Plaza Cánovas del Castillo, Madrid
The Plaza Cánovas de Castillo, the center of which is occupied by the Neptune Fountain (Juan Pascual de Mena; 1780), is distinguished by three important buildings: the Cortes or Parliament, the elegant Hotel Palace (1912) and the Neo-Classical palace of the Duque de Villahermosa. This marks the beginning of the southern section of the Paseo, features of which are the Neo-Classical facade of the Prado and the railings and greenery of the Botanic Gardens, both on the eastern side of the Paseo.
Plaza Canovas del Castillo Map
The Prado Museum in Madrid is one of the finest attractions in the city. Showcasing a wealth of paintings and sculptures, the Museum began from the royal collection of the Habsburgs and the Bourbons.
Palacio de Villahermosa is currently an annex to the Prado Museum and displays paintings form the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection.
The Botanic Gardens of Madrid were founded by the enlightened Bourbon King Charles III and formed part of his ambitious plan for the development of the eastern part of the city. The gardens, enclosed by railings and entered by two Neo-Classical gateways, were designed by the architect Juan de Villanueva.Opened in 1781, the Botanic Gardens achieved an international reputation through the import of plants and seeds from America and the Philippines. Its specialized library includes 10,000 drawings of the flora of New Granada brought from South America by the celebrated botanist Celestino Mutis. The collection of manuscripts includes books from the 15th to the 18th C.
Address: Plaza de Murillo 2, Spain
Opening hours: 10am-5:30pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Extended summer hours.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Transit: Metro: Atocha; Buses: 10, 14, 19, 24, 26, 27, 32, 34, 45, 57, 140
Cuesta de Moyano
In the Cuesta de Moyano adjoining the Botanic Garden the stalls of the "bouquinistes" offer the book-lover a wide choice of old books, magazines and antiques.
Parque de Atenas
At the foot of La Cuesta lies the Parque de Atenas (6 hectares/20 acres), named after a park in Athens which is called "Madrid".
The Palacio de las Cortes, with its Neo-Classical portico, stands in the Carrera de San Jerónimo, opposite the charming little Plaza de las Cortes and the grandoise facade of the palace Hotel. The building was erected in 1843-50 (architect Pascual y Colomer) on the site of the old Convent of the Holy Ghost. Flanking the steps leading up to the bronze entrance door (opened only on ceremonial occasions) are two bronze lions cast from cannon captured in the Moroccan War which ended in 1860.The history of the Spanish Cortes has been full of vicissitudes. Its origins date back to the popular assemblies of medieval Spain. The first modern Spanish Constitution was promulgated in 1812 by the Cortes, meeting in Cádiz. The country was then occupied by Napoleon's troops and the Spanish King, Ferdinand VII, was a prisoner in French hands. After his return Ferdinand abolished the Constitution and dissolved the Cortes, and thereafter, apart from a brief Constitutional interlude in 1820-23, reigned without a Constitution until his death in 1833.In the course of the 19th C. Spain was governed under a series of different Constitutions, introduced in 1834, 1837, 1869, 1873 (the first Republican Constitution, which never came into force) and 1876. The 1876 Constitution was set aside by General Primo de Rivera's coup d'état in 1923 the fall of the Dictator brought the fall of the monarchy, and the Republic which was proclaimed in 1931 promulgated a modern Constitution, one of the most progressive of its day. The present Spanish Constitution, adopted and promulgated by the Cortes, bears the date October 31, 1978. The last elections to the two-chamber parliament (consisting of Senate and Congress) were held in 1989.
Map of Madrid Attractions