Situated in the centre of Spain on a high plain by the river Manzanares, Madrid is the country’s capital and the capital of the autonomous region of Madrid. The Puerta del Sol gate marks the epicentre of both Madrid and Spain from where all distances are measured.
Madrid was originally an insignificant Moorish town called Majrit, built around an alcázar (castle) situated on a plateau overlooking the river. Majrit was captured by the king of Castille and León, Alfonso VI, in 1083. The Moors continued to live in Madrid until the end of the Spanish Riconquista in 1492. Until then they were grouped together in the Moreria, an area that still holds this name. Although various monarchs passed through the city and a cortes was first summoned in Madrid in 1309, the town did not come into prominence until the sixteenth century. In 1561 Felipe II made Madrid the site of the única corte and the seat of government.
Madrid became the capital of Spain and the Spanish Empire. It...