The planned activities are subject to possible modifications; please check our website for updated information.
Located in a strategical enclave, at the center of the Iberian Peninsula, Madrid is no more than an hour flight to any further place of the country. Among them, it is easy to reach such emblematic cities as Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela, Bilbao, Seville, Granada or even the Portuguese cities of Porto and Lisbon. So the conference attendants will be able to take advantage of their trip to Madrid to know some of the historical places that have made Spain the third country with more UNESCO Heritage Sites.
Historic places, such as Segovia and its Roman aqueduct, Toledo with its Jewish, Islamic and Christian medieval remains or El Escorial with its Renaissance palace are all within a one-hour journey from Madrid. Gaudí's work in Barcelona, Cordoba's patios, Seville's Islamic heritage and Malaga's coast can be easily reached in less than 2,5 hours by train.
Regardless of the possibility of being able to visit these places in particular, the organizing committee of the congress intends to provide attendees with the greatest possible number of tours organized in two modalities:
Lunch tours: Short, guided visits around the city during the lunch break time on conference days. These tours will be free of charge (around 2 hours).
Post-conference tours: Half-day or full-day guided excursions after concluding the conference. These tours are ticketed events and will include transport and a catering bag for the whole day (between 6 and 10 hours).
Some of the alternatives proposed for these two different tours can be seen in the following lines. The final outline will be specified by the first days of January, 2022.
Magerit: ‘land rich in water’. This is how the Arabs called this area on the central plain of the Iberian Peninsula. The first historical record of Madrid dates back to the year 865. Some vestiges have remained from this era. On Mayor Street, there used to stand the Grand Mosque. On the site of the former mosque rose the Church of Santa María, of which some remains can still be seen. Close by, on Cuesta de la Vega, there are parts of the old arab town walls that enclosed the medina or citadel.
The Art Walk or Paseo del Arte stretches along just over one kilometre, connecting El Prado Museum, Thyssen-Bonemisza Museum and Reina Sofía Museum. El Prado walls are lined with masterpieces from Spanish masters and the Italian and Flemish schools, including Las Meninas by Velazquez. The Thyssen-Bornemisza collection traces the history of European painting from the Middle Ages through to the late 20th century, while the Reina Sofía Museum houses works by Dalí, Miró and Juan Gris as well as Picasso’s masterpiece: Guernica.
Built between 1910 and 1929, the Gran Vía shows a wide variety of architectural styles, from Art Decó to Avant-Garde rationalism. The neobaroque building of the Telefonica Company, that was at the time the first skyscraper in Europe, the Metropoli Building and the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Club). Farther towards the Plaza de España, the Gran Vía crosses a small square, the Plaza del Callao, where Capitol Building, Callao Cinema or Palacio de la Prensa Building show some of the most remarkable examples of Spanish rationalism.
The Ciudad Universitaria de Madrid (University City of Madrid), holds buildings of two universities. The campus construction began in 1929. Its premisses host some of the earliest examples of modernism in Spain, with its red brick, cubic buildings among greenery. Badly damaged during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the building designs were influenced by European avant-garde architecture of the period, and the overall layout followed the north american campus concept.
La Colina de los Chopos
At the Colina de los Chopos (Poplar Hill), that owes its name to Juan Ramón Jiménez, emerged some significant academic and research facilities. Salvador Dalí, Federico García Lorca and Luis Buñuel were just three of the young students in the Residencia de Estudiantes (Student Residence), one of the most vibrant and successful experiences of scientific and artistic creation in the early 20th century. The Residencia was also a forum for discussion and dissemination of intellectual ideas in Europe.
The Royal Heritage in Madrid bears witness of its role as seat of the monarchy since the 17th-century. Its central core owes much of its present urban scape to buildings such as the Plaza Mayor, the Plaza de la Villa, where the former town hall stands, or the Monastry of La Encarnación built under the Austrias (Habsburgs dinasty). This part of Madrid, peppered with churches and crowned by the Alcázar, was chosen by the Borbones (Bourbons dinasty) to raise the Royal Palace.
La Zarzuela Racecourse
La Zarzuela Racecourse has a long tradition as one of the capital’s most iconic sites, a leading example of Madrid’s rationalist architecture. Its grandstands, designed by the engineer Eduardo Torroja and the architects Carlos Arniches and Martín Domínguez are one of the world’s most outstanding concrete constructions of the first half of the 20th century. Built in 1931, it is now one of the most popular venues to enjoy the summer nights on the outskirts of Madrid.
While Madrid is one of the liveliests big cities, it still has some serene green spaces perfect for a relaxing stroll, jog, or even a picnic. The Botannical gardens feature almost 6,000 different plant species. The Retiro Park is Madrid’s central park placed on the grounds of the palace built as a summer residence for Felipe IV in the 17th century became a public park in the 19th century. Besides the Park you’ll find one of the most recognisable landmarks in Madrid: the Puerta de Alcalá, one of the remaining gates of the former Madrid walls.
REGIONAL POST-CONFERENCE TOURS (MID-DAY)
El Escorial, in the heart of the Guadarrama mountain range, is only 50 kilometres from Madrid. The building, which houses a monastery, a basilica, a royal palace, a pantheon, and a school, is one of the most outstanding buildings of Spanish Renaissance architecture. it was designed by Juan de Herrera and Juan Bautista de Toledo in the 16th century under the reign of King Felipe II. Since then, El Escorial has been the burial site for most of the Spanish kings of the last five centuries, Bourbons and Habsburgs.
