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The Plaza Mayor was a center of commerce and municipal life as well as the scene of ceremonial events such as the proclamation of a new king and the canonization of saints.

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The restaurants in the arcaded area of the square offer traditional ambience and cuisine.

On each side of the square are arched entrances linking it with the main streets of Calle de Toledo, the Calle Mayor, and the Calle Postas.

These routes showcase the most renowned pieces in the collection including the famous painting of the Prado, Las Meninas.

This magnificent painting of the Spanish royal family of Felipe IV was created by Velázquez in 1656.

Diehard art lovers can select the full-version audio-guide tour that covers 250 works.

Tourists will also appreciate the museum's gift shop and the café with a pleasant outdoor terrace.

A masterpiece of Rococo style, the Salon de Gasparini features graceful chinoiserie, an intricately patterned marble floor, and carefully matched silk wall hangings.

The Salón del Trono (Throne Room) is adorned with frescoes by Tiepolo including , one of his finest works.

Trying to see it all in one visit can be daunting, but it's possible to focus on a specific itinerary of masterpieces.

The Prado suggests "routes" (self-guided tours) of specific works.

Today, the Plaza Mayor continues to be an important gathering place in Madrid.

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