She stands undaunted, defiant to the changing tides of political ideology and the wounds of an empire subdued by the patina of time. Her vitality is her people, coursing through her boulevards and plazas like blood rushing through veins, enlivening her with the strength to thrive and evolve. Where once there was the cold of fear and doubt, there now shines the golden warmth of pride. Where her flesh was punctured and scathed, her spirit has returned epic and mightily whole. Only a dynasty that has tasted the sweet fruits of a golden age only to swallow the bitter despair of isolation could rise like an indomitable phoenix and once again embody the cultural, economic and political icon that it was destined to be. She is her nation’s emboldened compass. She is a shrewd protagonist in the history of her continent. She is undeniably Madrid.
Located at the exact heart of the Iberian Peninsula and populated since the Paleolithic age, Madrid remains a magnificent global capital amongst her European counterparts. Vibrant, urban and dynamic, Madrid pays homage to her legendary ancestry while channeling modern ideals and hopeful ambition into developing a virile future for her people. Pristinely beautiful plazas and wide, tree lined boulevards, manicured public parks and the 17th century, balconied facades of exquisite civic buildings and apartments, are all stunning reminders of the majesty of such a culturally rich city. Neighborhoods that date back to the 1500’s, imposing squares like the Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Cibeles and Puerta del Sol, the Royal Palace and the Paseo del Arte are epic studies in the height of Baroque and Classical architecture set against a modern grid. Turn the corner and you are confronted with the blending of time and space, from art nouveau to expressionist and neoclassical to post-modern, memorialized in marble, concrete, iron and glass.
An appreciation for the arts, whether classic or avant-garde, has remained central to the Madrileño consciousness as evidenced by the city’s illustrious museums, particularly the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofia National Art Center. A celebration of culture and innovation has also remained a cornerstone of Madrid society with such wonderful examples as the Teatro Royal and the Cuatro Torres Business Area. A brazen and revolutionary gastronomic scene has further harnessed the creative energy of this bold city of visionaries and urban denizens. Exciting reinterpretations of classic Spanish dishes crafted with unlikely ingredients and presented in astonishingly inventive ways has elevated Madrid and Spain as a whole, into a new stratum of culinary brilliance.
To walk along Madrid’s imposing boulevards is to witness a thriving city of ideas and inspiration, thrusting its people into the promise of a progressive tomorrow while relishing the ingenuity, heroism and hard work of past generations. While observing the glowing faces of Madrileños as they passionately enjoy every facet of their city it no longer remains a question of why they fiercely love this plot of land once inhabited by bears and covered in wild strawberries, but rather, how could they not? How could anyone not?
About the author
Dejou Marano is Co-Founder of CountryBred and Founding Editor of The Bred Blog. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and Europe, Dejou seeks to bring the imagination and wonder of Europe to all travelers through her never-ending pursuit of undiscovered cultural gems and experiences, which she shares through her travel writing.
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