Madrid (pronounced: “mah-DRID” or /məˈdrɪd/) is the capital and largest city of Spain. Madrid is in the middle of Spain, in the Community of Madrid. The Community is a large area that includes the city as well as small towns and villages outside the city. 7 million people live in the Community. More than 3 million live in the city itself. It is the largest city of Spain and, at 655 m (2,100 ft) above sea level, the highest capital of any European country. It is the third largest city in the European Union. As it is the capital city, Madrid is where the monarch lives and also where the government meets. Madrid is the financial centre of Spain. Many large businesses have their main offices there. It has four important footballs teams, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Getafe, and Rayo Vallecano. People who live in Madrid are called madrileños.
Madrid was ruled by the Romans from the 2nd century. After AD 711 it was occupied by the Moors. In 1083 Spain was ruled again by Spaniards. Catholic kings ruled the country. By the mid-16th century it had become the capital of a very large empire. Spain was ruled by monarchs from the House of Habsburg, then the House of Bourbon. After the Spanish Civil War it was ruled by a dictator until the mid-1970s when it became a democracy.
Although it is a modern city, a lot of its history can be seen and felt as one walks along the streets and in the large squares of the city. There are beautiful parks, famous buildings, art galleries and concert halls.