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A variety of styles combine to make Madrid a joy to explore. Throughout the architecture, see Moorish and Neoclassical influences. Around every city corner, be wowed by modern and avant-garde looks. And when the sun goes down, take in a classical theater performance or party like a rock star at an all-night disco.
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After your first gulp of icy mountain air, the next thing likely to strike
you is the vast, cerulean, cumulus-clouded sky immortalized in the paintings of
Velázquez. "De Madrid al cielo" ("from Madrid to heaven") goes the saying, and the
heavens seem just overhead at the center of the 2,120-foot-high Castilian plateau.
"High, wide, and handsome" might aptly describe this sprawling conglomeration of ancient
red-tile rooftops punctuated by redbrick Mudéjar churches and gray-slate roofs and
spires left by the 16th-century Habsburg monarchs. Madrid has burst back onto the world
stage with an energy redolent of its 16th-century golden age, when painters and
playwrights swarmed to the flame of Spain's brilliant royal court. A vibrant crossroads
for Iberia and the world's Hispanic peoples and cultures, the Spanish capital has an
infectious appetite for art, music, and epicurean pleasure.
Content provided by Fodor's Travel. ©2014 by Fodor's Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.