The Puerta del Sol, or "Door of the Sun" is located in the very heart and center of Madrid, the name, "Puerta del Sol", comes from the original eastern city gate entrance erected in the 15th century. Sol, as it is regarded by the locals, is just one minute's walk from The Plaza Mayor and just a few minutes 'walk from Gran Via. Sol is a terrific place to be, with lots of events, there seems to be something always happening in Sol.
Sol is one of the most vibrant areas of Madrid, full of shops. Bars, restaurants and history, with many well-known trademarks, such as El Corte Inglés, Zara, FNAC, H&M and many more, you will also have a chance to savor some of the most famous pastries from Madrid in La Mallorquina, with all kinds of delicious cakes to try, the shop started off as tea and coffee room in 1894, take the chance to savor not just the food, but also the atmosphere of a busy, bustling and very successful cake shop, located right in Sol, where the Calle Mayor begins.
Sol is absolutely bustling with people, especially at night, and is a main tourist attraction in Madrid, just being there you will hear many different languages from the passersby as it reflects the truly cosmopolitan face of Madrid, being the center of Madrid, Sol is usually the first choice for parties, celebrations and demonstrations. One of the main celebrations in Sol is the New Year; it's celebrated with the aid of the large town clock erected on the top of the Real Casa de Correos building.
Casa de Correos
In the center of Sol and is Spain's focal point every year to bring in the New Year, "El Año Nuevo", and is televised to millions all over Spain. At 12 midnight, as the bells strike each of the 12 chimes, you will see everyone attempt to eat a pealed grape, one grape for each Month.
Eating the twelve grapes is a Spanish tradition, its origins come from Alicante from around 1909 in which some growers used up surplus crops, it is also believed that the 12 chimes reflects the wishes, one new wish for every Month of the New year.
El Oso Y El Madroño
In the center of Sol, you will also find the most famous symbol of Madrid: a 20 ton bronze and stone statue of a bear eating from a fruit tree. The official name of the statue is 'El Oso y El Madroño' sculptured by Antonio Navarro Santa Fe. The Madroño is related to the strawberry tree. Although the title, "El Oso", is used to describe a masculine bear, the sculpture depicts a female bear, used to symbolize the fertility and abundance of Madrid, the tree symbolizes the growth and the aristocracy.
King Charles III
Charles III (20 January 1716 – 14 December 1788) was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. The statue was Installed in the Puerta del Sol in 1997 and was placed here by demand because of all of the improvements he was responsible for making to Madrid.