Madrid - Capital, Political and Financial Center of Spain
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain and the third most populous city in the European Union after London and Berlin. The city is is located in the geographic center of Spain on the river Manzanares between the autonomous communities of Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha. Due to its economic output, standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered one of the major financial centers of the Iberian Peninsula. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political center of Spain. The population of the city was 3.5 million as of December 2005, while the estimated urban area population was 5.5 million.
As the capital of Spain, Madrid is a city of great cultural and political importance. While Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets. Its landmarks include the huge Royal Palace of Madrid; the Teatro Real (Royal theatre) with its restored 1850 Opera House; the Buen Retiro park, founded in 1631; the imposing 19th-century National Library building (founded in 1712) containing some of Spain's historical archives; an archaeological museum of international reputation; and three superb art museums: Prado Museum, which hosts one of the finest art collections in the world, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, a museum of modern art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, housed in the renovated Villahermosa Palace.
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