La Gran Via
The La Gran Via (Great Road), is one of Madrids most famous streets. It is probably Madrid’s busiest shopping area with a large number of shops, hotels cinemas and restaurants. La Gran Via stretches from Calle de Alcalá to Plaza de España.
History Of La Gran Via
Plans to start building La Gran Via originated in the mid 19th Century, when it had been decided that there should be a new road or thoroughfare linking Calle de Alcalá to Plaza de España. Unfortunately, the original plans meant that a large number of buildings would need to be demolished to make way for the new development. However, a large number of years had past since the original plans had been made and as yet, no work had been carried out on starting the new development. This led to much ridicule from certain parties and the development was cynically known as ‘La Gran Via’ which translated means ‘Great Road’. Eventually, several years after it’s original planning, the development finally got approval in 1904 and a couple of years later, work finally began.
Once the work had begun, it made way for many architects to off show their creative talents and as a result, a number of impressive buildings were built. To this day, as you walk along La Gran Via, you can still see the famous landmarks stood in their full glory.
One thing that you will soon notice as you begin walking down La Gran Via, is the wonderful architecture of the many building that still grace the streets. Along La Gran Via, there are many famous landmarks and buildings which are themselves major attractions in the city. Below, is a list of a few of the famous buildings:
Buildings To See On La Gran Via
Edificio Metrópolis: The Edificio Metrópolis or Metropolis Building was said to have been built between 1907 and 1911. The building was designed for the insurance company La Unión y el Fénix by designers Jule and Raymond Février. A statue of a winged Goddeess Victory now stands proud on the building which replaced the original in 1975
Edificio Grassy: Located in La Gran Via 1, the Edificio Grassy was built between 1916 – 1917 and designed by Eladio Laredo. It is currently occupied by the Grassy jewellers and is famous for have illuminated advertising of watch makers on it’s facia.
Telefónica Building: Situated in Gran Via 28 and built between 1926 and 1929 the Telefónica Building was originally built for one of the large Spanish telecommunication companies. Designed by Ignacio de Cárdenas, the building was inspired by American architecture. It was the first ‘Skyscraper’ in Europe and had over 1000 people working on the build.
Plaza del Callao
The Plaza del Callao is a square situated along La Gran Via and is where all the cinemas can be found. However, sadly many have now been redeveloped and are now shopping centres.
Plaza de España
Situated at the Western end of La Gran Via and located with the backdrop of two of Madrids tallest buildings (Torre de Madrid and Edificio España), the Plaza de España is a popular tourist attraction. The Plaza de España has several monuments and the main one being ‘Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’.
There is one last thing to mention when you visit La Gran Via and that is, Don’t Forget To Look Up to see the wornderful architecture!