The gate, a monument in the neo-Classical style, was built in 1778, during the rule of the King of Spain, Carlos III. Its construction was meant to improve the main entrance to the city from the direction of the town of Alcalá de Henares
A quick look at the gate will reveal bullet holes from gun hits, which occurred in 1823. This happened when the gate was hit by shell fragments in the French battles in Spain.
With the years, the famous gate has entered Spain's personal musical Pantheon. In 1986 this happened with the composition of "La Puerta de Alcalá," a huge hit of the successful Spanish singer Ana Belen.
Carlos III wanted to update the gate to the city, and to upgrade it in the Prado area. Then in the 18th century, that area is the eastern side and the start of the new Madrid. It took 9 years to build the gate, and in 1778 work was completed. Pretty soon it became one of the symbols of modern Madrid of the time.
Like many Spanish cities, the gate was damaged during different wars conducted in its lifetime, and since its construction, signs of damage can be seen to this day. The first damages occurred in battles conducted by the French in Spain in 1823. The gate was damaged again in the Spanish Civil War that occurred between the years 1936 to 1939.
The gate was designed and planned by Sabatini, the 8th architect who was directed to plan the gate by the King of Spain, Carlos III.
The Puerta de Alcalá includes 5 arches. Three of the arches were meant for passing carriages and horses. The two smaller ones, with a square-like shape, were for pedestrians.
At the head of the gate is the statue of Francisco Gutierrez, and at the head of each arch is a head of a lion, sculpted by the artist Roberto Michel.