Central and bustling, the Plaza de la Puerta del Sol is one of the emblems of Madrid. In its semicircular plant converge several of the most historic and busiest streets of the city, such as Mayor, Arenal, Alcalá or Preciados, and it concentrates several of the most representative elements of this city.

  • In La Puerta del Sol, the so-called Kilometer Zero of the country’s radial roads has been located since 1950.
  • The oldest building of the Puerta del Sol is the Post Office and it highlights the tower clock that was built and donated in the nineteenth century by José Rodríguez de Losada, and whose chimes at 12 o’clock on the night of December 31 they mark the traditional taking of the twelve grapes to the great majority of Spaniards. Those bells began to televise in 1962 in the 1 of the TVE, and as of that year it has not stopped broadcasting by diverse television channels.

Points of interest

In the Puerta del Sol you will find three well-known places at national level:

  • Statue of the Bear and the Madroño: at the entrance of Calle Alcalá, we find the statue of the symbol of Madrid: El Oso y el Madroño. It was built in 1967 and is one of the most popular meeting points.
  • The Post Office Clock: known throughout Spain for being the place where the year-end bells are broadcast since 1962. In the Puerta del Sol thousands of people gather every year to eat the grapes and celebrate the new year .
  • Kilometer Zero: point where the Spanish radial roads begin. It is signposted and tourists do not leave Madrid without their photo on it.
Kilometro 0, origen de las carreteras radiales de España
Kilometro 0, Puerta del Sol | Photo by @OtaruPhotos

A little history

Puerta del Sol was originally one of the entrances to the fence that surrounded Madrid in the 15th century. This fence collected in its perimeter the medieval suburbs that had been growing outside the walls, around the Christian wall of the twelfth century. The name of the door comes from a sun that adorned the entrance, placed there because the door is facing east. Among the buildings that gave him prestige at the beginning was Church of Buen Suceso and San Felipe el Real.

Although from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries the door was important as a meeting place, it was not a defined square, like the Plaza Mayor, and occupied half of the current space. The Post Office was built by the French architect Jaime Marquet between 1766 and 1768; It was subsequently the Ministry of the Interior (Interior) and General Directorate of State Security during the Franco era and, currently, is the seat of the Presidency of the Community of Madrid. It will be this Post Office that will begin to lay the foundations of what is now the Puerta del Sol and its growing importance as a central point of Madrid. After the conversion of the post office in the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior (1847), it is decided to demolish some houses in the area to enhance the building and give security. The result would be the creation of a large square.

Estatua Carlos III
Estatua Carlos III, / Photo by Pixabay

In 1959 it was renovated by Manuel Herrero Palacios incorporating a garden area and fountains in its center. In 1986 the architects Antonio Riviere, Javier Ortega and Antón Capitel introduced a new reform, acquiring more importance the pedestrian zone. The lampposts installed for this remodeling, were popularly nicknamed as suppositories and caused great controversy due to its modern design. Finally, they were replaced by the current “Fernandino” lampposts, although in the two central posts of the square the suppositories survived a few more years, to be unified a few years later with those of the rest of the square.

Between 2004 and 2009 the construction of a transport interchange was carried out, inaugurated on June 27, 2009, which brings the railway network of Cercanías to the underground station of Sol. The station has become the largest in terms of its size. of the world with 28 m of depth, 207 m of length and 20 m of width. Its lobby has 7500 m². The entrance to the intercom, similar to an igloo, has changed the appearance of the Puerta del Sol.

Cartel publicitario de Tio Pepe
Publicidad Tio Pepe / Photo by Pixabay

Useful / Tourist Information

Address Plaza Puerta del Sol, 28013 Madrid. MAP
How to get Metro
Sol (L1, L2, L3)
3, 50, 51
Train / Cercanías