Notes on the Geography of Spain: Madrid: Photo 56
The bank buildings of the Alcala can be seen in the far distance, as Alcala leaves the Puerta del Sol. The name Sol comes perhaps from a vanished gate with a picture of the sun. Sol was in any case rebuilt about 1860 and is now fan shaped, with the curved edge shown here. Ford, who saw it before the reshaping, called it the heart of the city, "where all the greater arteries of circulation meet and diverge." Mackenzie says the same: "Go where you will, almost, you must pass through the gate of the Sun, for here you can choose a street that will lead you directly to the place of which you are in search; and, put yourself into any street in the extremities of the city, it is sure to discharge you here. In this way all Madrid passes daily through this centre of circulation; so a that a stranger may station himself here and see the population of the whole capital passing, as it were, in review before him" (I, 131).
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