Madrid has been the capital of Spain since 1562. It's location is approximately in the centre of Spain. Due to this central location and high altitude, the climate of Madrid is characterized by warm dry summers and cool winters. This is a cosmopolitan city with cultural and political importance. Its position as a centre for economics, finance, administration and services combines the most modern infrastructure with an important cultural and artistic heritage, the legacy of centuries of fascinating history.
So, while Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets. For instance, some of its main historic places are the huge Royal Palace of Madrid; the Teatro Real (Royal theatre); the Buen Retiro park; the imposing 19th-century National Library building (founded in 1712); an archaeological museum of international reputation; and three superb art museums: Prado Museum, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, housed in the renovated Villahermosa Palace.
But Madrid is not just a cultural destination. It is also a lively metropolis with many pubs, cafes, discotheques and nightclubs open late into the night. It may be the afternoon siesta that gives them the endurance to keep things going well into the night. In fact, on weekends, Madrilenian youth are famous for dancing all night long, stopping off only for having some chocolate and churros at dawn, go home, take a shower, shave, and go to work. Madrid has an amazing quantity of dance halls, tascas, cafes, theaters, movie houses, music halls, and nightclubs. However, many of these offerings are strictly for residents or for Spanish-speakers.
After spending much of the 20th century at the centre of a totalitarian regime, Madrid has burst back onto the world stage with an energy of its 16th-century golden age. Beginning in the early 20th century, Madrid grew to be an important industrial centre. Its commercial and industrial life developed very rapidly after the 1890s and is rivaled in Spain only by that of Barcelona.
Especially around Puerta del Sol, you'll find a high concentration of everything relating to food, drinking, entertainment and staying away from your hotels as long as possible. Madrid, during the summer, becomes a virtual free festival because the city sponsors a series of plays, concerts, and films. If you're in Madrid during the second half of May be sure to join Madrileños in celebrating the Feria de San Isidro, which has music, operas, concerts, bullfighting and dancing. In the same way, mid August is when the city celebrates the Verbena de la Paloma.