The plaza was built in different stages. During the fifteenth century, La Puerta del Sol was originally one of the gates of the city wall and three centuries later, mid-eighteenth century, the Casa de Correos was established. Finally, between 1857 and 1862, the architects Lucio del Valle, Juan Rivera and José Morer gave it its difinitive form. During the twentieth century, the fountain was placed in the centre of the square and part of it was pedestrianised.
Points of interest
The Puerta del Sol houses three well-known symbols of Madrid:
- El Oso y el Madroño (Statue of the Bear and Strawberry Tree): At the entrance of Calle Alcalá is a sculpture of a bear and strawberry tree, representing the coat of arms of Madrid. It was built in 1967 and is a popular meeting point for locals and tourists in Sol.
- Real Casa de Correos (House of the Post Office): The Real Casa de Correos contains the famous clock that, since 1962, has marked the eating of the twelve grapes (a Spanish new year tradition whereby a grape is eaten with each chime of the clock) on new years’ eve.
- Kilometre Zero (KM 0): The Kilometre 0 is located on the pavement in front of the Real Casa de Correos. It marks the point from which the distances in Madrid are measured.
Several important events have taken place in Puerta del Sol such as the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931 and recently, in 2011, the 15-M Movement, a vast demonstration for Spanish democracy.