The Garden Guide

Plaza Major, Madrid

The Plaza Major ('main square') is enclosed by a wall of buildings with access through archways and arcades at street level. An equestrian statue of Felipe III, who commissioned the design, stands at the centre. It was built in the seventeenth century, on the site of an Arab market. The chief ornament of the space is the people. They enjoy a set of qualities which are rarely combined in cities: (1) a central location, fully integrated with the city (2) a powerful sense of enclosure (3) openness (4) freedom from motorised traffic (5) good proportions (6) richly coloured harmonious buildings.

Plaza Major, Madrid, Spain

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