To the south of Plaza de la Cibeles , Paseo del Prado boulevard departs, which is often called the “Boulevard of the Arts”. Three of the most famous museums in Madrid are located here. First of all, this is the El Prado Museum – one of the most important art galleries in the world. The museum was founded in the early 19th century by the wife of Ferdinand VII, Maria Isabella of Braganza, and now contains works of art from major European schools from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. The museum complex includes the central building – the Palace of De Villanueva, in front of which there is a statue of the painter Velazquez, and a branch of Cason del Buen Retiro. The Palace of De Villanueva presents works by Spanish masters (Goya, Murillo, Velazquez, El Greco, Ribera), Italian masters (Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, Tintoretto), Dutch masters (Rembrandt, Bosch, Brueghel), Flemish masters (Rubens) and German masters (Dürer). The Casón del Buen Retiro branch contains works by English and French painters, as well as collections of sculptures, porcelain, coins and jewels.
According to Securitypology, the El Prado Museum is surrounded by two extensive parks – the Retiro and the Botanical Garden of Real Jardin Botanico. The Retiro Park is one of the largest parks in Madrid., its area exceeds 100 hectares. The park was laid out near the royal palace that has not survived to this day in the middle of the 17th century as a place for the royals to relax. On its territory you will see numerous sculptures, fountains and greenhouses. Also of interest here are two palaces of the late 19th century: the Glass Palace made of glass and the Palace of Velázquez, which serve as exhibition halls. On the territory of the park there is a large artificial lake surrounded by a colonnade dedicated to the Spanish king Alfonso XII. There are boat rentals by the lake. On weekends, especially on Sundays, Retiro Park is crowded with city residents who go here to relax. South of the El Prado Museum is the Real Jardin Botanico Botanical Garden.. The garden was created in the 18th century under the direction of the Italian architect Francesco Sabatini. Today, plants from 5 continents of the globe are represented on 10 hectares of the botanical garden, in total more than 30 thousand plants.
Not far from the Botanical Garden is the most famous museum of modern art in Madrid – Reina Sofia Art Center. The museum is housed in an 18th-century building that previously housed a hospital. Here are the works of artists from Spain and other countries of the 20th and 21st centuries, including works by Picasso, Dali, Miro and Gris.. It is located in the Villahermosa Palace in the central part of the boulevard near Neptune Square, on which stands the Neptune Fountain of the 18th century. The museum is named after Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, whose private collection was considered one of the largest in the world; it was acquired by the Spanish authorities at the end of the 20th century and formed the basis of the museum collection. The museum presents works of art from different times and peoples: from the religious art of the Middle Ages to the works of masters of the 21st century.
From the Plaza de la Cibeles, in addition to the Paseo del Prado Boulevard, the Recoletos Boulevard originates, on which the Columbus Square is located (Plaza de Colon). The square was named after the great traveler who discovered America. In 1885, on the 400th anniversary of the discoveries of Christopher Columbus, a monument was erected here, which is a high column on which stands a statue of Christopher Columbus, whose hand points to the West. The monument is surrounded by a cascade of fountains. Near Columbus Square you can see an impressive building of the 19th century. The National Archaeological Museum is located here, the exhibits of which tell about the history of the country from prehistoric times to the 19th century, and the National Library – the largest library in Spain, which contains unique handwritten texts. Nearby is Jardins-Discubrimiento Park.
Be sure to go for a walk along the busiest street in Madrid – Gran Vía Avenue. Along it are buildings of the early 20th century, which housed hotels, banks, theaters, cinemas, shops, restaurants and bars. Gran Via Avenue leads to Plaza Españalocated in the vicinity of the Sabatini park ensemble near the Royal Palace. The central part of the square is occupied by a monument dedicated to the Spanish writer Cervantes. In front of the monument are bronze sculptures of the most famous heroes of his works – Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Also on the square there is a small park and a fountain, and two skyscrapers rise in its vicinity – the 142-meter Torre de Madrid (once the tallest building in Western Europe) and the 117-meter Edificio España.