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Art and Culture in Madrid

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Spain
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Royal Palace of Madrid
Madrid's Royal Palace was built in the 18th century by order of Philip V on the site of the old Alcázar fortress, a former Moorish castle. Sachetti began the works in 1738, and the building was completed in 1764. Sabatini designed the southeast wing and the great staircase, or staircase of honour. It has a square floor plan with a large central courtyard. The Puerta del Príncipe gateway on the east side gives access to the central courtyard. The Sabatini and Campo del Moro Gardens are among the Palace's other attractions, as well as its several different façades. There is some debate as to its artistic style; it is thought by some experts to belong more to the Baroque, and by others to the Neo-classical style. Of particular note among its numerous rooms are the Royal Guards' Room, the Columns Room, the Hall of Mirrors and King Charles III's room. It also contains paintings by Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, El Greco and Caravaggio.
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Prado Museum
This gallery in Madrid has the most complete collection of Spanish painting from 11th-18th centuries, and numerous masterpieces by great universal artists such as El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Bosch, Titian, Van Dyck and Rembrandt. The quality and variety of its collection makes the Prado one of the world's best-endowed museums. It combines a first-class collection of Spanish painting, the most important works of the Flemish and Italian schools, and various fine examples of the German, French and English schools. It is home to numerous masterpieces of universal art such as Las Meninas by Velázquez, the two Majas by Goya, Nobleman with his hand on his chest by El Greco, the Garden of Delights by Bosch, and The Three Graces by Rubens, among other priceless pieces. Although the museum was created to house primarily works of painting and sculpture, it also contains major collections of drawings, engravings, coins and medals, as well as items of clothing and decorative art.
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Puerta De Alcala Gate
This is one of the most well-known monuments in Madrid. Built between 1769 and 1778 under the orders of King Carlos III, it was designed by Francisco Sabatini and erected as a triumphal arch to celebrate the arrival of the monarch at the capital. The granite gate is 19.5 metres tall and is elegant and well-proportioned. The façade features a number of decorative elements with groups of sculptures, capitals, reliefs and masks, among others.
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Cibeles Fountain
Built in 1782, the Cibeles Fountain has been standing in this emblematic square since 1895. One of the city’s most famous landmarks, it depicts Cybele, the Great Mother and Roman goddess of fertility, atop a chariot drawn by two lions. It stands in the centre of the Plaza de Cibeles, the square to which it has lent its name and which marks the start of Madrid’s avenue of art, the Paseo del Arte. The fountain is flanked by four magnificent buildings: Buenavista Palace (the Army’s General Headquarters), Linares Palace (which accommodates the Casa de América cultural institution), Cibeles Palace (previously the main Post Office, it now houses Madrid City Hall and CentroCentro cultural centre), and the Bank of Spain. Commissioned by King Charles III it was designed by renowned Spanish architect Ventura Rodriguez. All three figures were made with purple marble from the town of Montesclaros, in Toledo, and the rest of the monument was carved from stone from Redueña, an area 53km to the north of Madrid, close to the La Cabrera mountain range.
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Plaza de Cibeles
The stunning Palacio de Cibeles is not only the headquarters of Madrid City Council, it is also home to CentroCentro. A recent addition to the renowned Paseo del Arte, the cultural centre boasts a packed programme of activities that revolve around the city and includes exhibitions, workshops, conferences and concerts. Next to the entrance hall, where you’ll find interactive information screens, there is a colourful lounge where visitors can sit back and read, connect to WiFi or enjoy some people-watching through the large windows that look out onto Plaza de Cibeles. The building has two restaurants: Colección Cibeles on the ground floor and Palacio de Cibeles on the 6th. Both are open Monday to Sunday. Also on the sixth floor is Terraza Cibeles, a great rooftop bar where you can relax with a pre-dinner drink or mid-afternoon snack as you take in the wonderful views of the Plaza de Cibeles and the Madrid skyline. For even more breathtaking vistas, head up to the Mirador observation deck on the 8th floor.
