 1631. When it was again destroyed by fire in 1670, an architect called Tomas Roman worked on its renovation.

In 1790, when a series of fires destroyed the Plaza, maybe the worst in its history, Architect Juan de Villanueva was the person to renovate it. That's why he is known as the real Plaza Mayor's architect at present.

Facts About The Architects And Architecture Of Plaza Mayor

Over the years, the Plaza has been renovated many times, and many architects have been appointed to do that work. Different names have known even it at different times throughout its history.

Initially, the Plaza was known by the name of 'Plaza del Arrabal.' It might have also been named after the most popular marketplace in Spain, which was also called the 'Plaza del Arrabal' until the end of the 15th century. With the advent of the Constitution in 1812, the Plaza (including all the major plazas in the country) was renamed 'Plaza de la Constitución.' In 1814, when the Borbón king came to power, the Plaza became 'Plaza Real.' Again the name was changed to 'Plaza de la República' in 1873. Finally, after the Spanish Civil War, it became known as 'Plaza Mayor.'

Talking about the architecture, the Plaza measures 423 ft (129 m) in length and 308 ft (94 m) in breadth. It has a total of 237 balconies, and all of them face toward the Plaza. The landmark has nine gates constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries after it was destroyed multiple times by fire.

Plaza Mayor is **** of Spain's oldest and most famous landmarks.


Plaza Mayor is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Madrid, attracting visitors from all over the world. Plaza Mayor's architecture is unique and impressive, consisting of six grandiose arches supported by Corinthian columns.

It is said that the building of Casa de la Panadería is covered with frescoes that date back to 1590. However, these have been reconstructed many times in the past, and the last one was done in 1992 by Carlos Franco.

The square statue is one of the main attractions of the place. It is a bronze statue portraying King Philip III on a horse. It was a gift to the king by the Duke of Florence. Even though the commission of the construction was given in 1616, the construction itself began after a long time. At last, in 1848, it was placed in the main square.

Cultural Importance

Plaza Mayor is one of the most famous landmarks in Madrid, and its cultural importance attracts thousands of visitors every year. Plaza Mayor hosts many important events such as concerts, festivals, bullfights, and art exhibitions.

Once upon a time, the Plaza was used for activities like bullfights and soccer games. During the Spanish Inquisition, it was used for trials and public executions. Later, the Plaza was also used for crowing ceremonies.

 Plaza Mayor also houses Casa de la Panadería, one of the oldest restaurants in the world. It was built by a French couple in 1725. It is also believed that while Francisco Goya waited for his admission to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he worked at this restaurant as a waiter.


Q: What is Plaza Mayor known for?

A: It is known for being one of the oldest monuments in Europe and Spain, which the public and the government have used to conduct several events and programs.

Q: How old is the Plaza Mayor in Madrid?

A: The first version of the Plaza was finished in 1619. So, as of today, it is more than 400 years old.

Q: What are three important landmarks at the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain?

A: The first one, placed in the square in 1848, is the equestrian statue of Philip III; the second one is the oldest restaurant in Spain called Casa de la Panadería; the last one is El Arco de Cuchilleros, the most famous of the nine gates.

Q: What was the Plaza Mayor used for in the Middle Ages?

A: Initially, the Plaza was the primary market in Old Madrid. But it was also used to host soccer games, bullfights, and crowning ceremonies.

Q: What happens in Plaza Mayor?

A: It is presently closely associated with tourism for its cultural significance. Also, the government and the public use it for various kinds of events and celebrations.

Q: What are the three points of Plaza Mayor?

A: The three points of the Plaza are El Arco de Cuchilleros, Casa de la Panadería, and the equestrian statue of Philip III.

Q: What buildings are around the Plaza Mayor?

A: Puerta del Sol is another famous plaza, a few blocks away from Plaza Mayor.

Written By
Prasenjit Das

<p>Having obtained a Bachelor's degree in English language and literature from West Bengal State University - Barrackpore Rastraguru Surendranath College, followed by a Master's degree in English language and literature from Calcutta University, Prasenjit has several years of experience as a content writer, Prasenjit has mastered the art of producing cohesive and coherent copy. To further refine his skills and continuously challenge his creativity, Prasenjit successfully completed the "Introduction to Creative Writing Course" offered by British Council. Outside of his professional pursuits, Prasenjit finds inspiration in engaging in various creative activities, including writing poetry.</p>

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