The Puerta del Sol (Spanish for "Gate of the Sun") is one of the best known and busiest places in Madrid. This is the centre (Km 0) of the radial network of Spanish roads. The square also contains the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of a new year. The New Year's celebration has been broadcast live on TV since 31 December 1962.
The Puerta del Sol contains a number of well known sights associated both domestically and internationally with Spain. On the south side, the old Post Office serves as the office of the President of Madrid, the head of the regional government of the Autonomous Community of Madrid (not to be confused with the Madrid City Council, which is housed elsewhere). Also on its south side, the square holds a mounted statue of Charles III of Spain, nicknamed "el rey alcalde" ("the king mayor") due to the extensive public works programme he set in motion. The famous Tio Pepe lighted sign is above the square's eastern building between the Calle de Alcalá and the Carrera de San Jerónimo. On the east side lies a statue of a bear and a madrone tree (madroño), the heraldic symbol of Madrid. Until 2009, the statue stood on the north side at the entrance to Calle del Carmen. The Mariblanca (actually Venus) marks the place of a former fountain.The Puerta is located in the very heart of Madrid. Immediately to the southwest lies the Plaza Mayor; the Palacio Real, the official home of the Royal Family, is further west. Parliament and the museum district are to the east and the train station Atocha is to the southeast.