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Plaza Mayor Square
One of the most beautiful squares in Spain. It was built in Baroque style according to the plans of Alberto Churriguera. On the north side is the City Hall, a Baroque building that has five granite arches and a steeple decorated with allegoric figures.
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Museo Wuerth La Rioja
The Würth Museum has been designed as a 20th-21st avant-garde international contemporary arts scenario. Here the works belonging to the Würth España collection will be exhibited, as well as those of the Würth Collection from Germany, considered one of the main ones in Europe and collected thanks to the initiative of Professor Dr. h.c. Reinhold Würth since the 1960s.
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Viana Palace
This palace museum has an extensive collection of items from Cordoba including furniture and coffered objects. Of particular note is the staircase which gives access to the upper floor. This stately mansion was originally a single building that was extended with the adjoining buildings, and today occupies a large area with a predominance of courtyards and gardens.
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National Museum of Ceramics
In honour of the Valencian ceramics industry, the González Martí National Museum of Ceramics is located in what is considered to be the best example of Baroque architecture in Spain, the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas. The museum houses the largest national collection of ceramics, dating from the 18th century to the contemporary period, and includes pieces by Picasso. A museum in which you can also find merchandise from the Silk Route and discover how they lived in one of the most iconic Valencian noble families of the age.
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The City of Arts and Sciences
The work of Valencia’s own Santiago Calatrava, this is an example of architecture at its most futuristic. The colossal structure houses an IMAX cinema (situated in the Hemisfèric), as well as Europe’s largest aquarium – the Oceanogràfic,
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The University of Navarre Museum
A building designed by Rafael Moneo, which holds a contemporary art collection that includes artists such as Tàpies, Picasso, Kandinsky and Chillida. It is also home to a major photo collection.
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Basilica of Begona
The work of Sancho Martínez de Arego, it is built on the site where the Virgin appeared in a vision in the early sixteenth century, and it is mainly Gothic, but mixes several styles. The Basilica is a must for many citizens of Bilbao, who come daily to this sanctuary to venerate the Virgin of Begoña, patron saint of Bizkaia, known locally as the ‘Amatxu’ (Mother). Seafaring people are also greatly devoted to the Virgin and as a result, there have been many boats registered in Bilbao with the name "Virgin of Begoña" or simply "Begoña" since the 16th century. In addition, it is the custom of sailors to salute the Sanctuary and sing the ‘Salve Regina’ when they first see the church from afar as they come up the river. The "Amatxu" of Begoña, as she is popularly known, receives a heartfelt tribute from residents of Bilbao and Biscay on both 15 August and 11 October, the day of Our Lady of Begoña. On those dates, thousands of pilgrims from throughout the Historical Territory walk through the night to attend a mass in honour of the patron saint of Bilbao and Biscay at the Basilica that bears her name and is one of the great symbols of the city.
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Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao
The origin of the current museum is in the first Fine Arts Museum, founded in 1908 and opened in 1914 and the Modern Art Museum opened in 1924. Both institutions and their collections were united in 1945, the year that the old building was constructed. The collection of the Fine Arts Museum, which opened in 1914, brings together over seven thousand works of art, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper and applied arts, with an outstanding heritage spanning from the twelfth century to the present. It contains important examples of ancient, modern and contemporary painting and has a special interest in the Spanish school of art and in Basque artists, by whom it has a large collection of works.
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Euskalduna Palace
The Euskalduna Palace Conference Centre or Euskalduna Palace Conference and Performing Arts Centre, was the second building built in the urban area of Abandoibarra after the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Opened in 1999, it was designed by architects Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios in corten steel as a symbol of the last vessel built in the old Euskalduna shipyard, wich had occupied this space for decades. It now runs a full programme of concerts, opera and theatre.
