Saturday, September 29, 2012

Exploring Madrid on a School Tour

As the capital and largest city in the Mediterranean country of Spain, Madrid is a perfect place to go on a school tour for a varied and exciting look at Spanish culture, history and art. Madrid is the third largest city in the European Union and sits in the centre of the country along the Manzanares River. One of the interesting aspects of Madrid that makes it an ideal place to visit on a school tour, is the way that it continues to progress and modernise while still maintaining the authentic look and feel of many of its ancient streets and neighbourhoods. While you are in the city, take time to visit some of the best-known and impressive landmarks such as the Royal Palace of Madrid, Almudena cathedral and the Teatro Real.

The Royal Palace of Madrid

Any school tour to the city of Madrid will take students to the Royal Palace of Madrid; it is the official home of the Spanish royal family, but is actually only used for state affairs, and the family lives in the smaller Palacio de la Zarzuela near the outskirts of the city. The palace sits on the site of a 9th century fortress and the old palace was built on the spot in the 16th century, but burned down. The current palace was built between 1738 and 1755 and is 135,000 square metres in size. A visit to the palace will take students into a fraction of its 3,418 rooms to see works of art by famous artists such as Velázquez, Goya, and Caravaggio, just to mention a few.

Almudena Cathedral

Facing the Royal Palace from across the Plaza de la Armería, is the Almudena Cathedral. When the capital of Spain moved from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, the seat of the church did not move with it and for a while Madrid was a rare capital city without a cathedral. This changed when plans for a cathedral were drawn up in the 16th century, but the building did not actually begin until 1879. The Marquis of Cubas designed and built the cathedral in a Gothic Revival style but work ceased before it was completed. In 1950, the original plans were adapted for a Baroque exterior and made to match the Royal Palace opposite. It wasn't completed until 1993, when the Pope came to Spain to consecrate it.

Teatro Real

Also known as the Royal Theatre, the Teatro Real in Madrid is one of the most important musical venues in the city. After 32 years of planning and building the Teatro Real was finally opened in 1850. After students have wandered around the Cathedral and been to the Royal Palace on their school tour, they can head to the nearby Teatro Real to take in the history of the building. Until 1925 the theatre housed the Madrid Royal Conservatory (a musical college); it was evicted due to the damage caused by the building of the metro. In 1966 the building opened as a theatre. In 1997, the building was remodelled again to house the opera and now hosts a variety of peratic and ballet performances.

Angela Bowden works for STS (School Travel Service), the UK's largest educational travel company, providing school trips for secondary schools, primary schools and colleges. A school tour with STS can encompass art/design, foreign languages, history, science/nature, geography and more, to worldwide destinations.

Article Source: