The Puerta de Alcalá is one of the five former royal gates giving access to the city. It is situated in the centrally-located Plaza de la Independencia, at the crossroads of Alcalá, Alfonso XII and Serrano Salustiano Olózaga streets and the main entrance to the Retiro Park.

Watched over from afar by Cybele in Plaza de Cibeles square, the Puerta de Alcalá was commissioned by Carlos III to replace another gate that had been there since the 16th century. The king chose the architect Francesco Sabatini to build it, who designed a gate in a neo-classical style to resemble the triumphal arches of ancient Rome. In the course of its existence it has been restored on five occasions, the last time in the late 20th century.

It is interesting to note that it is the first triumphal arch built in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire and preceded the Arc de Triomphe of Paris and the Brandenburg Gate of Berlin.

After its more than two centuries of existence it has gone from being the outer border of Madrid to one of the city’s tourist attractions and a must-see for anyone coming to Madrid, as it is one of the capital’s most emblematic monuments.

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