With 3.4 million inhabitants Madrid is the capital of Spain and its largest city. Madrid lies in the centre of Spain on the Manzanares river at about 650m of altitude. It is connected by a network of high speed trains and motorways to all major urban centres in Spain. While the area of Madrid has been settled since prehistoric times and hosted a settlement in Roman times, the current city was initially set up in the 9th century under Arabic rule. The city was conquered by the Christian kings in 1085 and has expanded ever since. It was made the capital of the Spanish empire by Felipe II in 1561. The centre of Madrid contains a number of tourist attractions such as the royal palace and gardens
, the Prado museum, the area around Cibeles square
and Alcalá street
, Plaza Mayor
and the old town
. Overall the architecture in Madrid however is more austere than the one of Barcelona
. The climate of Madrid is mediterranean continental with cold winters and hot summers.