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Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Designed by Canadian American architect Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao building represents a magnificent example of the most groundbreaking 20th-century architecture. With 24,000 m2, of which 9.000 are dedicated to exhibition space, the Museum represents an architectural landmark of audacious configuration and innovating design, providing a seductive backdrop for the art exhibited in it. Altogether, Gehry’s design creates a spectacular sculpture-like structure, perfectly integrated within Bilbao’s urban pattern and its surrounding area.
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The Diocesan Cathedral Museum
This is an old Gothic building which dates back to the 13th and 14th century. Its altarpiece is a superb example of Spanish Renaissance sculpture carved in alabaster by Damián Forment between 1520 and 1533, representing the Passion of Christ.
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Salzillo Musuem
The origin of this museum dates back to the 19th century. At that time, the life and work of Francisco Salzillo were soon enveloped by popular legends of romantic taste.
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Museum of Santa Clara
On the Islamic-Mudejar palace of the Emir of Murcia, Ibn Hud, the monastery of Santa Clara was founded, which since 1365 houses the Clarisas nuns. In this building come several centuries of history and different cultures such as Islamic, Gothic and Baroque. The museum space and the nuns coexist in total harmony. It conserves one of the oldest Arabic pools in Spain.
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Romea Theater
With more than 150 years of history, the eclectic building of the Romea Theater is one of the most important cultural references of the city. Built after an earlier one that suffered two fires, the current theater was inaugurated in 1900 thanks to the architect Justo Millán.
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Museum of the Cathedral of Murcia
The most important temple in the Region is a magnificent merge of styles, a catalogue of stone which summarizes more than six centuries of art and history. Its construction began in 1394 over the remains of an old Arabic mosque and in 1462 its vaults were finished. The oldest entrance is La Puerta de Los Apóstoles (the door of the Apostles). Its only storefront is flanked by pointed archivolts with statues of the apostles on it. La Puerta de las Cadenas( the door of the Chains) dates from 1513 and has original pilasters and archivolts. From the 15th century dates the Capilla de Los Vélez covered by a ten-pointed star vault and profusely decorated. Another famous chapel is that of Junterón, whose oval ground plan is covered by an extremely original vault. Its baroque main façade (Imafronte), Jaime Bort¿s work, is an exaltation of Levantine art (the 18th century eastern Spain art). It is divided as an altarpiece into two parts and three vertical sections. The tower, divided into five parts, is 92 meters high. Its construction started in 1511 and the fifth body hosts twenty-five church bells
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San Sebastian's City Hall
What is today San Sebastián's City Hall was home to the city’s Gran Casino from the time it was opened on 1st July 1897 until it was closed in 1924 with the prohibition of gambling. Its roulette tables and Dance Hall, currently the Plenary Hall, provided entertainment for politicians, writers and artists in the Belle Epoque period.
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Victoria Eugenia Theater
Belle Epoque in design yet highly modern in spirit. That’s how we could describe the Victoria Eugenia Theatre, a building that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. Located in the city centre, in full view of the Kursaal and on the banks of the River Urumea, the Victoria Eugenia Theatre proposes a varied and continually changing programme. This sandstone building sporting plateresque motifs with Spanish Renaissance forms was created by the architect Francisco de Urcola in 1912. Particularly interesting on the facade are, over the Doric columns, four groups of sculptures representing the opera, tragedy, comedy and drama. For decades the Victoria Eugenia Theatre has been the principal hub of the International Film Festival; since its renovation in 2007, the building now offers new cutting edge spaces and audiovisual technologies.
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La Llotja de Lleida
La Llotja is a monolithic construction, subdivided into three functional levels allowing it to serve different purposes. The central level is the interconnecting core, linking up the various programmes by means of the central stairway/ramp, which also provides illumination.
