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.
Madrid, 28013, Spain
Dec 30, 2009
Still a major construction site in Fall 2009, but still a neat place to visit. Take time to watch the street merchants, their spotters and the eventual arrival of the police... it's an interesting and non-agressive game of cat-n-mouse. The Bear and Strawberry Tree make for a decent photo now that it's been moved to the north? end of the plaza. The metro station is an excellent starting point to wander towards Plaza Mayor then the Opera, then the
Palace. Plenty of people, plenty of cars, plenty of construction; but still worth a walk-through.
Jun 29, 2007
There was a lot of construction work goig on when I visited. But besides that, there is no special interest in the plaza. Highly overrated.