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293
MADRID

rounded off; from east to west it measures rather less than from north to south. It was formerly surrounded by a poor wall, partly of brick, partly of earth, some 20 ft. in height, and pierced by five principal gates (puertas) and eleven doorways (portillos). Of these only three, the Puerta de Alcalá on the east, the Puerta de Toledo on the south and the Portillo de San Vicente on the west, actually exist; the first and the third were erected in the time of Charles III. (1759–1788), and the second in honour of the restoration of Ferdinand VII. (1827). The Manzanares—or rather its bed, for the stream is at most seasons of the year quite insignificant—is spanned by six bridges, the Puente de Toledo and Puente de Segovia being the chief.

The Puerta del Sol is the centre of Madrid, the largest of its many plazas, and the place of most traffic. It derived its name from the former east gate of the city, which stood here until 1570, and had on its front a representation of the sun. On its south side stands the Palacio de la Gobernacion, or ministry of the interior, a heavy square building by a French architect, J. Marquet, dating from 1768. From the Puerta del Sol diverge, immediately or mediately, ten of the principal streets of Madrid—eastward by north, the Calle de Alcalá, terminating beyond the Buen Retiro park; eastward, the Carrera de San Jeronimo, terminating by the Plaza de las Cortes in the Prado; southward, the Calle de Carretas; westward, the Calle Mayor, which leads to the council chamber and to the palace, and the Calle del Arenal, terminating in the Plaza de Isabel II. and the royal opera house; north-westward, the Calles de Preciados and Del Carmen; and northward, the Calle de la Montera, which afterwards divides into the Calle de Fuencarral to the left and the Calle de Hortaleza to the right. The contract for another wide street through central Madrid, to be called the Gran Via, was given to an English firm in 1905.

The Calle de Alcalá is bordered on both sides with acacias, and contains the Real Academia de Bellas Artes, founded in 1752 as an academy of art and music; its collection of paintings by Spanish masters includes some of the best-known works of Murillo. The handsome Bank of Spain (1884–1891) stands where the Calle de Alcalá} meets the Prado; in the oval Plaza de Madrid, at the same point, is a fine 18th-century fountain with a marble group representing the goddess Cybele drawn in a chariot by two lions. The Calle de Alcalá is continued eastward past the Buen Retiro gardens and park, and through the Plaza de Independencia, in the middle of which is the Puerta de Alcalá. The Plaza de las Cortes is so called from the Congreso de los Diputados, or House of Commons, on its north side. The square contains a bronze statue of Cervantes, by Antonio Sola, erected in 1835. The Calle de Carretas, on the west side of which is the General Post Office, ranks with the Carrera de San Jeronimo and Calle de la Montera for the excellence of its shops. From the Calle Mayor is entered the Plaza Mayor, a rectangle of about 430 ft. by 330 ft., formerly the scene of tournaments, bull fights, autos de fé, acts of canonization (including that of Ignatius Loyola in 1622) and similar exhibitions, which used to be viewed by the royal family from the balcony of one of the houses called the Panaderia (belonging to the guild of bakers). The square, which was built under Philip III. in 1619, is surrounded by an arcade; the houses are uniform in height and decoration. In the centre stands a bronze equestrian statue of Philip III., designed by Giovanni da Bologna, after a painting by Pantoja de la Cruz, and finished by Pietro Tacca. From the south-east angle of the Plaza Mayor the Calle de Atocha, one of the principal thoroughfares of Madrid, leads to the outskirts of the inner city; it contains two large hospitals and part of the university buildings (faculty of medicine). The house occupied by Cervantes from 1606 until his death in 1616 stands at the point where it meets the Calle de Léon; in this street is the Real Academia de la Historia, with a valuable library and collections of MSS. and plate. From the south-west angle of the Plaza Mayor begins the Calle de Toledo, the chief mart for the various woollen and silken fabrics from which the picturesque costumes peculiar to the peninsula are made. In the Plaza de Isabel II., at the western extremity of the Calle del Arenal, stands the royal opera-house, the principal front of which faces the Plaza del Oriente and the royal palace. In the centre of the plaza is a fine bronze equestrian statue of Philip IV. (1621–1665); it was designed by Velazquez and cast by Tacca, while Galileo is said to have suggested the means by which the balance is preserved. The gift of the grand duke of Tuscany in 1640, it stood in the Buen Retiro gardens until 1844.

