Madrid and Spain
The Autonomous Community of Madrid (La Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid) is situated in the centre of Spain. The region of Madrid in Spain contains one province: Madrid (la provincia de Madrid). The city of Madrid (la ciudad de Madrid) is the capital city of the province, the region and, since the 16th Century, Spain itself.
The region of Madrid is bordered by Castile-Leon in the north, and Castile-La Mancha in the south. It covers an area over 8,000 km² in size, which is around 1.5% of Spain’s total. The population of the region totals around 6 million: almost 50% of the population live in Madrid city.
Other cities of note in the Madrid region are Alcalá de Henares, San Lorenzo de El Escorial and Aranjuez.
Geographically, the Community of Madrid can be seen as two distinct areas: a mountainous area to the north and west and a flatter area in the centre and to the south. The sierra in the north and west (el Sistema Central) has peaks reaching over 2,200 metres. Some of these include:
- Peñalara (at 2,430 m)
- Hierro (at 2,383 m)
- and Maliciosa (at 2,227 m).
The expansive plains in the south are watered by the river Henares. The following are also important rivers of the Madrid region:
- and Guadalix
In etrms of Madrid’s weather, the region has semi-arid Mediterranean climate, with notable continental features as a consequence of its geographical location and altitude (Madrid City is the highest in Europe at around 650 metres). It has moderate rainfall, but winter (el invierno) is cold, summer (el verano) very hot and spring (la primavera) and autumn (el otoño) are generally mild: autumn generally being the wettest period. Rainfall typically increases with altitude in the mountain areas, as does snow at the highest points.
Madrid City is located in the centre of Spain: all roads literally lead to Madrid as the city appears on maps like the spindle in the centre of a wheel. As the capital city of Spain, it follows that is the political and economic centre of the country. Although founded in the 9th Century by the moors, King Philip II made it the capital city in 1561.
It is a key city in Europe as it provides a major link between the member states of European Union (la Unión Europea) and Latin America (América Latín).
In terms of culture, Madrid has over 70 museums, the most notable of which are the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza art galleries, which house classical and contemporary masterpieces of world and Spanish art.
Madrid is the home of the Royal Palace (el Palacio Real de Madrid), a building constructed in the 17th century combining Baroque and Classical styles. The Royal Palace is partially open to the public; the actual royal residence, el Palacio de la Zarzuela, is situated around 5 miles northwest of Madrid City.