|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
|District of Madrid|
Plaza del Callao
|• Total||5.23 km2 (2.02 sq mi)|
|• Density||28,587/km2 (74,040/sq mi)|
|Madrid district number||1|
Centro is the central district of the city of Madrid, Spain. It is approximately 5.23 km² (2.02 sq mi) in size. It has a population of 149,718 people and a population density of 28,587/km² (74,040/sq mi).
The Centro district of Madrid is the oldest section of the city. Evidence of a stable settlement dates back to Spain's Muslim period. In the second half of the 9th century, the emir of Córdoba, Muhammad I (852–886), built a fortress on a promontory beside the river, the modern-day location of the Royal Palace. Its purpose was to watch the passes of the Sierra de Guadarrama and to initiate raids against the northern Christian countries. The remaining ruins of the fortress's wall are still preserved. A small suburb called Magerit developed to the east of the fortress. With the exception of the wall, few structures from this period remain.
The city passed into Christian hands in 1085, prospering into a villa by 1123. Philip II chose to place his court in Madrid in 1561, ensuring the swift evolution of the city. Many of the older buildings and monuments of the region known as El Madrid de los Austrias are from this period.
The city quickly surpassed the borders of the current Centro district; however, the majority of new monuments continue to be built in the area, including the Royal Palace and the Plaza de Cibeles. The Bourbon kings, especially Carlos III, fixated on converting Madrid into a city at the height of the new European villas, using Paris as a model. This resulted in huge investments in the infrastructure of the city, especially sewage and public buildings.
Centro currently houses the central government of the Community of Madrid, in Puerta del Sol. Until 2007, the City Council of Madrid was also located here, in Plaza de la Villa. At present it is located in Cybele Palace, in the district of Retiro.
The district is administratively divided into 6 barrios, or wards:
Places of Interest
Other significant neighborhoods in the district are:
- Puerta del Sol
- Royal Palace of Madrid
- Plaza Mayor
- La Gran Vía
- Plaza de España
- Plaza de Colón
- Paseo del Prado
- Plaza de Cibeles
- Plaza de Santa Ana
- Barrio de La Latina
- El Madrid de los Austrias
- Media related to Centro district, Madrid at Wikimedia Commons
- (Spanish) Distrito Centro on madrid.es