Puerta de Alcalá

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.

Notable events

  • 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 Christ's side).
  • 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.
Listed in the following categories:
Post a comment
Tips & Hints
Arrange By:
Vassilis N
2 January 2016
Great photo opportunity when cars are stopped by traffic lights
Kevin van Dun
13 April 2013
One of Madrid's most famous landmarks so be sure to visit!
Michael Holdsworth
28 October 2015
Superb monument, the architecture and detail are fantastic.
Nils Gunnglaugsson
31 January 2018
Very nice place. Great for taking photos.
Bahman S
4 December 2017
There are some cafés with outdoor seats around the plaza. Try them at nights
Fran Urbano
29 November 2015
Don't forget to visit the nearby Parque del Retiro
Load more comments
foursquare.com
8.8/10
Ruslan Here, Nadya Popova and 40,179 more people have been here
Map
Plaza de la Independencia, 31, 28001 Madrid, Spain Get directions
Sun 11:00 AM–10:00 PM
Mon 9:00 AM–9:00 PM
Tue-Wed 9:00 AM–10:00 AM
Thu 11:00 AM–9:00 PM
Fri Noon–10:00 PM

Alcalá Gate on Foursquare

Puerta de Alcalá on Facebook

Hotels nearby

See all hotels See all
Hostal Rincon de Sol

starting $75

Hostales Victoria I y II

starting $98

Gay Hostal Puerta del Sol Madrid

starting $113

Hostal Pretoria

starting $102

Puerta del Sol Rooms

starting $104

THC Hostal Bergantin

starting $103

Recommended sights nearby

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
National Archaeological Museum of Spain

The National Museum of Archaeology (Spanish: Museo Nacional de

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Bank of Spain

The Bank of Spain (Spanish: Banco de España), is the national central

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Convent of the Salesas Reales

The Convent of the Salesas Reales refers to an 18th century

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Buen Retiro Park

The Jardines del Buen Retiro or Parque del Buen Retiro (literally

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, or in Spanish Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza,

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Museo del Prado

The Museo del Prado is a museum and art gallery located in Madrid, the

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Forest of the Departed

The Forest of the Departed (Spanish: Bosque de los Ausentes) or Forest

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Palacio de Cristal

The Palacio de Cristal ('Crystal Palace') is a glass and metal

Similar tourist attractions

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Itsukushima Shrine

Itsukushima Shrine (Japanese: 厳島神社, Itsukushima Jinja) is a Shinto

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Kaminarimon

The Шаблон:Nihongo is the outer of two large entrance gates that ultim

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Hadrian's Gate

The Hadrian's Gate (or Hadrianus Gate or The Three Gates (meaning

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Powder Gate

Powder Gate (Czech: Prašná brána) is a gothic gate in Prague, Czech Re

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Visited
Gwanghwamun

Gwanghwamun (Hangul: 광화문; hanja: 光化門) is the main and largest gate

See all similar places