Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sightseeing in Madrid

Photo Credit
After I was done crying over this, we crossed the street to the Cathedral (it’s real name: Santa María la Real de La Almudena)

Plans to build this church were discussed as early as the 16th century but the cost of expanding and keeping the Empire came first, so the Madrid Cathedral was postponed.

Construction officially began in 1879. It was designed and started in a Gothic revival style, and then construction completely ceased during the Spanish Civil War. It was abandoned until 1950 when plans were adapted to continue building in a baroque style. The cathedral was not completed until 1993. This is a huge on going joke I gathered on our walking tour; of how long things take to be built in Spain. Manana.

The Cathedral was very pretty, but as we walked around it, you could see the different architecture styles, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the grey and white façade. I think I will forever be changed by the Cologne Cathedral and assume anything called a “cathedral” should appear as so.

Right next-door is the Royal Palace or Palacio Real de Madrid. It is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, but is only used for state ceremonies. King Juan Carolos and the Royal Family do not live in the Palace, instead in a more modest Palace on the outskirts of Madrid. Many rooms of the are open to the public, but we did not go inside. The Palacio is 1.4 million square feet and has over 3,000 rooms. It is the largest Palace in Europe by floor area. Whoa, no wonder the royal family doesn’t live there, what a nightmare to clean.

We snapped a few shots from right outside, and then headed into Sabatini Gardens for some great views on a finally sunshine day! 

We snapped a few shots of the Palace from right outside, and then headed into Sabatini Gardens for some great views of the Palace on a finally sunshine day! 

Our next stop and just a staircase away was the Temple of Debod (Templo de Debod). It is an ancient Egyptian temple that was rebuilt in Madrid.

The temple was originally built south of Aswan in southern Egypt. Because of the construction of the Great Dam of Aswan in 1960, UNESCO made an international decision to save this historical legacy. As a sign of gratitude for the help provided by Spain in saving the temples of Abu Simbel, the Egyptian state donated the Temple of Debod to Spain in 1968.

The temple was neat. Clearly not Spanish, but fit into the landscape of Madrid nicely. I heard that this is one of the spots to come watch the sunset at night. While we didn’t do that here’s a picture of what that might look like. 

Photo Credit

A view looking off the ledge of the surrounding park and some of our daytime smartphone photos:

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