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Centro is the central district of the city of Madrid, Spain. It is approximately 5.23 km² (2.02 sq mi) in size. It has a population of 149,718 people and a population density of 28,587/km² (74,040/sq mi).

Plaza del Callao
Plaza del Callao
Location of Centro
CountrySpain Spain
Aut. communityFlag of the Community of Madrid.svg Madrid
MunicipalityEscudo de Madrid.svg Madrid
 • Total5.23 km2 (2.02 sq mi)
 • Density28,587/km2 (74,040/sq mi)
Madrid district number1


The Centro district of Madrid is the oldest section of the city. Evidence of a stable settlement dates back to Spain's Muslim period. In the second half of the 9th century, the emir of Córdoba, Muhammad I (852–886), built a fortress on a promontory beside the river, the modern-day location of the Royal Palace. Its purpose was to watch the passes of the Sierra de Guadarrama and to initiate raids against the northern Christian countries. The remaining ruins of the fortress's wall are still preserved. A small suburb called Magerit developed to the east of the fortress. With the exception of the wall, few structures from this period remain.

The city passed into Christian hands in 1085, prospering into a villa by 1123. Philip II chose to place his court in Madrid in 1561, ensuring the swift evolution of the city. Many of the older buildings and monuments of the region known as El Madrid de los Austrias are from this period.

The city quickly surpassed the borders of the current Centro district; however, the majority of new monuments continue to be built in the area, including the Royal Palace and the Plaza de Cibeles. The Bourbon kings, especially Carlos III, fixated on converting Madrid into a city at the height of the new European villas, using Paris as a model. This resulted in huge investments in the infrastructure of the city, especially sewage and public buildings.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, with the arrival of democracy, the city continued to grow. The reign of Isabella II saw the construction of the Congress of Deputies building, in Puerta del Sol.

Centro currently houses the central government of the Community of Madrid, in Puerta del Sol. Until 2007, the City Council of Madrid was also located here, in Plaza de la Villa. At present it is located in Cybele Palace, in the district of Retiro.


The district is divided into several historic neighborhoods (barrios), including:

Administrative wardsEdit

Division of administrative wards in the Centro district

Administratively, the district is divided into 6 wards (also called barrios):

Places of InterestEdit


The Centro district holds celebrations for several local festivals: San Antón on 17 January, "Dos de Mayo" on 2 May, San Antonio on 13 June, and Virgen de la Paloma on 15 August.[1]

Centro is the location of many of Madrid's galleries, including the Reina Sofia Museum.

The area is ethnically diverse, with many immigrants from Africa and Latin America.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Centro: Fiestas". Centro - Ayuntamiento de Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 September 2015.

External linksEdit