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National Museum of Underwater Archaeology
ARQUA Museo Nacional de Arqueología Subacuática is the institution in charge of studying, valuing, investigating, preserving, disseminating and protecting the Spanish underwater cultural heritage. It is also home to the Permanent Observatory for the National Plan for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. These tasks are carried out in collaboration with the different regional governments and its research centres and in cooperation with the States who partner with the UNESCO Convention. Furthermore, the ARQUA has recently taken charge of the Odyssey’s treasure. The Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes frigate collection, which consists of more than 570,000 gold and silver coins from the late 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.
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Niemeyer Centre
This great cultural centre is the first work by the architect Oscar Niemeyer in Spain.It is located on the Aviles estuary, five minutes from the town's historic centre on foot. Its broad cultural programme of international activities includes exhibitions, plays, dances, films, concerts, conferences and gastronomic activities.
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Apollo Theater
There is no record of the date of the project or the name of the architect author. The only data found in the municipal archives and collected by the historian Emilio Villanueva (“Urbanism and Architecture in Modern Almería”) are proof that the new Apollo Theatre was built in 1881 on the site that had previously occupied the Teatro Calderón. At a time abounding recreational societies was one of them, the Society of Twenty, who promoted its construction becoming the first owner of the theatre. In January 1984, the Directorate General of Architecture and Housing, Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Environment, commissioned the architect Angel Jaramillo Esteban, performing some previous studies for the rehabilitation of the building, and then in 1985 the corresponding project.The works managed by the Hon. Almería City Council, beginning in 1987 under the direction of the same architect and then for various reasons remain stalled between 1989 and 1992, were completed in 1993, having taken part in financing the ministries of Public Works, Transport and Environment and Culture and the Departments of Public Works and Transport and Culture and the Environment of the Junta de Andalucía
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Guitar Museum Antonio de Torres
The Museum of Spanish Guitar ‘Antonio de Torres’ is more than a museum space, an exhibition and information center that will allow visitors to learn in a fun and easy way primary keys of one of the most popular musical instruments around the world as is the guitar. The most played and produced in the history of world music instrument comes from the hand of its maximum precursor, the luthier Antonio Torres, considered the father of contemporary guitar. Therefore, among the objectives of this project the Culture of the City of Almería as the main driving force behind the same aims that visitors actively participate in the museum itself and, by extension, in the cultural life of the city of Almeria. The Museum offers participants much more than a simple succession of pieces, it is a surprising, relevant, educational, interactive and attractive cultural space, open to the public and visitors.
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Andalusian Centre of Photography
The Andalusian Center of Photography, belonging to the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Andalusia, was established in 1992 to be the custodian of the photographic collections of the Imagine project and at the same time, to continue the work of promoting and disseminating photography both nationally and internationally. The Centro Andaluz de la Fotografía proposes a permanent institutional offer to treat photography from an interdisciplinary perspective where they have room for treatment and study of the image from different approaches. In October 2007 the new headquarters of the Andalusian Center of Photography in the old Liceo de Almeria, located in the historic center of the city was inaugurated. This building has been renovated and adapted to the needs of a photographic centre of the XXI century, which includes a large exhibition area of six hundred square meters, classrooms for workshops, living scanning, photographic set, library, screening room, archive, store and administrative offices.
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Archeological Museum Almeria
The museum, recently reconstructed modern building, located on the Carretera de Ronda, houses inter esantesfondos with valuable works from prehistory to the Muslim period. In addition, the museum was awarded the European Museum of the Year Award in 2008, and inside, in addition to continuous exposure other activities such as conferences, exhibitions and festivals are held.
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Fine Arts Museum
In addition to Degas's masterpiece " The Cotton Office in New Orleans" , the museum presents a very fine collection of paintings from Flemish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and French schools from the 15th to the 20th century. It is the second museum of Aquitaine by the richness of its collections.
