“There she stands, watching time go by," belted out Spanish singer Ana Belén in 1986, with every Spanish person joining in the chorus to this song dedicated to the old city gate. This is just one token of affection that the 18th century Puerta de Alcalá has received and continues to receive. At first it received visitors from Catalonia and Aragon, but its arches have seen the political propaganda of the Civil War and the flock of sheep that used to graze here. It was Francesco Sabatini, the favoured architect of Carlos III, who gave the La Puerta de Alcalá this image. This king launched an ambitious urban development plan to bring the Spanish capital up to the same level as its European counterparts. As you'll want to take a photo, the best position is standing under the central arch with the Cybele statue and the start of the Gran Vía as the backdrop. Admire the Ionian capitals, the royal coats of arms and the lion heads decorating the monument, as well as the bullet holes of unknown origin that successive restorations have sought to preserve. Are you ready to find them? Take on your fellow travellers in a competition. The winner can suggest the next step in your Madrid tour.
10 tips to keep your hand baggage
Find out what type of packs are considered hand baggage and how to can change them so that they can go in the cabin with you during the flight.Free download