The Plaza de Santa Ana/Huertas area lies at the heart of a triangle, bordered to the east by the Paseo del Prado, to the north by c/Alcalá and along the south by c/Atocha, with the Puerta del Sol at the western tip. The city reached this district after expanding beyond the Palacio Real and the Plaza Mayor, so the buildings date predominantly from the nineteenth century. Many of them have literary associations: there are streets named after Cervantes and Lope de Vega (where one lived and the other died), and the barrio is host to the Atheneum club, Círculo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Institute), Teatro Español and the Congreso de los Diputados (parliament). Just to the north, there is also an important museum, the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.

For most visitors, though, the major attraction is that this district holds some of the best and most beautiful bars and tascas in the city. They are concentrated particularly around Plaza de Santa Ana, which – following a rather seedy period – has been smartened up by the council.

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