By LEANNA CARROLL
Photos: L. Carroll unless stated otherwise
Madrid is a city that embodies not only a rich historico-cultural significance but also modernity. Given this, Madrid is able to create a balance that appeals to both tourists and locals alike. The Plaza de Santa Ana, located in the center of Madrid in the barrio de Las Letras, represents all of the enchantment that Madrid has to offer.
First constructed in the year 1810, the plaza was originally viewed as a center of literature and poetry. Signs of its historical importance are still evident today through various statues and styles of architecture. For example, within the plaza lies the famous Hotel Reina Victoria. At first glance, the hotel appears to be a castle, thus evoking the historicity of the plaza itself.
However, as said, the plaza has successfully been able to transition and transform throughout history and is now a modern enclave without ever losing completely that enchanting aura of bygone days.
Today, both easily accessible by Metro and located near the majority of Madrid’s most notable attractions (Retiro Park, El Mercado de San Miguel, El Museo de Prado, etc.), the Plaza de Santa Ana has become a popular day as well as night destination for all. Upon arriving in Madrid, I was surprised to find the plaza bursting so with life, even during the day which, given the time of year, was beginning to get hot. Apart from the multitude of restaurants that offer delicious drinks and tapas for lunch, the Plaza de Santa Ana was also bustling with several live performances. Actually, on any given day one is treated to a variety of musical and artistic shows. I myself have already “attended” both a live jazz performance and an artistic exhibition that involved a group of young artists painting and designing cars.
Hand in hand with the tourists who happily soak up all these touristy offerings are the inveterately hospitable Madrileños who have made the Plaza de Santa Ana part of their weekly, and even daily, routine, taking the crowds of foreign visitors around them as a matter of course. Specifically during weekend mornings, locals can be found taking a leisurely stroll through the plaza where, additionally, there’s a small, extremely colorful and vibrant playground, making the Plaza de Santa Ana perfectly suitable for children and therefore the entire family.
An inexhaustible fount of fun, it should come as no surprise that the plaza effortlessly transforms itself once the sun sets. At night, the entire mood and atmosphere changes as it becomes a center for all things nightlife. The Plaza de Santa Ana is full of bars, restaurants, and clubs that will make every night spent in Madrid memorable.
Santa Ana beckons. It is an absolute must for anyone and everyone in Madrid. It never fails to enchant. It grabs you, whether you realize it or not, whatever the time of day or night, and won’t let you say Adios. Just hasta luego.
> Hotel Reina Victoria by Zaqarbal via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0. Cropped
> Sirloin nigiri: http://myfanpug.com/lateral-entre-tradicion-y-modernidad/ CC BY SA ND 4.0 Int’l
> Plaza Santa Ana bird’s-eye view by desiii, CC BY-SA 2.0, Flickr
Plaza de Santa Ana, 28012 Madrid
Nearest Metro: Vodafone Sol
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