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Madrid is divided into 21 numbered districts (distritos) each of which is further subdivided into neighborhoods (barrios). There are numbers (and official names) for the barrios, too, but it is safe to say that nobody uses them. In our classification, we respect the official definition of large distritos, but stick to the barrios people actually refer to.

#1: Centro

The 1st district is Madrid's cultural, historic, political, and tourist center. The neighborhoods (barrios) within the district, defined somewhat informally, include:

Puerta del Sol, Las Cortes, Las Huertas, Paseo del Prado, Parque del Retiro, Austrias, Atocha, Lavapiés, La Latina (not to be confused with a similarly named district), Opera, Palacio Real, Gran Vía Callao, Chueca, Malasaña, and Conde Duque.

#2-#21: Other districts

2: Arganzuela 12: Usera
3: Retiro 13: Puente de Vallecas
4: Salamanca 14: Moratalaz
5: Chamartín 15: Ciudad Lineal
6: Tetuán 16: Hortaleza
7: Chamberí 17: Villaverde
8: Fuencarral-El Pardo 18: Villa de Vallecas
9: Moncloa-Aravaca 19: Vicálvaro
10: Latina 20: San Blas
11: Carabanchel 21: Barajas

Briefly The New Puerta del Sol: Moving El Oso
Posted by Gromco in Madrid on 19/Sep/2009
el osoNext week one of Madrid's most prominent symbols is going to disappear from its central square: due to reconstruction work in the capital's (and the country's) most central square, the landmark statue of a bear licking (sniffing?) a tree ("el oso y el madroño"), currently installed a few steps from the Puerta del Sol, will be moving a few blocks east, towards the Carrera de San Jerónimo.

The relatively unassuming (and easy-to-miss) statue of the bear is the work of the Spanish sculptor Antonio Navarro. [CORRECTED]

Source(s): El País, ABC (18 Sep 2009)   Photo: Sébastien Bertrand
AVE TrainsStarting this week, RENFE, the Spanish railroad company, is increasing the frequency of its high-speed train service (AVE) between Barcelona and Madrid by one third. Instead of the previous 19-20 scheduled trains, there will be up to 26 daily departures in each direction. Two of the newly added trains will be direct, making no stops, the others - local, extending the existing Madrid - Zaragoza line service...

Read the rest of: "More AVE Trains Between Madrid and Barcelona
Caixa Forum - Madrid
Posted by Slavito in Madrid + Places on 15/Jul/2008
Caixa Forum - Madrid (teaser)Few makeover projects have been handled with such a degree of architectural audacity as the recent transformation of a disused electric station in Madrid's Las Huertas district into the cultural center La Caixa Forum - Madrid.

The Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron not only gutted the building, removing most of its interiors and changing its shape and size by conspicuously adding a layer of several floors, they also literally lifted it from its foundation, giving the whole structure a tense “suspended” look.

The resulting space now houses a cultural center with its own exhibition space, a large auditorium, a bookstore and a top-floor café...

Read the rest of: "Caixa Forum - Madrid
Tío Pepe sign at nightOne of the most frequently photographed sights in Madrid that's nevertheless completely ignored in the city guidebooks is the Tío Pepe sign in Puerta del Sol. Given the number of tourists taking pictures in front of the sign (with many opting for a silly trick where they pretend to be "holding" the giant bottle behind them... very creative, guys, but it's been done before) and consequently, given the sign's status as the city's de facto second emblem (at least in tourists' minds... the first still being the bear, of course), it seems almost unbelievable that no guidebook provides at least a cursory look at the sign's story. Allow me to take the onerous task upon myself..

Read the rest of: "Glowing Above the Sun: The Tío Pepe Sign
Sabatini GardensIf there's one place that symbolizes the quirkiness of Madrid's history for me, it is the Sabatini Gardens next to the Palacio Real.

Of course, it's not the quirkiness that draws hundreds of people here every day - the gardens are beautiful and for anybody who's tired of the city's heat (in summer), or crowds (all year round) it's a perfect place to chill, relax a little bit, read or just people-watch. And did I mention the location? Quite literally in the shadow of the Palacio Real, perhaps Madrid's most famous landmark: it just doesn't get more central than that.

But still, that's not the whole story. The whole story would need to mention a few quirky facts. Here's one, for example: the Sabatini Gardens are named after Italian architect Francesco Sabatini who... had nothing to do with them...

Read the rest of: "Sabatini Gardens: Chilling With the Kings
Rooftop of La Casa Encendida
Posted by Gromco in Madrid + Places on 09/Aug/2007
La Casa Encendida: RooftopTo escape the traffic and the noise of Lavapiés/Embajadores district (south of El Rastro), head to the rooftop of La Casa Encendida. Located on busy Ronda de Valencia, La Casa is actually a hidden oasis of calm.

This free-admission community education center / gallery / multimedia library / performance venue has a wonderful rooftop where you can sit, relax, read, meditate or chat with other visitors – you choose. If you get hungry, there's a café downstairs, not to mention all the other things the center offers.

WHAT: Rooftop relaxation
WHERE: La Casa Encendida ( Ronda de Valencia, 2; Madrid 28012.  

Read the rest of: "Rooftop of La Casa Encendida
La Hora de Horchata
Posted by Slavito in Madrid + Places on 23/Jul/2007
Horchata (Teaser)If the above title makes you go "¿La Hora de QUÉ?", you're not alone. Only a short year ago, I myself did not know what "horchata" meant, much less what it tasted like.

As it turns out, it tastes pretty good. If you're in Madrid, dubious, I'll tell you were to go to order a glass that will remove all your doubts...

Read the rest of: "La Hora de Horchata
Bazaar in Madrid
Posted by Slavito in Madrid + Places on 04/Sep/2006
Slavito @ BazaarWhen you get tired of all the "typical" Spanish food, when you want small dishes (but... please, no more tapas!), when you want to try something eclectic yet vaguely Spanish-themed, you might want to consider eating at Bazaar on the southern fringes of Madrid's Chueca.

Read the rest of: "Bazaar in Madrid
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