From Canalejas Square, a few meters away, we have the Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun in English), which is the geographical center, and meeting point for the city of Madrid.
In this wide square, which already been closed to everyday traffic, and only maintain limited access to some tourist buses, and taxis, it has become a big meeting place, always full of life, nearly all hours.
The most important points to see in Sol, as it is most commonly known, are: Casa de Correos, which is the oldest ramaining building in Puerta del Sol, in the photo above. This building is used today as the headquarters of the Government for the Community of Madrid.
The clock tower, was built and donated in the nineteenth century by José Rodríguez de Losada, and every December 31st at 12 midnight, the vast majority of Spaniards and visitors, will be present at the Puerta del Sol, either on television or in-situ, to see and hear the 12 strokes, while eating traditionaly twelve grapes, that will give luck for each of the twelve months of the following year. This practice began to be televised on December 31, 1962, and today is getting to be known in other countries.
On the sidewalk in front of this building, there is the plate which defines the KM 0, representing the origin of the radial roads of Spain, and numbering of the streets of Madrid. Lower numbers will be in the closer to this plate.
To the East of this square, at the beginning of Calle Alcalá, we find the sculpture of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, which is the symbol of Madrid. There are always many tourists taking pictures, some touching the foot of the bear, they say that will make it more probable to return to Madrid.
The neon sign of Tio Pepe, has been many years on top of the building of the new Apple Store, located between Alcalá Street, and Carrera de San Jeronimo. From September 25, 2009, this neon sign, has been relocated between on a new placement, between Preciados streets and El Carmen St.
A reproduction of the Mariblanca statue, located near Arenal St., on the site where there was a fountain that was adorned by the original Mariblanca sculpture.
Finally, the equestrian statue of Carlos III, was included in Puerta del Sol, in 1994. This has been decided by popular referendum.
In this virtual walking tour of Madrid, we will continue the route walking along Preciados street. The busiest shopping street in the city, and probably in Spain, until we reach Plaza Callao, where we will finish this virtual walking tour around Madrid.