Puerta del Sol

The Puerta Del Sol or Gate of the Sun is the most famous landmark in Madrid, and with good reason. This is often seen as the centre of the city and is where many tourists find accommodations, so they are right in the thick of the action. Close to Plaza Mayor, you cannot find a better location in the city.

It is named Puerta Del Sol because there used to stand one of numerous gates into the city here.

Ornamented on top of it was a giant sun that symbolized the start of the day, as it faced East.

The most famous thing in this square is the clock tower on the Real Casa de Correos. This building used to be part of the post office in the city center and is now used for city affairs.

Outside the old post office is the kilometer zero, a stone in the ground that marks the beginning of the Spanish road system and the unofficial center of the city.

You cannot go to Madrid without visiting the clock and this plaza. It is equivalent to Times Square in New York City.

On New Years, Madrilenians gather in front of the clock to bring in the New Year. People all over Spain tune in on their television to partake in the event.

Thousands of people assemble in the square on this night and as the clock chimes twelve times, it is ceremony to eat a single grape at each of the chimes.

There are also many other important monuments within the Puerta Del Sol including the statue of Charles III, which commemorates the 18 th Century monarch, in remembrance to the large contributions he made for the infrastructure of Madrid. The statue of the bear and madrone tree also has its home in this square, as it is the symbol of the city.