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Puerta del Sol

Listed under Squares, Streets & Urban Spaces in Madrid, Spain.

  • Photo of Puerta del Sol
  • Photo of Puerta del Sol
  • Photo of Puerta del Sol
  • Photo of Puerta del Sol
Photo of Puerta del Sol
Photo by flickr user M.Peinado
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If your Spanish is good you'll already know that the name of this square is 'Gate of the Sun'. It's got two main claims to fame and mention, that it's the centre of Spain's road network, the zero point for all all trips, and that it's where the famous clock that rings in the new year in Spain stands. If your knowledge of Spain runs only to the language you'll need it explained that in front of this clock on new years eve people gather to eat 12 grapes – one for each toll of the bell – a feat not as simple as it sounds.

The gate was originally one of the 15th Century city gates – the east gate – hence the sun reference, and became an important meeting place because it's where the main Post Office was built, a building which is now the seat of the Presidency of the Madrid Community.

As well as the clock and road signs marked with a big 0, the square is decorated with a statue of Charles III of Spain and one of a bear and a madrone tree, the symbol of Madrid and the Tio Pepe sign – a sherry ad that appears in an inordinately large number of photos of Madrid. Cafés and restaurants frequented by tourists and locals keep people in the area late into the night.

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

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