Centro Centro (Palacio de Cibeles)

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Newcomers to Madrid find it hard to believe that this extraordinary construction, dwarfing the Plaza de Cibeles and regularly compared to a sandcastle or a wedding cake, was once just a post office. It has also been the town hall and is currently dedicated to promoting avant-garde initiatives in the area of culture and the creative management of public spaces. It has an auditory and a café and is well placed for those visiting Madrid's Art Triangle (Thyssen-Prado-Reina Sofía). It was designed in 1904 by Antonio Palacios and Joaquín Otamendi. Completed in 1918, it is the best example of the extravagant style favoured by Madrid's elite at its most expansive. The design was influenced by Viennese art nouveau, but it also features many traditional Spanish touches, with a grand entrance (complete with oversized revolving door), a Hollywood film-set staircase, soaring ceilings, stunning columns and grand marble floors. And don't forget to make your way up to the viewpoint where you'll be treated to an unforgettable image of Madrid.

Venue name: Centro Centro (Palacio de Cibeles)
Address: Plaza de Cibeles,1
Opening hours: Exhibitions Tue-Sun 10am-8pm; viewpoint Tue-Sun 10.30am-1.30pm and 4pm-7pm.
Transport: Banco de España (M: L2)
Price: viewpoint €2; €0.50 under-12s; free first Wed of the month
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