Monday, June 6, 2011
Madrid is the capital and the largest city of Spain. The population of Madrid is 3.4 million! The first settlements in Madrid began around the 1000 BC along the rivers of Manzanares and Jarama. During this period, the town was mostly settled by the Iberian and Celtic tribes and as a result of the harsh weather conditions, other tribal groups did not settle here. Thereafter, Romans occupied the place and the city mainly served as a thoroughfare to other Spanish regions. After the decline of the Roman era, the area was primarily taken over by the Visigoth tribes. After the Visgoths left, Madrid came under Muslim rule and throughout the 11th century the Christians made incessant efforts to win back the city. But it was not until 1086, that Madrid was finally captured by Alfonso VI. The growth and prosperity of Madrid began from the 13th century under Alfonso VIII, and in 1561, it gained a royal status as Philip II established his court here. Madrid became the capital of Spain and this resulted in the infiltration of numerous nobles and state officials to the city. It also led to the construction of magnificent palaces and elegant monasteries in various parts of the city. The golden age of Madrid began in the 18th century with the discovery of America. Gold from the 'new world' was principally responsible for the prosperity of the city. It was Charles III who changed the look of the city and was responsible for the historical buildings which adorns the city till date. Madrid during this period not only witnessed the development of architectural marvels but also witnessed significant cultural growth by works of legendary writers like Cervantes and Lope de Vega.