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The Prado Museum displays around 2,300 pieces of the collection in more than 100 rooms on three floors. It has a collection of more than 5,000 paintings that rivals the Louvre collection in Paris. Spanish paintings from the 12th century to the early 19th century form the majority of the collection, and many are famous masterpieces. The assortment of paintings by Francisco de Goya includes a remarkable 140 works. The collection also covers Italian, Flemish, French, British, and German paintings as well as Neoclassical Italian sculptures.
Puerta del Sol
The Puerta del Sol was named after the sun emblem on the old city gate, which formerly stood here. This spacious town square aligns with the rising sun. Besides being a hub of public transportation (with several bus stops and Metro entrances), the Puerta del Sol is also the "Kilometer Zero" point from which all distances on the Spanish national road network are measured. Nowadays the square is a place to hang out and enjoy life. Lined with shops and cafes, the Puerta del Sol is still one of the liveliest squares in Madrid. Nearby is La Violeta, an old-fashioned confection shop that offers the Madrid specialty of violet candies.
Buen Retiro Park
The Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro) is an oasis of peace in the heart of Madrid. Just beyond the busy streets, this lush 120-hectare park offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Created for the Count-Duke of Olivares in the 17th century, the historic park has an elegant ambience with its lovely landscaping and tree-lined paths. From the main entrance at the Plaza de Independencia, visitors arrive at the pool in the center of the park. From here, paths lead to the enchanting Rose Garden and the formal French Jardin de Don Cecilio. Some of the noteworthy sites here includes The Crystal Palace, and fountains such as The Turtles, The Fallen Angel, and The Artichoke. For stargazers, the park has an observatory that was built in 1790. Near Retiro Park is Madrid's fanciest patisserie shop Pasteleria Vait, offering exquisite cakes, cookies, pastries, chocolate candies, & hot chocolate.
The National Archeological Museum is Madrid's most important museum after the Prado Museum. It was founded by Queen Isabella II in 1867 and holds a rich collection of artifacts from prehistoric times to the 19th century. These include archaeological findings, ethnography, decorative arts from antiquity, & ancient coins. The permanent collection comprises of pieces from various time periods & locations like Egyptian mummies, Hispano-Roman objects of art, Islamic archaeology, & Mudejar ceramics. One of the most prized possessions of the collection is the bust of the Lady of Elche. The museum's library features publications on art, history, & archaeology.