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Monday, September 17, 2012 (read 334 times)
Madrid: Cityby Seun
The city of Madrid, geographically, economically, and administratively central to Spain is the capital of the homonymous uniprovincial Comunidad de Madrid and of course, it is the capital of the entire kingdom. With a population of 6.5 million (3.3 million excluding the metropolitan area of the city), Madrid is the 3rd most populated European city behind Berlin and London. Again, behind London but this time ahead of any German city, Madrid has also been rated as Europe’s 4th richest city which perhaps has something to do with the city’s patron, San Isidro Labrador, recognised for his charity to the poor.
Occasionally made the subject of the slanderous punter’s false critique, Madrid is sometimes accused of ‘lacking history’ for only receiving its importance in 1561 with the establishing of the royal court there. Acting as if those last five-hundred years count for nothing in relating history, such argument also entirely ignores Madrid’s existence during the period of Islamic Spain during which, in the 9th century, the emir Muhammad I raised a fortress at the city which, even then, was known as Madrid. There had for sometime been a misunderstanding that the Romans had once established themselves somewhere along the River Manzanares, close to where Madrid now stands, but recent understanding is that whilst there may have been some Roman country houses around the area which is now Madrid, there never was a Roman city there.
Madrid’s rather advantageous situation at the very centre of the Iberian peninsular is certainly a contributing aspect to what would eventually afford the city’s rise to importance. But, when considering the reason behind Felipe II’s relocation of the royal court from Toledo to Madrid in June 1561, we must consider, as well as its strategic advantages, Madrid’s more temperate climate, the expanse of nature surrounding it, and the beauty of the Moorish Alcázar that stood there. Of course, this development marks a very definitive moment in the edification of the city.
In a country of such ongoing development, it is of no surprise that its capital city Madrid, is plain full of interesting history. Sadly, 1734 saw the Royal Alcázar that had housed the Spanish monarchy and at one point also the Arab emirs go up in flames. Pitifully, what would have undoubtedly been a wonderful remnant no longer remains. But modern day Madrid more than makes up for this loss; it is a city currently just as alive as its history.
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