What to do on an acre (4)

Callao Square and the adjacent Gran Via area measure a bit less than 5.000 sq m (over an acre, less than an hectare).

Callao Square and the adjacent Gran Via area measure a bit less than 5.000 sq m (over an acre, less than an hectare). The orange colored area corresponds to the part recently reclaimed for pedestrians.

For a time, Callao square in Madrid was included in the Guiness Book of Records as the most used sidewalk in the world. It is located at the confluence of the Gran Vía (E-E), the large avenue opened through central Madrid at the begining of the XXth century, and the Preciados (C) and Carmen (D) streets, two narrow links to the Puerta del Sol that were pedestrianised years ago and configure the clearest retail core of Madrid. The whole area is marked by architecture from the 1910s to the 1960s, with scenic elements in Edificio Capitol (A) and what is today the FNAC (B). Not unlike Times Square, albeit on a different scale, Gran Vía concentrates the theaters with the large musicals and many cinemas (which tend to dissapear to the benefit of peripheral multiplexes), as well as a significant retail basis.

In 2009-2010 the whole square and an adjacent street are pedestrianised, removing what was basically bus stops. The newly reclaimed space has gained prominence as a location for non-permanent elements linked to retail promotion.

The Gran Vía as seen from the Corte Inglés in Callao, with the Capitol building (A on the map). The façade on the left defines the western Callao limit
The Gran Vía as seen from the Corte Inglés in Callao, with the Capitol building (A on the map). The façade on the left defines the western Callao limit
The newly pedestrianised square

The newly pedestrianised square

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