Madrid´s iconic Puerta del Sol has been given the green light for a 21st century facelift.
The public works which were first mooted in 2014 have been continually postponed through changing requirements and political priorities.
This week, Madrid´s mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, announced that the much awaited final phase of the Puerta Del Sol´s 21st century transformation will go ahead.
The renewal plan designed by the architects, José Ignacio Linazasoro and Ricardo Sánchez will see the full pedestrianisation of the area and improved access through to the recently finished refurbishment of the Sol – Alcala axis as well that of San Jeronimo.
The works will include the removal of the present “hump whale” structure of the Sol cercanias train line as well as new look entrances for the remaining metro exits to allow for greater capacity.
In addition the imposing statue of Carlos III will be moved to allow better access to the main shopping street of Preciados.
His new spot will be in front of the Real Casa de Correos overlooking a remodelled fountain which will replace the old one which will be removed.
Madrid´s statue of her symbol – El Oso y Madrono – will also be moved to be less obstructive for pedestrians.
Trees will make an appearance for the first time in decades and will line the south side of the square.
The facelift will enhance the square as Madrid´s best known and busiest area.
Its growing popularity for residents and visitors alike mean that it is too constricted in its current layout for the vast numbers that come, including for the traditional New Year´s Eve Celebrations to hear the chimes of the clock on the Correos palace every year.
As well as being Madrid´s historic centre, it is also Km 0 of the Spanish national road system.
The name derives from the original gate to enter the medieval city whose walls were demolished over time to make way for the growing population.
The current square was laid out in the 18th century, much of which was planned by Carlos III whose enlightened rule is credited with numerous reforms and improvements in the governance of Spain as well as widespread public works – including that of the Puerta del Sol – over whom he will still be keeping a watchful eye.