In the late nineteenth century, the center of Madrid was gradually becoming the financial center of the country. Most banks and large corporations were building their sites around the axis formed by the square of Puerta del Sol, Calle de Alcalá and the Paseo de Recoletos, being especially dense street location in Seville and its surroundings . In fact, the first building to be built in the area in the corner of Alcalá and Seville Street, was the headquarters of the Equitable Insurance Company. It was built between 1882 and 1891 following a design by architect José Grases Riera.
The building, a very eclectic original, stands on a very sharp triangular plot was cleverly exploited by Riera to emphasize its monumentality. As for its facade stand out especially in the form of brackets elephant head supporting the first floor balcony. It is also interesting semicircular body confluence angle, topped by a clock tower and a bandstand.
Throughout its history the main floor of the building has had various uses: until 1910 was occupied by the premises of the Casino de Madrid, later housed the Embassy of Japan, and finally, was the headquarters of the Academy of Fine Arts until his transfer to its new building on Calle Alcalá. Finally, in 1920 the Spanish Credit Bank bought the building and instructed his architect Joaquín Saldaña reform. It was in this reform when he took off his bronze sculpture of blind arch, which was replaced by a sign with the name of the bank.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.