Alcalá de Henares
Alcalá de Henares, some 30 kilometers east of Madrid, is also the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Spain’s most famous novel, Don Quixote. Its Roman past can still be seen in the street grid of the ancient Complutum. But it was its universiy – the original Universidad Complutense – which gave the city its true personlity since its foundation in 1499 by Cardinal Cisneros. Its rich monumental heritage, formed by churches, convents and university buildings, gives us a glimpse of life in Castilla during the Spanish Golden Age. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
Aranjuez, UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape, is one of the Royal Sites that King Felipe II built around Madrid to enjoy the countryside at different times of the year. Water and shade are precious in Madrid’s summer. A nice walk along the shady and cool avenues of the gardens, shrouded by ancient trees of the valley where the Rivers Tajo and Jarama meet is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon in Aranjuez.
Contemporary churches are well represented in and around Madrid. They are an excellent way of getting to know the art, architecture and history of this period. During the 1960s, religious architecture underwent significant changes after the revision of catholic liturgy promoted by the Second Vatican Council. Those changes are reflected in some brilliant temples built in Madrid in the decades that followed the Spanish Civil War. The churches of the Theological College of the Dominicos by Miguel Fisac, the Hispanic American church of La Merced, by Luis Laorga and Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza, or Our Lady of La Luz, by José Luis Fernández del Amo best showcase the Spanish interpretation of Modernism in the second half of the 20th century.
Urban Expansions (Ensanches)
Urban expansion in Madrid in the last decade has been taking place through newly planned neighborhoods that have allowed both star architects and younger professionals to test their skills on new ground. These new residential areas have performed as a testing ground for new ideas on architecture and urbanism. The Eco-Boulevard in Vallecas, by Ecosistema Urbano, Mirador building in Sanchinarro, by the Dutch team MVRDV, social housing schemes by international firms as well as other local architects make of Madrid’s extension a museum of contemporary architecture
Madrid’s cemeteries are a portrait of its history. Planned mainly during the 19th century, they were part of the major transformations of the city underwent to become a modern capital. There are several cemeteries in Madrid, being the main one the Cementerio de la Almudena. In the Eastern part of Madrid, it was designed as a stepped hill in the form of a cross, that was to be outlined by extensive porticoes. A lot of Madrid’s history has passed through the modernist gates of the cemetery since they started burying people there during a cholera outbreak in 1884. From Neoclassicism to Modernism, Madrid’s necropolis make a significant part of the cultural heritage of the region, key to know the Spanish sculpture and architecture around the 1900s.
NATIONAL POST-CONFERENCE TOURS (FULL-DAY)
Known as the ‘city of the three cultures’, because Christian, Arabs and Jews lived together there for cen- turies, behind its walls Toledo preserves an artistic and cultural legacy of great diversity that makes the old quarter of the city a real open-air museum, which has led to it being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with paintings by El Greco, outstanding samples of medieval architecture bear witness to the intricate history of Spain’s former capital. Its silouethe is dominated by the Alcázar and the Cathedral. Churchs of Cristo de la Luz and San Juan de los Reyes are further highlights of an unforgettable visit.
Segovia´s old quarter is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its architecture ranges from Roman remains to Baroque churches and it is only one-hour drive away from Madrid. Its famous Roman Aqueduct has been presiding its main square for over 2,000 years, in one of the best-kept examples of its type. This engineering gem, built under the Roman Empire (1st century AD), carried water to the elevated city from some 15 km away. Its 163 arches and its height, some 29 meters at its higest point, are supported by blocks of stone from the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains that are completely plaster, lead and mortar free. The late-gothic Cathedral, the medieval fortess, the Alcázar rises out on a rocky outcropping above the river valley where a series of Romanesque churches are scattered in the surrounding landscape.
Córdoba is situated in the interior of Andalucia. This thousand-year-old city, which has the World Heritage designation, is a living legacy of the different cultures that settled here throughout its history. Not many places in the world can say they have been capital under the Roman Empire and under the Umayyad Caliphate. Embedded in a laberynth of narrow streets and beautiful patios is the great Mosque and Cathedral, where architects incorporated Roman columns and Gothic capitals next to its famous red and white double arches, reflects the importance of the city in the Middle Ages, and is the symbol of the city.
Málaga is only 2,5 hours away from Madrid with the high-speed train. The most important Mediterranean civilisations, as Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, found in Málaga an exceptional place in which to establish trade routes, thanks to the strategic location of its port. Historic Málaga hosts a whole array of typical sites and corners, such as the Plaza de la Merced, where the house in which the famous painter Pablo Picasso was born is located. The cultural offer is completed by the new Centre Pompidou, focused on modern art, and the Carmen Thyssen Museum, specialized in Spanish painting from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Alcazaba and Gibralfaro castle both grant a glimpse into Islamic architecture.
City of Aranjuez
Aranjuez’s visit to the gardens can be extended to its palace and adjoining cityscape. The city evolved around the Royal Palace, which lays on the banks of the Tajo River. The ideas of the Enlightenment, adapted to the urban development of cities, are embodied here in a balance between nature and man. The site bears witness to the engineering feat to manage the watercourses to supply both city and gardens. One of the jewels of this town, and the origin of its splendour, is its Royal Palace. The current appearance is the result of reconstructions and additions with the work of Juan Bautista de Toledo, Juan de Herrera and Francisco Sabatini. The visit of the premisses complements that of the gardens, which has been organized as a half-day tour.
Salamanca, known as the Golden City, is one of the country’s best examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture. In its heyday it was one of the most highly regarded European universities. In the 15th century, Salamanca saw the production of the first Grammar of the Castilian Language, which would become an essential tool for its expansion throughout the world. The Plaza Mayor, designed by Alberto de Churriguera in 1729 and completed in 1755 is a baroque square following the idea of an enclosed, uniform outdoor space as in the Places Royals in Paris. Both Cathedrals, the Old Romanesque and the New, built through 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in a combination of Gothic, Plateresque and Baroque styles, are part of the most splendid buildings of its kind.