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Madrid's naval museum contains examples of the booty accumulated by Columbus and other early mariners during Spain's period of maritime expansion and an array of navigational instruments, muskets, guns and naval war paintings. Glass displays enclose primitive weapons, some of which, like the swords lined with sharks' teeth from the Gilbert Islands, promise greater damage than their Western counterparts. The most impressive room is dominated by a huge mural-map that traces the routes taken by Spain's intrepid explorers; in front of it are two equally impressive 17th-century giant globes. This same room also holds the museum's most valuable possession: the first known map of the Americas by a European - a parchment paper drawing by royal cartographer Juan de la Cosa believed to have been made for Ferdinand and Isabella in 1500. Worth a look also is the room occupied by items salvaged in 1991-3 from the Nao San Diego, which sank in the China Seas in 1600.
Paseo del Prado 5
|Transport:||Banco de España (M: L2)|
|Opening hours:||Open Tue-Sun 10am-7pm; Aug Tue-Sun 10am-3pm; closed Mon|