The area of present-day Madrid was settled during prehistoric times, as numerous finds from the Stone Age bear witness. The Moors gave the then insignificant town the name ‘Magerit’,
from which the name Madrid is derived.
For centuries Madrid stood in the shadow of Toledo. In 1083 Madrid was captured
by Alfonso VI and absorbed into the Christian kingdom. Under Henry II the town
was totally destroyed by fire. It was later rebuilt by Henry III who had himself
crowned in Madrid in 1390.
Henry IV turned the Moorish alcázar into his favourite residence and granted the town market rights. In 1474 Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile had the walls of Madrid destroyed.
Nevertheless, the royal couple made their ceremonial entry here in 1477.
In 1561 Philip II declared Madrid capital of the empire. Under Philip III monasteries, churches and hospitals were built and during the reign of Philip IV new buildings were constantly being constructed.
The Borbons demanded the further extension of the city. When they arrived to Madrid they did not like all they saw. The Royal Palace did not exist as we know it today, and the kingdom did not enjoy at the time the summer houses like La Granja. his was continued under Charles III in particular. From 1860 the outer suburbs were developed and were constantly being enlarged.
Madrid is today the city in Europe with more trees. Madrid parks are found everywhere: from the fantastic Retiro Park, to smaller parks, tourists find it easy to enjoy fresh air in Spain´s capital city.
Among the many attractions, you may be surprised to discover that Madrid soccer stadiums are amongst the favorites by locals and foreign visitors alike.