AZCA Commercial Area
This strangely named area in the north of Madrid is the city's skyscraper zone,
although it is fast becoming superceded by the new
Cuatro Torres Business Area.
AZCA is an acronym for its very long designation as a commercial district,
namely: Asociación Mixta de Compensación de la Manzana A de la Zona Comercial de la Avenida del Generalísimo
(Mixed Association for Compensation of the A Block of the Commercial Area of the Avenue of the Generalissimo), although the Generalissimo Avenue has now been renamed to the Paseo de la Castellana.
It is situated between Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, Orense, General Perón and Paseo de la Castellana. Metro stations within the zone are Santiago Bernabéu, Nuevos Ministerios, Cuzco and Plaza de Castilla, all on Line 10.
What has become Madrid's main financial district was first conceived in 1946, when urban improvement plans were laid to expand into the northern part of the city close to the new Government complex at Nuevos Ministerios, and effectively create a modern city within a city by providing an area of modern office buildings connected by rail and metro. It was to include residential areas, shops and offices, as well as an opera house, library, and even a botanical garden. The latter three were never actually built, but the zone itself did materialise, albeit rather later, in the 1970s.
Hotels & Apartments Near the AZCA Business district:
Madrid's tallest and most impressive tower blocks dominate the zone. The BBVA building, headquarters of the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, was built in 1980 to a design by the Spanish architect Francisco Javier Saenz de Oiza, and is 107 metres high. The Torre Europa is slightly higher at 121 metres, with 30 storeys, but it suffered damage during a car-bomb attack in front of the building in 2002.
The tallest tower of the district, however, at 157 metres and with 43 floors, is the
Picasso Tower, named after one of Spain's most famous artists, and designed by the same Japanese architect as New York's original Twin Towers, Minoru Yamasaki. When it was first built in 1989, the tower was also the tallest in Spain.
Perhaps the most unusual of the buildings around the zone are the Torres Kio in Plaza de la Castilla, which inclined inwards towards one another at an angle of 15 degrees, to form the Puerta de Europa (Gateway to Europe). They take their popular name from their promoters, the Kuwait Investments Office.
By far the most famous building of the zone, however, is the
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home to
Real Madrid football club, with a capacity of 80,400. Real Madrid's success in Europe and the world, has made the stadium an important landmark.
It was originally built in 1947, and has been expanded several times since. The nearest metro station to the stadium is Santiago Bernabéu on Line 10, and bus numbers 14, 27, 40, 43, 120, 147 & 150 will also take you there.
AZCA is also home to several bars, pubs, restaurants and the
occasional discotheque. Going past the buildings lining the streets that
limit this area, and to the inner zone, several of these establishments
can be found under the arches or on the ground floors of the buildings.