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Madrid is located in the heart of Spain. As in many European cities, Madrid features distinctly winding streets, all of which seem to be going up or down. Madrid sees perpetual sunshine and a characteristically hot temperature in the summer, and a fairly cold temperature in the winter. The culture of Madrid is dominated by its religious and royal history. Enormous, monolithic cathedrals and churches are plentiful in Madrid, as well as medieval architecture.



Madrid is located in the heart of Spain. As in many European cities, Madrid features distinctly winding streets, all of which seem to be going up or down. Another similarity to other European cities is the lack of a symmetrical street plan- in many parts of town it seems as if streets randomly branch off from another in awkward directions. Due to these reasons, it is very easy to get lost quickly in Madrid, especially if you lack a good sense of direction (therefore, it is a good idea to always have a map of Madrid handy, despite how good your internal compass is). Nearly all of the most famous tourist areas are located in the southwest section of Madrid, and these hotspots spread up past the Gran Via, which is the largest avenue in Madrid, and is aesthetically and symbolically similar to the Times Square, in New York, the United States.

The climate of Madrid is continental: dry and quite extreme at times. Madrid sees perpetual sunshine and a characteristically hot temperature in the summer, and a fairly cold temperature in the winter. There is essentially no moderate period of temperature- such as what United States residents experience in their Spring and Autumn- but only what residents refer to as "sol o sombra" (sun or shadow). Rainfall occurs sporadically, and snowfall is not something that happens every year in the city, however, there is abundant snowfall in the adjacent mountain ranges close to it.

The culture of Madrid is dominated by its religious and royal history. Enormous, monolithic cathedrals and churches are plentiful in Madrid, as well as medieval architecture.

The citizens of Madrid (referred to by themselves as Madrileņos) live by a daily routine that is heavily influenced by the harsh climate. Due to the extreme heat in the middle of the day, a siesta is observed in which citizens take a break from the heat. Small stores are often closed during this time. Office workers and those more afflicted by Western lifestyles do not have observe this long break and work traditional business hours, which are usually between 9am and 6-7pm. Offices usually close during the weekend but businesses are often open saturday morning, and downtown also during the afternoon. Most grocers are closed on Sundays. Some major chain and department stores will be open througout the day, however, for example- FNAC.

Madrid possibly has the largest number of bars per capita of any European city and a very active nightlife; Madrileņos are known to stay up until even 6-8.00 A.M. It is important to note that due to their very active lifestyle, lodging located near the Gran Via can result in an aural nightmare at night; light sleepers should take heed.

Madrid has become very modernized as of late, with a very elaborate transportation network comprised of the Metro and buses. The city contrasts with some large European cities in that it is extremely clean, and city employees in bright green vests can almost always be seen cleaning the streets and sidewalks. Like most large cities, however, there is a substantial population of vagrants and beggars lining the streets.

Madrid is one of the biggest and cosmopolitan cities in Europe. Communities of West Africans, North Africans, Latin Americans, other Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Filipinos and Pakistanis are important.

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