Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol Review
Crowded with people but pedestrian-friendly, the Puerta del Sol is the nerve center of Madrid. The city's main subway interchange is below, and buses fan out from here. A brass plaque in the sidewalk on the south side of the plaza marks Kilometer 0, the spot from which all distances in Spain are measured. The restored 1756 French-neoclassical building near the marker now houses the offices of the regional government, but during Franco's reign it was the headquarters of his secret police, and it's still known colloquially as the Casa de los Gritos (House of Screams). Across the square are a bronze statue of Madrid's official symbol, a bear with a madroño (strawberry tree), and a statue of King-Mayor Carlos III on horseback.