Madrid is the capital of the modern Spanish state, a cosmopolitan
city located roughly in the center of the country. The city
acquired its European quality during the 17th century and beyond,
when Spain was at the peak of its confidence and power. The
name of the city, however, hints at its Arabic roots: "Madrid"
comes from "al-majrit," meaning "the water channel."
The Andalusis were famed for their irrigation practices, and
a small Muslim settlement located in the border regions between
Islamic and Christian Spain bore the name referring to this
quality. Al-Majrit was lost to the Muslims at the time when
the great city of Toledo was surrendered to the Christians in
Our tour begins and ends in Madrid. Cumulatively, you will have
several days to explore the city. We will visit the old city,
containing remnants of Muslim era monuments, and the newer areas
of the city which demonstrate impressive architecture and design.
You will have a chance to become acquainted with Spanish cuisine,
and stroll along the boulevards of the city.
We will visit some or all of the following places. You may
wish to spend more time at the following points of interest:
- the Plaza Mayor, a large enclosed square with restaurants
and cafes. In past times, it was a site of Inquisition proceedings,
bullfights, tournaments and festivals.
- the Cibeles fountain and other fountains around the city,
plus other monumental architecture such as the Central Post
- the Gran Via, Madrid's major street lined with boutiques,
cinemas, cafes etc.
- the world famous Prado Museum, housing over 7,000 paintings.
Contains many famous works of Spanish masters Velazquez, Goya,
El Greco, and Murillo, plus works of other famous European
- the Reina Sofia Museum, where Pablo Picasso's famous
painting Guernica is on display.
- the Plaza Monumental de Toros de las Ventas, the the major
bullfighting arena in Madrid.