Madrid, as you surely know, is the capital of Spain and is the largest city in this country. Madrid geography is simple to remember since it is located on the Manzanares River in the region of New Castle, close to the geographic center of Spain. You have no problem with the climate here in case you plan to visit this city because winters are fairly cold and rainy while summers are normally quite hot and dry.
The Geography of Madrid
You would surely love to tour here in Madrid if you love to see preserved habitats and landscapes; you can see a lot of them here. Basically, the geography of Madrid comprises low-lying plains, mountains, and Holm oaks.
Madrid is also for you if you love to explore forests. You can visit the Guadarrama slopes to see dense forests that cloak the area of Pyrenean oak and Scot’s pine. You may also go to the Valle de Lozoya if you would like to see a colony of great black monk vulture including the large flocks of the Spanish Imperial Eagle, which is located at the Park Regional del Suroeste.
Magnificent Spots in the Geography of Madrid
Madrid geography presents a lot of magnificent spots reason why this is often the destination of many vacationers in and out of the country. It features a number of attractive and historical squares too like the Plaza Mayor and Great Plaza, which were previously the site of bullfights and other celebrations.
You may also go to the Plaza del Sol, the meeting place of numerous busiest streets here in Madrid. When you come here, you can also go beneath the plaza to see the chief transport point of the subway system. As well, you can catch memorable photos in the most outstanding landmarks of this city, the Royal Palace, where the monument of Philip V stands.
More Outstanding Locations in Madrid
There are more locations here in Madrid that you can visit like parks. One park that you will surely love to visit is the Parque Del Retiro near the Prado. This park is one of the most notable parks here in Madrid that was constructed as the foundation of a royal palace in the 17th century.
If you like to experience another side of Madrid apart from the place where the artistry lies, you may also go to its flea market, El Rastro. Here, you can buy different sorts of goods like antiques. Apparently, Madrid geography beholds both scenic views and spots that are catchy both in the eyes of many tourists and its dwellers.
According to Madrid history, it actually became Spain’s capital mostly because of its location. Around 1561, Philip II wanted a symbol to unify the nation. But he needed somewhere central so communications can be faster. And everything is history since then. What you see now is a lively and modern city.
Palacio Real and Prado Museum
You’ll see Madrid history today though. You see it in the structures and architecture in Madrid. You will appreciate each structure as you learn the history behind each of them. So, you should find time to learn it as you marvel over its great architecture.
Palacio Real (Address: Plaza de Oriente, Near the Plaza Mayor & Puerta del Sol/ Phone: 91-454-87-00), for example, is one of the popular places you should visit while in Madrid. It was built during the reign of the Bourbons in the 18th century. A former residence of kings, this regal structure is just breathtaking to look at.
You will enjoy looking at the nicely decorated rooms. For sure, you’ll love the numerous paintings and sculptures there too. The furniture, the tapestries, and even the musical instruments are one of a kind. You’ll also enjoy looking at the glassware and the gold and silverware at the palace.
Prado Museum (Address: Paseo del Prado/ Phone: 91-330-28-00) represents not just culture but history as well. Being one of the greatest art galleries in the world, it is a must-see for you. You’ll surely be dazzled by the masterpieces of the world’s renowned painters and sculptors. You’ll see the works of the likes of Goya, Velasquez, Rubens, Raphael, and Bosch.
The War, Rebuilding Madrid and Madrid Today
Madrid history will tell you that the city was on the rise to developing into an urban city in the 20th century. This was all destroyed during the Spanish civil war in 1930 though. Nevertheless, rebuilding the city was initiated through the modernization model. Madrid surged on to the challenge and never looked back since. Democracy reigned and along with that Madrid grew into what it is today.
Because of the successful rebuilding of the city, you can now enjoy the cafes all around the city. You can laze the afternoon on the street sipping coffee and sampling some delicacies. You can also spend your whole morning and afternoon shopping in modern commercial centers. Just don’t forget to go into the greatest restaurants or grab a quick bite on the streets at lunch.
After lunch when shops are generally closed in Madrid, it’s time to head to the Madrid museums. Come evening, it’s not time to stop yet. Start with some traditional tapas and beers. If you’re still game for it, you can head to the bars and clubs where the parties are at.
Madrid religion is a major thing. Well, more than 90% of Madrid’s population is Catholic. So it’s quite expected that Catholicism is widely practiced as the Madrid religion. This is quite evident when you examine their holidays, festivals and other activities.
While the religion was quite conservative centuries ago, you will also observe some amount of liberalization among the people in Madrid today. With modernization, people learned to integrate what they call fun today with religious practices.
