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Plaza Puerta del Sol


Plaza Puerta del Sol

The Plaza Puerta del Sol is named after a gate that stood on the eastern side of the square in the Middle Ages. Presumably there was a sun on it, hence the name. On that east side lies the oldest part of Madrid with narrow and winding streets. North of the square are shopping streets. Within walking distance of the square you will find many of Madrid's famous sights.

This oval-shaped square is one of the liveliest in Madrid. In the centre is a statue of King Carlos III looking at a beautiful red brick building, the former main post office. In front of that building is the zero point for the Spanish road network. From this point the distances are measured.

There is also a statue of a bear eating a fruit tree. Officially this statue is called El Oso y El Madroño, the madroño is a fruit that resembles the strawberry. For Madrilenians, this is a well-known meeting place. When someone says "I'll see you at the bear!", everyone knows where that is.

On New Year's Eve, the square is filled with people waiting for midnight. When the time comes, everyone eats 12 grapes, because that brings happiness in the new year. Followed by one or more sips of cava, Spanish champagne.