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Joaquin Rivero Collection
The Pinacoteca de Bodegas Tradición is made up of a selection of works belonging to the Joaquín Rivero Collection of Spanish painting. As of June 2006, a winery warehouse, after a laborious work of conditioning, will permanently house such important works, so that any visitor can enjoy them. The Joaquín Rivero Collection is one of the most important exhibited in Andalusia. Its fundamental characteristic is that it brings together more than 300 works of great masters of Spanish painting in a collection of private art, from the 15th to the 19th centuries. In it are represented all the important artistic movements that have been produced throughout the history of Spanish painting, as well as the authors who by their own significance make up the artistic scene of the moment: Zurbarán, Velázquez, Hiepes, Labrador, Valdés Leal, Goya, Maella, Lucas Velázquez, Madrazo, Lucas Villamil, Carlos de Haes and many other authors that will allow our visitors to walk through the history of Spain through his painting.
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Jerez de la Frontera Cathedral
The long period of time over which it was built caused a variety of styles to be integrated into the structure of this cathedral. It was built as a Collegiate Church, since Jerez did not have a bishopric until 1980. Building began in 1695 and lasted until 1778. Participating architects included Diego Moreno Meléndez, Rodrigo del Pozo, Diego Díaz, Juan de Pina, Torcuato Cayón de la Vega, Juan de Vargas and Pedro Ángel de Albizu. The building has a rectangular plan, with five naves. It is Baroque in style.
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Hippy Market
Have you heard about Ibiza's famous Hippy Market? It's one of the island top attractions and a must-see for every holidaymaker. But that's not the only market you can visit, there are many happening all over the island, so wherever you stay you can enjoy a fabulous shopping experience. Ibiza has strong artistic roots going back to the early '60s when artisans, painters and designers flocked to the island to experience its unique atmosphere, incredible light and freedom of expression. All this comes through in the markets held on the island where handmade items of clothing, jewellery and artefacts can be bought. The biggest markets are the Punta Arabí Hippy Market on Wednesday in Es Caná and the Las Dalias Hippy Market on Saturday in San Carlos.n. All this comes through in the markets held on the island where handmade items of clothing, jewellery and artefacts can be bought.
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Park Guell
Park Guell is one of the most fantastic designs ever built by Gaudi. A landmark on its own, it features amazing views of Barcelona and plenty of modernist works. Needless to say, as soon you pass the entrance, you’ll notice right away that this isn’t an ordinary park. Curiously, Park Güell wasn’t originally intended to be a park, but rather a project for luxurious homes. In 1900, the site was just a rocky hill with nothing but vegetation around, in the vicinity of some isolated upper class country houses. The result was one of the most fascinating works by Gaudí. The intention of the project was to take advantage of the breathtaking views of Barcelona and the clean fresh air, away from the factories, in order to build a top of the line housing complex. In Park Guell, there are plenty of paths and vegetation to enjoy, but the architectural structures are the glue that holds the whole place together.
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Palau de la Musica Catalana
El Palau de la Musica Catalana is the most famous concert halls in Barcelona. Squeezed between the narrow streets of La Ribera neighborhood, is one of the most fantastic buildings of the Modernista movement.
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Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is definitely the most famous building in Barcelona. Considered one of Gaudi’s masterpieces, it’s a key attraction in Barcelona and one of the most striking monuments ever built in the world. In fact, there is absolutely no other building in the world featuring such a genius mixture between Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. Antoni Gaudí took over the project in 1883, a year after construction had begun, and completely reshaped the project to fit his unique style. Unfortunately, Gaudí died in 1926 when only a quarter of the project had been constructed. Sadly, most of the blueprints left were burned in a fire, therefore, all that’s been built ever since has been a wide interpretation of Gaudi’s architecture. Stopping over the Sagrada Familia should be top priority if you’re in Barcelona for the first time. Visiting the basilica it’s an enjoyable experience and a great way to be introduced into Gaudí’s architecture. Besides, it offers the best possible views of the surrounding Eixample District, Barcelona’s own Big Apple.
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Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
The Jerónimos Monastery was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. This notable 16th century work of architecture became part of Portuguese identity and culture.