The name behind the city…
Upon exploration of the city you will find Madrids historical and modern landmarks, the emblematic symbols that offer meaning, very often with an amazing historical story attached.
Madrid is a city to be explored and has an interesting and lengthy history dating back to prehistoric times. There are several theories as to how Madrid was named with the cities current name believed to have its origins rooted in the 2nd century BC and is an amalgamation of the various the civilisations who have occupied the land and their languages.
The Roman Empire founded a settlement on the banks of the River Manzanares and named the dwelling Matrice. Matrice is plural for the Latin word Matrix which translates to breeding female or womb. Fitting that the city is now the captial and Mother City of Spain.
During the Islamic Conquest in the 7th Century AD the name was changed to the Arabic word for a water channel, al-Majrit. Where the Palacio Real now stands once stood another palace built during the 9th Century AD by Muhammad-I on the site of a small Visigoth village. You can see archaeological artifacts that were found at the site in the The National Archaeological Museum in the Salamanca district of the city.
One particular landmark that is very relevant to another name that legend says the city was once called is the statue of El Oso y El Madrono, translated simply to be the Bear and the Strawberry Tree. Legend has it that Madrid was once known as Ursaria. When you hear this name you may think of Ursa Minor, the star constellation that is the Little Bear. It is thought that it was the son of King Tyrrbenius of Tuscany and Mantua, whose name was Ocno Bianor gave the city this name. Ursaria in Latin means Land of Bears, and the city was so named due to the amount of bears that lived in the surrounding forests. The famous statue of El Oso y El Madrono is situated in Plaza La Puerta del Sol and the bear and a strawberry tree have been the official symbol of Madrid for centuries.
So there we have it, how Madrid got its name. ..
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