Modern Development of the City.—The north and east of the city—the new suburbs—have developed past the Retiro Park as far as the Bull-ring, and have covered all the vast space included between the Retiro, the Bull-ring, the long Castellana Drive to the race-course and the exhibition building. On the slopes of the other side of the Castellana, and along what were the northern limits of Madrid in 1875, the modern suburbs have extended to the vicinity of the fine cellular prison that was built at the close of the reign of King Alphonso XII. to replace the gloomy building known as El Saladero.

The new parts of the capital, with their broad streets and squares, and their villas sometimes surrounded with gardens, their boulevards lined by rather stunted trees, and their modern public buildings, all resemble the similar features of other European capitals, and contrast with the old Madrid that has preserved so many of its traits in architecture, popular life and habits. Some of the streets have been slightly widened, and in many thoroughfares new houses are being built among the ugly, irregular dwelling-places of the 18th and earlier centuries. This contrast is to be seen especially in and about the Calle Mayor, the Plaza Mayor, the Calle de Toledo, the Rastro, and the heart of the city.

Few capitals have more extensively developed their electric and horse tramways, gas and electric light installations and telephones. Much was done to improve the sanitary conditions of the city in the last twenty years of the 19th century. The streets are deluged three times a day with fire-hose, but even that has little effect upon the dust. Unfortunately the water supply, which used to be famed for its abundance and purity, became wholly insufficient owing to the growth of the city. The old reservoir of the Lozoya canal, a cutting 32 m. long, and the additional reservoir opened in 1883, are quite inadequate for the requirements of modern Madrid, and were formerly kept in such an unsatisfactory state that for several months in 1898 and 1899 the water not only was on the point of giving out, but at times, was of such inferior quality that the people had recourse to the many wells and fountains available. The construction of new waterworks was delayed by a terrible accident, which occurred on the 8th of April 1905; the whole structure collapsed, and nearly 400 persons lost their lives in the flooded ruins. A decided improvement has been made in the burial customs of Madrid. No bodies are allowed to be interred in the churches and convents. Some of the older burial grounds in the northern suburbs have been closed altogether, and in those which remain open few coffins are placed in the niche vaults in the depth of the thick walls, as was once the practice. A large modern necropolis has been established a few miles to the north-east.

Principal Buildings.—As compared with other capitals Madrid has very few buildings of much architectural interest. The Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Atocha, on the Paseo de Atocha, a continuation of the Calle de Atocha, was originally founded in 1523. After being almost destroyed by the French, it was restored by Ferdinand VII., and rebuilt after 1896. The modern church is Romanesque in style; it contains a much venerated statue of the Virgin, attributed to St Luke. The collegiate church of San Isidro el Real, in the Calle de Toledo, dates from 1651; it has no architectural merit, but contains one or two valuable pictures and other works of art. It was originally owned by the Jesuits, but after their expulsion in 1769 it was reconsecrated, and dedicated to St Isidore the Labourer (d. 1170), the patron saint of Madrid, whose remains were entombed here. When the diocese of Madrid was separated from that of Toledo San Isidro was chosen as the cathedral. The modern Gothic church of San Jeronimo el Real occupies a conspicuous site eastward of the town. The church of San Francisco el Grande, which contains many interesting monuments, is also known as the National Pantheon. An act was passed in 1837 declaring that the remains of all the most distinguished Spaniards should be buried here; but no attempt to enforce the act systematically was made until 1869, and even then the attempt failed. Towards the close of the 19th century the church was splendidly restored at the expense of the state. Its interior was decorated with paintings and statuary by most of the leading Spanish artists of the time. Of secular buildings unquestionably the most important is the royal palace (Palacio Real), on the west side of the town, on rising ground overhanging the Manzanares. It occupies the site of the ancient Moorish alcázar (citadel), where a hunting seat was built by Henry IV.; this was enlarged and improved by Charles V. when he first made Madrid his residence in 1532; was further developed by Phillip II., but ultimately was destroyed by fire in 1734. The