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10 Interesting Facts about Madrid, Spain
Madrid has been officially declared as one of the "greenest" cities in Europe. However, greenery is not its only pride. There are a lot of interesting facts about the multi-cultural, second to none Madrid. Some of the unknown facts about this beautiful city are:

1. Madrid's official symbol of the bear on its hind legs eating berries from the madroño tree is a metaphor for Madrid's growth and represents possession and ownership of wood which is necessary for constructing buildings.

2. Madrid's Safari Park has a huge range of over 500 animals along with the aviary and reptile house. The most interesting event is the lion taming show which takes place on a daily basis.

3. Madrileños are often called "Gatos" (cats) not because of their late sleeping habits similar to cats, but because of the historical legend where during the Arabic invasion, an adept soldier climbed the outer walls with the agility of a cat; after which, his family assumed the name of Gato.

4. Madrid has a wonderful open-air pool, the Aquasur, with five giant slides and is a favourite hot-spot visited mostly by kids and youngsters in the summers.

5. The Royal Tapestry Factory at Madrid makes intricate, expensive and gorgeous tapestries which are usually based on cartoons by Goya and his brother-in-law Francisco Bayeu. Goya's originals have been displayed at the prestigious Prado.

6. If you have never visited a real flea market, consider the El Rastro which is open on Sundays for a great first-time experience with its array of odd objects right from junk to rare findings and paintings.

7. Madrid celebrates a Carnavale full of fun and frolic, weeks before Lent. Highlights of the Carnavale is the Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday when men in mourning bury a cardboard effigy of a sardine in a mock coffin by the riverside in remembrance of a tragic event that took place in the 18th century.

8. The Bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino) gives visitors an insight into the art - its history and changing trends in dressing style. What few people know is that it also displays the costume worn by Manolete who was gored to death at a young age in Linares's bullring.

9. Spain's answer to Disneyworld is the Warner Brothers Movie World at Madrid which is open for six months in summer and has five themed parts namely Old West Territory, Hollywood, DC Super Heroes, Cartoon Village, and Warner Bros. Studios.

10. The famed Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain's modern art museum which is home to Picasso's masterpiece 'Guernica' and pays tribute to great artists of 20th-century Spain had once been named as "the ugliest building in Spain" by Catalan architect Oriol Bohigas.
About the Author
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Madrid holiday apartments and Holiday and Vacation Rentals.
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