Fiesta de San Isidro
You will notice that the name of the festival itself is very Catholic already. Visit Madrid in May and you’ll certainly enjoy this week-long celebration. San Isidro is the city’s patron saint and the whole Madrid honors him during this festival.
This festival is known for the “Toros” where there are 30 days of bullfighting. All the world’s greatest bullfighters come to Madrid for this occasion. So, it’s really fun to watch.
If you are into rock music, you should not miss the Universidad Premio de Rock. It’s actually an awards event for rock music. But you will enjoy the day-long rock concert which is usually participated by the world’s best rock groups.
The Festival of Urban Culture is also held during this week. You get to enjoy a wide range of activities from skateboarding, BMX bicycling to art shows, photography, and graffiti. Of course, you will not run out of more concerts to watch.
During this joyous yet religious occasion, you have a choice between enjoying it with alcohol or enjoying it with simple churros and barquillos sold by the street vendors all day and all night long.
The Semana Santa or the Holy Week
Of course, being predominantly Catholic Madrid also celebrates the holy week. If you are there in time for the Semana Santa, Good Thursday and Good Friday are public holidays. You will be able to observe how Madrid commemorates the death of Jesus. Being such, you will see the solemn side of the celebrations in Madrid.
You will see numerous processions as a part of this celebration. Most of the Madrileños would be in prayer especially as Good Friday draws near. But it’s a celebration come Easter as well. This is because Easter Sunday represents the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
All Saints Day and Feast of the Virgin of Almudena
Well, if you find yourself in Madrid on All Saints Day, you’ll observe people remembering their departed. They will bring flowers to their graveyards and most attend mass as well. But that’s generally it for this public holiday.
On the other hand, the Feast of the Virgin of Almudena is actually the feast of the Virgin Mary. There would be a mass in her honor at the Catedral Almudena. Most people eat out on this occasion so expect more people in the restaurants on that day.
There are more public holidays that are related to the predominant Madrid religion. In fact, a majority of them are feast days. This only goes to show how overwhelmingly Catholic Madrid is.
If you are planning to take a flight to Madrid for a vacation, don’t you think it would pay if you are going to orient yourself a little about the Spanish government? Certainly, knowing the government here will give you some idea of what to expect in this city and give you more understanding about the behavior of including some proceedings in certain places here as well.
Basic Facts about the Government
The government in this city is composed of a mayor with 52 members of the city council called the Pleno or plenary. You can find their City Hall in the Plaza de la Villa, which is located in the colonial section of Madrid.
Also, the Mayor including the city members stands for three parties: Spanish Socialist Workers Party or Partido Socialista Obrero Español; Popular Party or Partido Popular; and United Left or Izquierda Unida. The Popular Party controls the governing committee.
So, how will you know if you are in Madrid? Well, spotting for their flag is one indication that you have landed in the right place. But of course, you need to know how their flag looks like for you to recognize it? This is only easy to note, all you have to do is to spot for a flag with three horizontal bands of red on its top with yellow in double-width and red presenting the national coat of arms on the elevated side of the yellow band.
More Details about Government in Madrid
As a first-timer visitor of this city, you might be wondering about the Spanish government such as its type. It isn’t actually democratic and definitely not communistic. The type of government they have is a parliamentary monarchy headed by a monarch.
According to some reviews, what’s so amazing about the government here in Madrid is its intolerance for any civil war even before when Spain had an unfavorable political condition. There are still a lot more things you can know about the government here in Madrid once you come to this land and speak to the people in this place. This will be easy for you if you are the type of person who has a social conscience, you will know how to mingle with people and talk about the kind of government they are currently having.
Government Buildings in Madrid
Certainly, you will love to see the buildings of the Spanish government in Madrid; their constructions are too different from the west so you should feel excited to see the concept of their architecture. One of the magnificent buildings that you can see here is the Congreso de Los Diputados. There are still lots, try to inquire for more once you get in this place or by you may also search for more information online.
Madrid attracts an increasingly large population of ex-pats. They choose the city as their new home because of great employment opportunities, the relatively inexpensive cost of living, the social and cultural side of life, and the good standard of living.
There is an awful lot going for Spain’s capital, which probably explains why almost 10% of its population is composed of international people. For one, the cost of living in Madrid is much lower than in other capitals in Europe such as London and Paris. The cost of public transport, dining out, entertainment, and clothing are rather affordable, making Madrid very fun to live in.
One advantage of living in this vibrant capital is the availability of quality medical and educational facilities. Madrid has international schools that cater to American, British, French, German, and even Irish students. Many international schools in the city are world-renowned. In terms of healthcare, it is home to some of the best professionals and facilities in Spain.
All this together makes Madrid a great city to find work. As an English-speaking expatriate, you will be able to find work as an English teacher, even as a complement to other activities that you develop.
