Puerta del Sol is the absolute heart of the city. Moreover, this plaza is where 8 streets come together and is officially the centre of the nation: the ´kilometre cero´ of all the national highways, represented by a stone slab at the entrance of the Casa de Correos, as signed. The Casa de Correos is a building from 1766 the current headquarters of the Comunidad de Madrid, with its clock tower and bell that gives the 12 chimes of the New Year to all of Spain.
The area of Sol and its surroundings is a favourite for pick pockets and thieves. Special care and attention should be taken when walking through these streets; we also recommend reading our safety recommendations.
There are various places to visit in this area: in the same plaza of Puerta del Sol is the statue of the ´Oso and Madroño,` which is the emblem of the city: it appears that in the middle ages there were many bears roaming the forest surrounding the Villa. The Madroño – a tree with red fruits – is on the emblem to symbolise an agreement made in 1222 to spread the use and enjoyment of the land surrounding the Villa – its trees, hunting and grazing – between the church and council of the Villa of Madrid. The statue, at the end of calle Carmen, is the most classic meeting point of Madrid.
The streets Preciados, Arenal y Carmenthat part Sol, are pedestrian only and are the most popular shopping areas of Madrid.