The Puerta del Sol, or “Gate of the Sun”, is the center of life in Madrid and the symbolic center of Spain. The radial network of Spanish roads begins here, with just about every Spanish road (and all of the 250 bus lines in the city) measuring distances from here, but it is more commonly known for its social elements.
Originally one of the gates in the city wall that surrounded Madrid in the 15th century, in the subsequent decades and centuries it became the place where people gathered to hear the latest news and gossip (after all, Twitter wasn’t around in the 17th century). While it no longer serves this purpose today, it has remained the place where Madrilenos meet up. The square also hosts a large New Years Eve celebration (The Eating of Twelve Grapes) and just about any political rallies that take place in Spain.