If you are searching for an exhilarating city to live, a place that can nourish your senses, then Madrid is for you. It is home to everything from world-class art galleries and museums too numerous cinemas, theaters, exhibition halls, leisure centers, sports centers, malls, and parks.
So, are you seriously considering relocating to Madrid? A good idea is to first visit the city for two weeks or more, spend time in the suburbs, get to know the people, the best areas to work and live, and what activities the city offers outside of work. Decide only when you have formed a full picture of Madrid, after weighing the advantages and disadvantages of living in Madrid.
Study in Madrid
Many ex-pat students in Madrid attend international schools. Many international schools encourage ex-pat families to enlist their children well before the beginning of the school calendar. Children are better off with international schools because they have more experience in educating students who have formerly studied different curricula.
If you want to catch a glimpse of the popular picture of ex-pat education in Spain, watch the 2002 film, L’Auberge Espagnole. It provides a realistic account of foreign students adapting to the Spanish way of life, as well as the courtesies and cultural norms imposed in an entirely different culture.
The only schools in Madrid that use English as the medium of instruction are international and foreign private schools. Numerous multilingual international schools in the city also teach students in both Spanish and English. If you decide to send your children to regular schools, make sure that they speak Spanish as these schools will require them to study their subjects in Spanish. The International Baccalaureate (IB) may be an option if your family travels to many different countries, or if you simply want your children to have access to a more advanced educational model.
Here are some of the best schools in Madrid that use English as the medium of instruction:
- Colegio San Patricio Madrid (Address: Serrano, 208 28002 Madrid / Phone: +34 91 563 35 58)
- Colegio Base (Address: Camino Ancho, 10, La Moraleja Alcobendas, Madrid / Phone: +34 91 650 0494)
- International College Spain (Address: C/Vereda Norte, #328100 Alcobendas Madrid / Phone: 34 91 650 2398)
- International Primary School (Address: Rosa Jardon 3 28016 Madrid / Phone: +34 91 803 4800)
- Juventud y Cultura (Address: C/ Alcala 42, 5a. 13-14 8014 Madrid / Phone: +34 91 531 2886)
- Numont School (Address: Calle Parma 16 28043 Madrid / Phone: +34 91 300 2431)
- The English Montessori School (Address: Avda La Salle S/N. 28023 Aravaca Madrid / Phone: +34 91 357 2667)
- American School of Madrid (Address: Apdo. 80 28080 Madrid / Phone: +34 91 740 1900)
- Evengelical Christian Academy (Address: Talia 26 28022 Madrid / Phone:+34 (0)91 7412900)
- British Council School of Madrid (Address: Solano, prado de Somasaguas Pozuelo de Alarcon 23223 Madrid / Phone: +34 91 337 3612)
- King’s College Madrid (Address: Paseo de los Andes, Soto de Vinuelas 28761 Madrid / Phone: +34 91 803 4800)
- Runnymede College (Address: Calle Salvia, 30 28109 La Moraleja / Phone: +34 (0)91 650 8302 / Fax:+34 (0)91 6508236 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The British Kindergarten (Address: c/Lopez Santos No. 1 Ctra de la Cornua Km 17 28230 las Rosas Madrid / Phone: +34 91 637 0127)
When you live in Madrid, the law requires you to register with your community’s padrón, the official record of the people who live in a community and is one way to accredit or verify your stay in Madrid. By law, everyone who resides in Spain should be registered in the community where they live. This process is known as empadronamiento.
In practice, this process is your key to becoming a true blue resident of your Madrid community. You can apply either as an individual or as a family. You should register with your local Padron to get numerous benefits.
When you get empadronado, you are considered an official member of your community. This is one of your first steps to integration into Madrid. The empadronamiento also is the way that your residence or stay or residence in the city is verified, a necessity for various administrative procedures.
Generally, you will need a certificado de empadronamiento in Madrid for the following: enrolling your children in local academic institutions, getting married, applying for a local health card, voting, applying for certain visas, and applying for residency by means of a general amnesty.
The city receives government money to provide services to every person living within its jurisdiction. This means if you are empadronado, the city gets money to provide your services. For this reason, registration with the padrón is very confidential.
Getting empadronado in Madrid
Getting registered is a question of gathering together all the required documents and filling out a form. Considering the overwhelming amount of bureaucracy needed for other official procedures, the process of empadronamiento is quite painless.
Once you have the documents with you and complete the form, it may take you about an hour to wait in line at your local junta in Madrid, have your application processed, and get the volante de empadronamiento.
You can apply in person. You may also want to apply on the Internet or by phone, depending on where your place of residence is.