DOWNTOWN MADRID

Central Madrid began to take on its present appearance in the mid-19th century with the modernisation of Puerta del Sol. This busy intersection was the first to have electric street lighting, trams and, in 1919, Madrid’s first metro station. Meanwhile Calle de Alcalá was becoming the focal point of a new financial district as banks and other businesses set up their headquarters in showy new premises. Building work on the Gran Vía began in 1910 but was only completed in the 1940s with the remodelling of Plaza de España. To make way for this sweeping Parisian-style boulevard, 1,315 m (1,440 yds) long ...

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