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Plaza Mayor, Madrid

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The Plaza Mayor (English Main Square) was once the center of Old Madrid[1], but today is the heart of Madrid, Spain. It was first built (1580–1619) during the Habsburg period of Philip III's reign. Only a few Spanish blocks away is another famous plaza, the Puerta del Sol. The Plaza Mayor is rectangular in shape and highlights the uniformity of the architecture. The Plaza measures 129 m x 94 m (423 ft x 308 ft). 237 balconies are present on the three-story residential buildings that face inward towards the Plaza. To enter or exit The Plaza Mayor, there are nine entrances to choose from[2].

Plaza Mayor of Madrid
Plaza Mayor de Madrid 06.jpg
LocationMadrid, Spain
Coordinates40°24′55″N 3°42′27″W / 40.415364°N 3.707398°W / 40.415364; -3.707398Coordinates: 40°24′55″N 3°42′27″W / 40.415364°N 3.707398°W / 40.415364; -3.707398
Official name: Plaza Mayor de Madrid
Reference no.RI-51-0005006
Plaza Mayor, Madrid is located in Madrid
Plaza Mayor, Madrid
Location of Plaza Mayor of Madrid in Madrid



Plaza Mayor with the Casa de la Panadería to the right

The origins of the Plaza go back to 1577 when Philip II asked Juan de Herrera, a renowned Classical architect, to discuss a plan to remodel the busy and chaotic area of the old Plaza del Arrabal. Juan de Herrera was the artist who designed the first project in 1560 to remodel the old Plaza del Arrabal but construction did not start until 1617, during Philip III's reign. The king asked Juan Gómez de Mora to continue with the project, and he finished the porticoes in 1619. Nevertheless, the Plaza Mayor as we know it today is the work of the architect Juan de Villanueva who was given the glorious, albeit difficult task of its reconstruction in 1790 after a series of enormous fires. Giambologna's equestrian statue of Philip III dates to 1616, but it was not placed in the centre of the square until 1848.


Ornate of the Plaza Mayor on the occasion of the entry of Charles III in Madrid. Oil painting of Lorenzo Quirós (1760). Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando.

The name of the plaza has changed over time. Originally it was called the "Plaza del Arrabal" but became known as the "Plaza Mayor".

In 1812, following a decree all the major plazas of Spain were renamed "Plaza de la Constitución", in honour of the Constitution of 1812. The plaza had this name until the restoration of the Borbón king in 1814 when it became known as the "Plaza Real". The plaza once again held the name "Plaza de la Constitución" in the periods from 1820 to 1823, 1833 to 1835, and 1840 to 1843.

In 1873, the name changed to "Plaza de la República", and then back to "Plaza de la Constitución" from the restoration of Alfonso XII in 1876 to the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in 1922. A proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic gave the plaza the name of "Plaza de la Constitución" until the end of the Spanish Civil War when the plaza was renamed the "Plaza Mayor", the name it bears to date.


1683 painting by Francisco Rizi depicting the auto-da-fé held in Plaza Mayor, Madrid in 1680.

The Plaza Mayor has been the scene of multitudinous events, during the Spanish Inquisition were practicated the autos de fe against supposed heretics and the executions of those condemned to death.


There is a bronze statue of King Philip III at the center of the square, created in 1616 by Jean Boulogne and Pietro Tacca.

Three sides of the Plaza Mayor


  1. ^ Escobar, Jesus (2004). The Plaza Mayor and the Shaping of Baroque Madrid. Cambridge, United Kingdom: The Press Syndicate of The University of Cambridge. p. 1. ISBN 978-0521111539.
  2. ^ James. "Plaza Mayor Square - Madrid Tourist Attractions". Retrieved 2018-11-06.

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