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Madrid's main square

Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain

Practically the only visible bit of historic Madrid remaining is hidden just off Calle Mayor, This lovely, car-free, arcade-lined square dates largely to the 17th century, laid out by Philip II and the architect he had build El Escorial, Juan Herrera.

The most beautiful part of the square—the bit that ends up on all the postcards—is the gorgeously frescoed façade of the 1590 Casa Panadería. It's hard to imagine, as you sit at a (pricey) outdoor cafe table, that this plaza was the prime site where heretics were burned at the stake during the Spanish Inquisition.


Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in August 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.