This beautiful plaza in the centre of Madrid was built by the Hapsburg dynasty in the early 17th century and held its first public execution in 1624 when a man was burned alive for masquerading as a priest. Although the Spanish Inquisition lasted a blood chilling 300 years, never fear, nowadays the only thing to be worried about is the amount of tourists who come during the summer season. Do not miss the statue of Philip the 3rd who had his architect build the square in 1612. One story that does not appear in most guides is that of the statue of Philip the 3rd on horseback, who named Madrid capital of Spain in 1561. It is said that birds used to fly into the hollow statue through the horses mouth. This was only discovered in 1931. When the second republic was proclaimed and anarchy ensued, explosives were thrown at the statue by anti monarchists. It exploded and out flew feathers and remains of birds that had flown in over the years for shelter but could not get back out. Subsequently, what looks like dentures have been soldered to the horses mouth so the gap is too small for any unsuspecting bird to wander in. Who knew those explosive yielding rebels are to thank for preventing any more avian deaths.
The nearest metro
is Sol, line 2. Also nearby are the quality hotels that Madrid offers such as Petit Palace Mayor
, Petit Palace Posada del Peine
and Francisco I