In this article, travelers will find useful information about Madrid:
Madrid is the capital of Spain and is also known as Villa y Corte. It is the biggest city in the country and the third largest in the European Union with over 3 million inhabitants (more than 6 million in its metropolitan area).
Madrid is known as the city of the "Bear and the Strawberry Tree" (villa del Oso y el Madroño). The nickname comes from the mid thirteenth century, which according to the legend is a result of a dispute between the Council and the clergymen of the city's parishes about the right to certain forests and fields. It was resolved by agreeing that the forests belonged to the Council and the meadows to the clergymen. To commemorate the agreement, the Council added a Strawberry tree to the shield of the municipality with a black bear leaning on its trunk.
The Government’s headquarters, the Cortes and the official residence of the Kings of Spain are all located in Madrid.
In financial terms, Madrid houses the headquarters of numerous international and national companies. The capital is also a haven of culture, with world-famous museums such as the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofía Museum.
Madrid has been the capital of Spain since mid-sixteenth century, when Philip II transferred the capital form Toledo to Madrid. During five years, it was moved to Valladolid (1601 to 1606) and then returned to Madrid.
Madrid’s inhabitants are called “madrileños” or “matritense” (in English Madrileans). In the past, the city’s residents were also called “gatos” (cats). This popular nickname dates back to the medieval times, when the city was conquered by Alfonso VI. To get over the walls, the soldiers had to climb like cats and since then have been given this name.