Gran Via, Madrid - The Traveller


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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Gran Via, Madrid


Gran Via – Decorative & Upscale Shopping Street

Gran Via is a decorative and upscale shopping street which is located in central Madrid.The street presently is known as the Spanish Broadway and seems to be one of the streets that has more nightlife in Europe and is known as the street that never sleeps. It leads from Calle de Alcala close to Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza de Espana.

The lively street is the city’s most important shopping centre, comprising of a number of hotels and large movie theatres and is also famous for the grand architecture dominant among several of its building. Presently most of theatres are now being replaced by shopping malls. They are considered as a showcase of the early 20th century architecture with patterns that range from Vienna Secession style, Plateresque, Neo-Mudejar, Art Deco among various others.

What makes the street special is the architectural design of most of the buildings and while walking through this amazing street, ensure to look and admire the regularly lavishly decorated grand edificious. Towards mid-19th century, urban planners in Madrid decided to create a new thoroughfare connecting the Calle de Alcala with the Plaza de Espana. The project needed several building in the centre of the city to be demolished.

Created Buildings in Latest Architectural Styles

The construction had not started for years even after the first plans were made and the media derided the project sceptically calling it the `Gran Via’ or `Great Road’. Eventually in 1904, it was approved and the construction began a couple of years thereafter and the last section of the street was finally completed in 1929. This road gave rise to opportunities for architect who had the potential in creating large buildings in the latest architectural styles and the first appealing building started with the Calle de Alcala which is the most famous of them all, the Edificio Metropolis or Metropolis building.

After the design of architects Jules & Raymond Fevrier, the landmark was constructed between 1907 and 1911 and the original statue had been replaced in 1975 by a statue of a winged Goddess Victoria. Going further along the Gran Via towards the left area,is another landmark, the Edificio Grassy, another corner building with a small tower which was built in 1917.

Gran Via – The Calle de Princessa

One can see the tower of the Telefonica building, a skyscraper which was constructed between 1926 and 1929 for the Spanish telecommunication company,from the Edificio Grassy. The construction of 88m/290 ft. building was the largest in Madrid and would have been appropriate in Chicago. The architect of the Telefonica building was an American – Louis S. Weeks.

Walking further in the direction of the Plaza de Espana, the Gran Via crosses a small square known as the Plaza del Callao which is the heart of cinematic Madrid. It comprises of six movie theatres one of which, is the Capital, situated in an amazing Art Deco building.

The last section of the Gran Via was constructed between 1925 and 1929 and leads to the Plaza de Espana, which is a large square dominated by two skyscrapers that were built in 1950, namely the symmetric Edificio de Espana and the Torre de Madrid. It is here that the Gran Via tends to become the Calle de Princessa that leads to the north of the Arco de la Victoria.

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