The Metropolis Building is one of Gran Vía’s major attractions and Madrid’s landmarks. Situated at the corner of Calle Alcala and Gran Vía, this iconic structure was designed by Jules and Raymond Février in 1907 for La Union y Felix Insurance Company.
The domed tower was originally topped by the mythological figures of Phoenix and Ganymedes. In 1972, the original bronze statue was replaced by the statue of winged goddess Victoria which was designed by the Spanish sculptor Federico Coullaut-Valera Mendigutia. The tower is covered with 30,000 leaves of 24 carat gold.
The word "palace" is derived from palais – French for imperial residence and Palātium which is Latin for Palatine Hill of Rome. A palace is an official residence of a head of state, usually a monarch or a president, and in some countries a bishop or archbishop.
In Spain, palacio does not only pertain to the Royal Palace (the official residence of the Royal Family). It also applies to private mansions and palatial homes of the aristocracy and minor royalty, as well as parliaments, museums, hotels and noble mansions.
Madrid’s 9th-century Royal Palace is considered one of the best-kept palaces in Europe. There are numerous notable historical palaces around the capital.