Madrid is a lively metropolis and popular cultural destination with an ideal climate of warm dry summers and cool winters. Many of the historic neighbourhoods and streets have been preserved as well as such landmarks as the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Teatro Real, the National library building and the renovated Villahermosa Palace.
The Golden Triangle of Art is a major tourist destination consisting of the Prado Museum, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia Museum.History
In the 10th century the site of the present Royal Palace was occupied by the little Moorish town and fortress of Majrit, which was captured by King Alfonso VI in 1103. In 1239 Ferdinand IV summoned the first Cortes to meet "Madrit", which thereafter became a frequent residence of the king. It was only in the time of the Emperor Charles V, however, that the old Alczázar was converted into a palace. In 1561 Philip II finally moved the court from Toledo to Madrid, which then had a population of some 30,000. This was the period that saw a great flowering of Spanish literature and art: Cervantes wrote the second part of "Don Quixote" in Madrid, while Lope de Vega, Velázquez and Calderón lived for varying periods in the new capital. In the 18th Century, under the Bourbons, the present Palacio Real was built to replace the older palace which had been destroyed by fire. In the early 19th century the French occupying forces demolished many convents and whole districts of the city in order to open up the crowded old town. The rising of the people of Madrid against the French on May 2, 1808 was the signal for further risings throughout the country. Madrid's development into a modern city began towards the end of the 19th century. On April 14, 1931 the Republic was proclaimed in Madrid. During the Civil War the city underwent a grim siege by Franco's forces, beginning with a two week battle in November, 1936, mainly around the University City; but in spite of heavy bombardment by German and Italian aircraft, Madrid held out until March 28, 1939.