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Madrid doesn't have the traditional charm of Andalusia or the beauty of Barcelona, instead, it offers exciting atmosphere. An abundance of art museums and monuments will keep tourists too busy to take siestas.

The world-class Prado Museum displays an endless array of masterpieces created during the Golden Age of Spain, and the 18th-century Royal Palace rivals Versailles.

Full of energy and packed with cultural attractions, Madrid is a modern metropolis that offers a taste of the real Spain.

Wide avenues are congested with traffic, but beautiful parks break up the urban sprawl.

History buffs will want to visit the palace's Royal Armory, which contains 3,000 exhibits dating back to the 16th century.

This elegant 17th-century plaza was built during the reign of Philip III.

Besides being a hub of public transportation (with several bus stops and Metro entrances), the Puerta del Sol is also the "Kilometer Zero" point from which all distances on the Spanish national road network are measured.

The Puerta del Sol has been the scene of many historic events, including the Spanish resistance to Napoleon on May 2nd 1808, and in 1931, the Second Republic was proclaimed here.

Tourists will also appreciate the museum's gift shop and the café with a pleasant outdoor terrace.Still used for State ceremonies, the Throne Room is clad in sumptuous red velvet and decorated with valuable tapestries, mirrors, furniture, and chandeliers.Throughout the palace masterpieces of art decorate the walls: paintings by Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, El Greco, and Caravaggio, and exquisite Flemish and French tapestries.The Plaza Mayor was a center of commerce and municipal life as well as the scene of ceremonial events such as the proclamation of a new king and the canonization of saints.The square also served as a venue for bullfights, dramatic performances, and knightly tournaments.

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