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top 10 fun facts about madrid you didn't know

Updated: Apr 10

¡Hola art lovers! Artspace Tours is expanding to Madrid! In the Spanish Capital the vibrant streets are alive with art, history, and an unmistakable energy that pulses through the city day and night. To celebrate we have compiled a list of 10 fun facts about Madrid to show you why this is such a captivating city.

1. Madrid boasts the Oldest Restaurant in the World (and they have the Guinnes World Record to prove it)

Our journey begins at Sobrino de Botin, the world's oldest working restaurant, which opened its doors in 1725 and continues to serve mouthwatering dishes to this day. Nestled in the heart of Madrid, this historic establishment is a culinary time capsule, offering a taste of centuries-old Spanish cuisine. It was also a favourite of the original Renaissance Man - Ernest Hemingway.

2. Time for Tapas: The Sacred 'Hora del Vermut'

Madrid's culinary scene isn't just about ancient restaurants; it's a celebration of socializing and savouring the flavours of life. And nowhere is this social style of eating more present than in the sacred 'hora del vermut.' This is when you meet with your friends for the aperitivo before lunch or dinner. The aperitivo of choice being Spanish sweet-style Vermouth, naturally accompanied by a tapa - which is served as a free complimentary dish to accompany your drink! You can't say you've eaten in Madrid until you've tried this unique and addictive tipple.

3. Madrid's Nocturnal Cats: Locals as 'Gatos'

Dubbed as 'gatos' (cats), Madrileños have earned their feline nickname due to their nightlife prowess. Just like cats, they sleep during the day and come alive at night. Madrid's reputation for partying is legendary, and you'll find the city buzzing with energy until the early hours. So, embrace your inner 'gato' and experience the lively nightlife that defines Madrid.

4. The Bear and the Strawberry Tree: Madrid's Symbolic Origins

Keep an eye out for Madrid's iconic symbol – a bear reaching up to a strawberry tree. This emblem reflects the city's historical roots as a land abundant with bears and with strawberry trees. Not to be confused with strawberry bushes, strawberry trees bear fruit similar in looks but different in form to their namesake cousin. You'll encounter this symbol all over Madrid, a reminder of the city's rich cultural heritage.

5. Cibeles Fountain: A Fountain of Secrets

Be sure to marvel at the Cibeles fountain in the Plaza de Cibeles. This majestic sculpture picturesquely framed by the Cibeles Palace conceals a mysterious secret. The fountain is designed to flood the Bank of Spain's Chamber of Gold if anyone attempts to break in. A touch of intrigue amidst the artistic charm of Madrid!

Insiders tip: There is a viewing point at the top of Cibeles Palace with a 360' view of Madrid. Click here for more info. You're welcome. ;)

6. Madrid's Green Oasis: A City Amongst Forests

Madrid boasts the title of the city with the greenest space in the world, with a remarkable 35% of its land covered by lush forests and parks. Providing a space of reprieve from all of the hustle and bustle that is the Spanish Capital.

7. A City Above the Clouds: Madrid's Altitude

Did you know that Madrid sits at around 666 meters above sea level? This elevated position adds a touch of magic to the city, offering breathtaking views and a unique atmosphere, and also lends its height to the next interesting fact about the city...

8. Lucifer's Statue: A Unique Artwork

As you explore Madrid's green spaces, keep an eye out for a unique piece of art – the city is home to the only statue dedicated to the Fallen Angel, Lucifer. Located in the Parc del Retiro, the city's central park. This sculpture from the late 19th century captures the moment Lucifer was expelled from heaven- and sits at an altitude of, you guessed it - 666m!

9. Art lover's Paradise: Some of the top Art Museums in the world

Aside from hundreds of boutique galleries, contemporary art and murals by world-renowned Street Artists - Madrid has 3 Art Galleries which hold world-renowned masterpieces. The Prado Museum holds works spanning from the 16th to the late 19th century, this is complemented by the Reina Sofia Museum, holding works which start from when the Prado timeline ends, being the museum of modern art. Finally, the Thyssen-Bornemisza holds pieces from the 13th-20th centuries, with a wide collection of masters whose names even the unversed in Art would recognise.

10. City of Champions: Hala Madrid

It must be mentioned that the writer of this article is in fact an FC Barcelona fan, but whichever team it is that you support, hats off and respect must be given to the most decorated team in UEFA Champions League history. Real Madrid has won more trophies than any other team, having won twice as many Champions League trophies as their rivals in second place. (That would be AC Milan, if you were curious.)

That concludes our list of the top 10 Fun Facts about Madrid. If this has inspired you to come visit then be sure to check out our Madrid Street Art experience. Come let Madrid's artistic spirit, vibrant nightlife, and natural splendour captivate your senses. From ancient wonders to modern marvels, Madrid is a true masterpiece, blending art, culture, and nature in perfect harmony. ¡Vamonos!

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