This is about the Spanish capital Madrid. For other entries, see Madrid (disambiguation).
Madrid is the capital of Spain. Built on the site of a Moorish fort called Magerit, Philip II of Spain chose it to replace Valladolid as the capital in 1561. (The capital returned to Valladolid during 1600-1606.) Due to this status, it grew into a flourishing city. Today it is culturally rivalled only by Barcelona.
Important cultural and tourist spots include the famous Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (where Pablo Picasso's Guernica hangs), the Casón del Buen Retiro, the Palacio Real, the Templo de Debod, the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, the Puerta del Sol, the Parque de Retiro, and the gay village of Chueca.
Other nearby towns are popular as day trips from Madrid, including Toledo, Segovia, Avila, Aranjuez, Alcalá de Henares, the monastery and palace complex of El Escorial, and the Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos.
Madrid is particularly noted for its nightlife and discotheques; it's not uncommon for madrileños to dance all night, head to the Chocolateria San Ginés for chocolate y churros at dawn, go home, shower, shave, and go to work. This nightlife, called la movida, flourished after the death of Franco.
Madrid is served by Barajas International Airport. Despite the city's population of some four million (the Madrilenians or madrileños), the Madrid metro is one of the most extensive and fastest-growing metro networks in the world.