Madrid is the capital, largest and most central city of Spain. It has a population of around 3 million in the city and 6 million in the Madrid region (Comunidad de Madrid), making it the third largest city and metropolitan area in the EU.
Madrid lies on the river Manzanares, in the center of Spain.
The city is also the political, economic and cultural center of Spain, and residence of the Spanish royal family.
Jump to: Geography | People | Best time to visit | Short history | Language | Weather & climate |Top festivities & events | Fun facts
Comunidad de Madrid is located in the central meseta (plateau) of the Iberian peninsula, between Castilla la Mancha and Castilla y León. It is the highest capital in Europe, on an altitude of 667 meters above mean sea level.
3,141,991 in the city (6,529,700 in the metropolitan area.)
Madridian, Madrilenian, Madrilene, Cat / madrileño, -ña; matritense; gato
In 2015, about 89.8% of the inhabitants were Spanish, while people of other origins, including immigrants from Latin America, Europe, Asia, North Africa and West Africa, represented 11.2% of the population.
The ten largest immigrant groups include:
- Ecuadorian: 104,184
- Romanian: 52,875
- Bolivian: 44,044
- Colombian: 35,971
- Peruvian: 35,083
- Chinese: 34,666
- Moroccan: 32,498
- Dominican: 19,602
- Brazilian: 14,583
- Paraguayan: 14,308
There were 2,476 Japanese citizens registered with the Japanese embassy in Madrid in 1993. There are also important communities of Filipinos, Equatorial Guineans, Uruguayans, Bulgarians, Greeks, Indians, Italians, Argentines, Senegalese and Poles.
The traditional religion in Madrid is Roman Catholic. In a 2011 survey conducted by InfoCatólica, 57.1% of Madrid residents of all ages identified themselves as Catholic.
Best time to visit Madrid
Although Madrid has decent weather all year long, summers can be too hot for strolling exploring the city. The best time to visit is April – May.
In Roman times, there was a small settlement on the Manzanares river called Matrice, which might have been a predecessor of the medieval city. Medieval Madrid grew from a small citadel built in 860. in the hills overlooking the Manzanares river, which later became the Royal Alcázar and then Royal Palace.
It is capital of Spain since 1561, when Philip (Felipe) II moved his court to Madrid.
There are very few remains of medieval and renaissance architecture in the city. Many of the historic buildings of Madrid date from the Spanish Golden Age, which coincided with the Habsburgs reign (1516–1700).
In the 18th century, the monarchs made reforms that converted Madrid into one of the most elegant European capitals, with the new Royal Palace, Prado Museum, Puerta de Alcalá, Royal Observatory, Casa de Correos and other monuments being built.
During the early 19th century, the Peninsular War, the loss of viceroyalties in the Americas, and continuing coups limited the city’s architectural development. Some significant monuments nearly disappeared during this period, such as the Retiro Palace.
From the mid-19th century until the Civil War, Madrid modernised and built new neighbourhoods and monuments. The expansion of Madrid developed under the Plan Castro resulted in the neighbourhoods of Salamanca, Argüelles, and Chamberí.
The Civil War (1936-1939) severely damaged the city. Subsequently, the old town and the Ensanche were destroyed, and numerous blocks of flats were built. Examples of post-war architecture include the Spanish Air Force headquarters and the skyscrapers of Plaza de España, at the time (the 1950s) the highest in Europe.
The official and most commonly spoken language in Madrid is Castellano (Spanish).
Weather & climate
The Madrid region has an inland Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) bordering on a semi-arid climate (BSk) with cool winters due to its altitude.
During winters, there are sporadic snowfalls and minimum temperatures sometimes below freezing.
Summers are hot, in the warmest month – July – average temperatures during the day ranging from 32 to 33 °C (90 to 91 °F) depending on location, with maximums commonly climbing over 35 °C during heat waves. Due to Madrid’s altitude and dry climate, diurnal ranges are often significant during the summer.
Most Precipitation occurs during autumn and spring, and, together with Athens which has similar annual precipitation, is the driest capital in Europe. It is particularly sparse during the summer, taking the form of about two showers and/or thunderstorms a month.
Partly cloudy skies. High 14C. Winds NE at 10 to 15 km/h.
High 14° / Low 6°
Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 16C. Winds WNW at 15 to 30 km/h.
High 17° / Low 13°
Mostly cloudy early, then afternoon sunshine. High 19C. Winds WNW at 15 to 30 km/h.
High 20° / Low 9°
Mainly sunny. High 17C. Winds NW at 10 to 15 km/h.
High 17° / Low 8°
Top festivities & events
- Reyes (3 kings) – January 6
- Dos de Mayo – May 2
- San Isidro – May 15
- Madrid Pride Week – End of June – Beginning of July
- La Paloma – August 15
- Dia del Pilar (Spanish national day) Military parade – October 12
- Almudena – November 9
- Madrid is the highest capital in Europe.
- According to FIFA, Real Madrid FC is the world’s most successful football club of the 20th century.
- The symbol and coat of arms of Madrid – a bear and a strawberry tree (Madroño) represents the city since 1212.
- The Universidad Complutense was founded in 1293, making it one of the oldest universities in the world.
Learn more about Madrid at Wikipedia.