The Puerta de Alcalá ("Alcalá Gate", from the Arabic word القلعة al-qal'a, "citadel") is a Neo-classical monument in the Plaza de la Independencia in Madrid, Spain. It is regarded as the first modern post-Roman triumphal arch built in Europe, older than the similar monuments Arc de Triomphe in Paris and Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
It was a gate of the former Walls of Philip IV. It stands near
the city center and several meters away from the main entrance to
the Parque del Buen Retiro. The square is bisected by Alcalá
Street, although the street does not cross through the monument,
and it is the origin of the Alfonso XII, Serrano and Olózaga
streets. Its name originates from the old path from Madrid to the
nearby town of Alcalá de Henares.
Madrid in the late 18th century still looked like a somewhat
drab borough, surrounded by medieval walls. Around the year 1774,
king Charles III commissioned Francesco Sabatini to construct a
monumental gate in the city wall through which an expanded road to
the city of Alcalá was to pass, replacing an older, smaller, gate
that stood nearby. It was inaugurated in 1778.
- The Puerta de Alcalá was showered by a burst of cannon
shrapnel. The marks can still be seen in the present day.
- On July 30, 1854 after having been defeated at Vicálvaro
(Madrid), the Count of Villahermosa came into Madrid with a parade
wielding as a trophy the spear of an enemy soldier. Madrileños
sarcastically nicknamed him “Longinos” for this ostentation (like
the Roman soldier, Longinus, whose spear is said to have pierced
- On March 8, 1921, at 20:20, the Prime Minister of Spain,
Eduardo Dato, was driving his car home through Plaza de la
Independencia after a long session at the parliament, when three
Catalan anarchists driving a grey motorcycle with side-car shot him
with a handgun. Dato was promptly driven to the Casa de Socorro
hospital, but was dead on arrival.
- Since the Alcalá Street (crossing through the square) was
considered a cañada real (special route for the seasonal migration
of livestock), sheep flocks regularly crossed through the Puerta de
Alcalá. The practice is now in disuse.
- During May and June 2001, the Puerta de Alcalá underwent a
transformation in honor of Madrid being named the "Capital Mundial
del Libro" (World Book Capital). Several gardens were added to the
square, surrounding the monument, and beautiful night lights, which
can be seen in the image, were added.
- In 1985, Spanish singers Ana Belén and Víctor Manuel
popularized the song "La Puerta de Alcalá", one of their greatest
hits, titled after this monument.
- During the 2010 MTV Europe Music Awards, Thirty Seconds to
Mars, Katy Perry and Linkin Park were featured live from the Puerta
de Alcalá. Performing in front of close to 100,000 fans, Perry
performed her single "Firework", with a pyrotechnics display.
Linkin Park performed a set which was shot in its entirety for MTV
World Stage, to be broadcast on MTV platforms around the world on
10 December 2010.
- The song "La Puerta de Alcalá" has also been covered by Mexican
singer Anahí and Spanish singer David Bustamante and is included in
her sixth album, Inesperado.
- On 2 June 2017, the closing ceremony and concert of WorldPride
2017 took place at Puerta de Alcalá.