Capital of Spain, Madrid (1990 pop. 3,120,732) is the largest city of the country. It is also the capital of the autonomous region and province of Madrid. The city of Madrid is located in the historic region of New Castile near the geographic centre of the Iberian Peninsula. Although Madrid lies as far north as New York City and Chicago, its weather is mild most of the year. Winters in Madrid are fairly temperate because the Gulf Stream brings Warm Ocean water along the western coast of Spain and Portugal, and prevailing winds pull warm air inland.
Madrid is Spain's administrative, financial, and transportation centre. The general aspect of Madrid is modern, with boulevards and fashionable shopping areas, but the old quarters have picturesque streets. Its landmarks include the huge royal palace; a restored 1850 opera house; the Buen Retiro park, opened in 1631; the imposing 19th-century building containing the national library (founded 1712), the national archives, and an archaeological museum; and three superb art museums - the Prado, which houses one of the finest art collections in the world; the Queen Sofía Museum of modern art; and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, housed in the renovated Villahermosa Palace.
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