7th International Conference on Radiation Damage in Biomolecular Systems
30 June - 4 July 2010
Thursday 1st July
10:30-13:30. Guided visit to “Madrid of the Austrias”
The history of this part of the city, and of Madrid itself, starts with the first fortified castle to be built on the banks of the River Manzanares. Constructed by the Moor emir Muhammad ben Abd al Rahman and given the arab name of Magerit (later becoming Madrid), it served as a base for the city's development. A myriad of small houses, churches and streets were built on the hills surrounding the fort, which was replaced by a gothic construction in the 15th century and finally by today's Royal Palace in the 18th century.
This area of the city is called Madrid of the Habsburgs (and also Madrid of the Austrias), since the monarchs of this dynasty helped to stimulate its development in the 16th century.
When Felipe II established his Court here in 1561, Madrid was nothing more than a small Castilian borough with a population of 20,000. Only a few decades later the population had tripled and Madrid had become the all important centre of a new and powerful empire. The aristocracy built their mansions here so as not to be distanced from the Court, the Plaza Mayor was built and the Puerta del Sol later became the geographical centre of Spain and a point of reference for all the city's vistors.
The itinerary includes visiting the most representative buildings of the area:
Stopping around Plaza San Miguel where a restored old market offers the opportunity to try representative “tapas”
Nowadays “Tapas Bar” is an international expression for bars offering beer and wine accompanied with small plates of different types of food. The translation of “tapa” to English is “cover” and its use was mandatory introduced in Spain hundreds of years ago (law promulgated in the 13th century by the king Alfonso X, known as “The Sage”). Following his own experience he recommended for health reasons to have some glasses of wine with little pieces of food between meals. The original way of serving such “free” pieces of food was on a small plate covering the glass as if they were “tapas”. Other versions claim that tapas were invented to protect the wine against dust, flies and other possible insects which were abundant that time in taverns and bars.
For a deeper understanding of this practice (”tapear”) we recommend you to continue having drinks and tapas at the numerous bars you will find along “Cava Baja” street .
Meeting point: Lobby of Florida Norte Hotel at 10:15
Friday 2nd July
10:30-12:30. Guided visit to Prado Museum
The Prado Museum is Madrid's top cultural sight, and one of the world's greatest art galleries. Located in the eponymous street, El Paseo del Prado, its dazzling display of works by the great European masters such as Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens, and Bosch (among other major Italian and Flemish artists), is housed in an 18th-century Neo-Classical building that opened as a museum in 1819.
Its name derives from the district where it is located, formerly an area of market gardens known as the "prado" or meadow. The Spanish queen at the time had been impressed with the Louvre in Paris and wanted to showcase an enormous collection in her own country. The result is several thousand works at the present time, with a recent modern extension allowing more of them to be displayed.
The sheer scale of the collection can make it daunting, so it is important to arrive with a few of the highlights in mind and concentrate on those. Perhaps the collection's most famous painting is Velazquez's "Las Meninas," showing princess Margarita and her two ladies-in-waiting as well as the artist himself with paintbrush and palette in hand. Another of his famous works, "The Triumph of Bacchus," shows the god of wine with a group of drunkards.
The other major artist of the collection is Goya, whose depiction of nudity in the painting "The Naked Maja" led him to be accused of obscenity. His works make up such a large part of the museum, that his statue stands outside the main entrance.
Another outstanding painting in the history of art is "The Garden of Delights" by Bosch, whose several other works are also represented at the Prado, as he was one of King Filipe II's favourite artists. Also look out for Rubens' "The Adoration of the Magi" and "The Three Graces," depicting three women (the Graces or the daughters of Zeus), dancing and representing Love, Joy, and Revelry.
Rembrandt is also present with his fine self-portrait and "Artemisia," the subject of which is still unclear. Another self-portrait is that of Albrecht Dürer, who painted it at the age of 26.
Meeting point: Lobby of Florida Norte Hotel at 10:15
Saturday 3rd July
20:30-23:30. Conference dinner at Palacio de La Misión
It ‘s located at the Puerta del Angel entrance of “Casa de Campo” which is the biggest park in Madrid. The building represents a typical rural construction of Extremadura but its food is a combination of traditional Spanish food with modern tendencies. The menu includes a welcome cocktail, tuna salad on Salmorejo (Andalusian) sauce, cauliflower cream, pieces of grilled Iberian pork and Catalan cream for dessert. Although it’s possible to get to the restaurant on foot from the Florida Norte hotel by crossing the Casa de Campo park (about 40 minutes walk) there is bus service for RADAM participants leaving the hotel at 8:00 and getting back about midnight.
Meeting point: Lobby of Florida Norte Hotel at 20:00