It has been said that every country in the world and indeed every City in the world have at least 10 interesting points that make you want to go there and savor in the knowledge of these "wow" factors, the challenge with respect to Madrid, is that there are so many interesting facts to know, that it would be impossible to learn and live them in the space of a week or even a Month. Trying to condense Madrid facts and information into just 10 Interesting Facts about Madrid seems unfair and probably unrealistic due to individual taste, but here goes.
1 – Population. Madrid including its metropolitan areas is the fourth most populated City in Europe after Moscow, London and Istanbul. With a population of just more than 6 million people, it outranks the population of even some countries such as Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand, to name a few.
2 – Location. If you put a needle in the very center of a map of Spain, you will not be far away from Madrid, the motorways M30, M40 and M45 all circle round the City, most of the roads entering and leaving from the Madrid have Kilometer numbers seen at the side of the road measuring the distance at any point from the very center of Sol in the middle of Madrid on the pavement in front of the post office building, this point is marked as Kilometer Cero or Kilometer Zero.
3 – The Fountain of Cibeles. A beautifully breathtaking monument in the very heart of Madrid hosts celebrations of Real Madrid football team, as well as on occasions visits from VIP's, such as the visit in August 2011 JMJ (La Jornada Mundial de la Juventud) by Pope Benedict XVI. If you are lucky enough to see Madrid at a time of an event taking place in Plaza de Cibeles, whatever the event, you can be assured that you will be thoroughly entertained. Absolutely a must see attraction.
4 – The Bankia Tower. (Torre Bankia, formerly the Caja Madrid Tower, (Torre Caja Madrid). This is an incredible piece of construction and is the highest building of all Madrid and Spain and was designed by Sir Norman Foster who was granted a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honors and in 1999 was honored with a Life Peerage, becoming Lord Foster of Thames Bank.
6 – Nearer To God. The Space Tower or Torre Espacio, has to be one of the top ten most incredible building designs in Madrid on approaching Madrid from the North you will notice a strange flashing green LED paneled light emitting from the 33rd floor of the tower, the reason for this light is to symbolize presence of Christ in the Torre Espacio, due to the fact that there is a small chapel on the 33rd floor of the building. The chapel was recognized by the Archdiocese of Madrid, as an official chapel and granted the right to serve the Holy Eucharist so, you see, it is now possible to get even nearer to God.
7 – Madrid Money. Madrid is the fourth richest city in Europe after London, Paris and Moscow.
8 – Madrid Weather can vary enormously over the four seasons with temperatures of low as zero or -1ºC (30 Fahrenheit) in January and up to 40º (104 Fahrenheit) in August, be sure to take this into account and plan your visit well taking into account Suitable clothing for the season.
9 – The New Year. "El Año Nuevo", is a favorite celebration to behold in the middle of Madrid in front of the clock in the Casa de Correos building in the center of Sol as the bells strike each of the 12 chimes, you will see everyone attempt to eat a pealed grape, one grape for each chime looking to bring good luck for the year to come.
10 – Famous People born in Madrid include Penelope Cruz (actress), Rafael Benítez (football manager), Fernando Torres (footballer), Placido Domingo (opera singer), Raul Gonzalez (footballer) and Enrique Iglesias (singer).
Madrid, like New York never sleeps, it has everything, stunning architecture, scenery, nightlife, celebrations, terrific weather, flamenco, great food and wines, Madrid is steeped in history, one week, of course, will not be enough to see everything, but that will just give you more reasons to want to keep coming back. Make sure you see Madrid, you will be very glad you did.