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Photographer's Note

The Puerta de Alcalá ("Alcalá Gate") is a monument in the Plaza de la Independencia ("Independence Square") in Madrid, Spain, very close to the city centre and several meters away from the main entrance to the Parque del Buen Retiro. The square is bisected by Alcalá street, although the street itself doesn't cross through the monument, and it is the origin of the Alfonso XII, Serrano and Olózaga streets. Its name originates from the old path from Madrid to the nearby town of Alcalá de Henares.

It was built by order of king Carlos III as a monumental gate in the city wall to pass the road which leads to the city of Alcalá, replacing an older, smaller, gate which stood nearby. It was inaugurated in 1778.

Notable events related to Puerta de Alcalá



•In 1823, the Puerta de Alcalá was showered by a burst of cannon shrapnel. The marks can still be seen in the present day.
•Hundreds of notable individuals, retinues and parades have passed through the arches of this gate. One of the most famous tales tells the story of the Count of Villahermosa, who passed through the gate in July 30, 1854 after having been defeated at Vicálvaro (Madrid), wielding as a trophy the spear of an enemy soldier. The madrilenians nicknamed him “Longinos” for this ostentation (like the Roman soldier whose spear is said to have pierced Christ's side).
•In March 8, 1921, at 20:20, the President of the Consejo de Ministros (Council of Ministers), Eduardo Dato Iradier, was driving his car home through Plaza de la Independencia after a long session at the parliament when three anarchist assassins driving a grey motorcycle with side-car shot him with a handgun. The President was promptly taken to the Casa de Socorro, a nearby hospital, but Dato was already dead when he arrived.
•Since the Alcalá street (crossing through the square) is still nowadays considered a cañada real (special routes for the seasonal migration of livestock), sheep flocks regularly crossed through the Puerta de Alcalá. In the present day, the practice is in disuse.
•During May and June 2001, the Puerta de Alcalá underwent a unique and very original transformation in honour of Madrid being named the "Capital Mundial del Libro" (World Book Capital). Several gardens were added to the square, surrounding the monument, and beautiful night lights, which can be seen in the image, were added.
•In 1985, Spanish singers Ana Belén and Víctor Manuel popularized a song named after this monument, making it one of their greatest hits during this and subsequent years in Spain and Latin America.

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Additional Photos by Manuel Mayorga (ManuMay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2472 W: 259 N: 4601] (36445)
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