Plaza Mayor, Madrid
The first plans for laying out the Plaza Mayor, which played an important part in the life of the town as early as the 16th C., date from the time of Philip II, who entrusted the task to his favorite architect Juan de Herrera, builder of the Escorial. Work started in 1590, and the square was completed by Juan Gómez de Mora in 1617-19, in the reign of Philip III.The Plaza Mayor was not only the center of commerce and municipal life but the scene of such ceremonial events as the proclamation of a new king, the canonization of saints, an execution and the burning of heretics.
Plaza Mayor Map
Transit: Metro: Puerta del Sol; Bus: 3, 31, 50.
On the north side of the Plaza Mayor stands the Casa Panadería (1590) with its two towers. Formerly the city's official bread distribution point, it boasts a large coat of arms over its balcony. Opposite it stands the Casa de la Carnicería, the former butchers shop, also flanked by two towers. The equestrian statue of Philip III, which was designed by Giambologna and cast in 1613 by Pietro Tacca in Florence, originally stood in the Casa del Campo but was transferred to the square in 1847.
These days the annual Christmas fair is held in the Plaza Mayor.
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