|One could say the
Puerta del Sol is literally the center of Spain.
In this plaza, it is possible to find the survey
marker from which road kilometer distances are
||Visit the Pureta del Sol
in the daytime and you will see a very busy, somewhat drab plaza that houses one of the
main bus transfer stations of Madrid. Return
to the plaza at night, however, and you will not be certain
you are in the same place.
At night the plaza becomes awash in
lights, giving the square almost the look of a
fantasyland. Those Puerta del Sol shops
you did not even notice in the daylight now
beckon you with their large neon signs.
Tio Pepe sign at Puerta del Sol
Rising high above the square is the Tio Pepe
sign. Long a hallmark of the Puerta del Sol,
public outcry resulted when a few years ago the Pepe sign
was removed. Today, the visitor can view the Tio Pepe sign
standing proudly on its old perch.
||Left: Bear and Madrona (strawberry) tree, bronze
sculpture in the Puerta del Sol.
shopping may be the main activity for most
visitors to the square, one should be aware this
is also a historic square of protest.
It was here that the uprising against French
occupiers started in May of 1808, and the square
is used regularly today by one group or another
to make their viewpoints known.
Note: While the protests
I have seen in Spain have been very peaceful, I
do not mix with or try approaching the crowds.
When you do not know what the protest is about,
or what groups might be offended by them, I just
think it is prudent to move on.
Right: Kilometer Zero. This
marker, located in the pavement of the Puerta del
Sol, is on the south side of the square near the
clock tower. Amid all the pedestrian traffic, I
could not find the marker. I had to ask a local
to point it out to me. The marker is the official
starting point of six of Spain's main highways.