The first historical record of Madrid dates to the year 865, when Emir Muhammad I commissioned the construction of a fortress in the village of Mayrit, on the banks of the river Manzanares. ‘Mayrit’ means ‘plenty of waterways’, which is why the city’s first records mentioned ´build in the water´. Madrid belonged to the Islamic world until 1083, when Alfonso VI of Castile took over the city.
Nowadays Madrid, capital of Spain, is a cosmopolitan open city that combines the most modern infrastructures and the status as an economic, financial, administrative and service center of Southern Europe, with a large cultural and artistic heritage, a legacy of centuries of exciting history. Art, traditions, gastronomy and multicultural openness play a key role in Madrid’s cultural life.
The capital has over 60 museums including the Prado Museum, a flagship art gallery with Goya, Velázquez, El Greco paintings, among others; the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, with paintings ranging from Flemish artists to the avant-garde movements; and the Reina Sofía National Art Centre, dedicated to contemporary art containing works by Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, etc.
But if there is one thing that sets Madrid apart, it must be its deep and infectious passion for life that finds its outlet in the friendly and open character of its inhabitants. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of the best Spanish and international gastronomy, to savor the charms of its tapas bars and taverns. The lively nightlife is another key attraction of Madrid, due to its variety and the exciting atmosphere to be found in its bars, clubs and flamenco halls.