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The capital of Spain is found in the heart of the Castilian plain. A cosmopolitan city and centre for business. There is a population of over three million people. Headquarters for Public Administration, Government and also the Spanish Parliament. Madrid is the nucleus for both the banking and industrial sectors. Most of its industry is located in the Southern fringe of the city, where important textile, food and metal working factories are situated. Madrid is renowned for cultural fashions for men, women and children Also Spanish and international designers are abundant on the streets of Almirante and Conde de Xiquena.

In Madrid, as in the rest of Spain, the tapa is a savoury variety of dishes served as an appetizer and is an old gastronomic tradition. You can find numerous establishments which are specialists in serving these tapas in hundreds of bars scattered throughout the streets of Madrid accompanied by a small glass of wine or beer. Visitors must keep in mind the late dining hours. Most restaurants do not even open until eight or nine o'clock. Many night establishments are open until the early morning hours. Madrid's summer should really be divided into two, the pleasant summer and very-hot-summer. The former may not last all through June, and then begins again in mid to late August. A good time of year to visit Madrid, , when the street life is at its best. In July and most of August, the city simply gets very hot. The real problem with this time of the year in Madrid is that it doesn't cool down very much at night.

Must See in Madrid

The Prado Museum - This museum, which is free on Saturday afternoons and all day Sunday offers one of the best collections in Madrid with art by Goya, Velázquez and El Greco as well as masterpieces by French, Dutch, German and Italian artists.

Plaza Mayor - One of Europe's largest and most spectacular squares which has been the site of autos-de-fe (public burnings), executions, royal marriages, balls and bullfights.

Toledo - A short drive (71 km) outside of Madrid is Toledo which was founded by the Romans in 192 BC and captured by the moors in the 8th century - its alcazar (fortress) dominates the skyline. The maze of streets created by brick instead of stone according to Moorish taste provided for a famous centre of religion and learning. Its magnificent cathedral lies hidden amongst the houses and contains the most famous of El Greco works The Burial of Count Orgaz.

Events in Madrid

The 13th of June is the day of San Antonio when young girls have a date at the hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida. According to dressmakers' tradition, a single girl must place 13 pins in the baptismal font, and if one of the pins sticks to her finger, she will marry during the year.

Madrid Carnival - This carnival with parades and costume parties culminating on Ash Wednesday with the traditional burial of the Sardine, marks the beginning of Lent.

Fiestas de San Isidro - May 15th marks the start of the celebrations surrounding the month-long Fiesta honoring the patron saint of Madrid and this is seen as the most lively festival in Madrid.

Fiestas de San Lorenzo, San Cayetano and the Virgen de la Paloma - From the 6th to the 15th August there are celebrations in some of the outer districts of Madrid, with processions, open-air dancing, and sidewalk concerts in the park of the Vistillas and vicinity