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Source: Desert City/FB

Spain's Unique 'Desert City' Brings Cacti To Urban Madrid

By Maria Cook

Cacti and other Xerophytes (desert plants which require very little water) are some of earth's most incredible living things. From the tiny Blossfeldia liliputana, the world's smallest cactus species, which usually stands just 12-16 mm, to the mighty Saguaro, which can reach heights of nearly 50 feet, cacti vary widely in size, shape, and color. One thing they all have in common is that they are excellent at retaining water, which allows them to grow and thrive in some of the harshest desert conditions on earth. For example, after a rare desert rainfall, a fully-grown Saguaro cactus can soak up and store over 200 gallons of water.

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Such amazing plants deserve to be celebrated. Which is exactly the idea behind Madrid, Spain's "Desert City" complex. This sprawling facility, which includes over 54,000 square feet of botanical gardens, is like a museum of cacti. Visitors can walk through greenhouses, buy cacti-themed items in Desert City's shop, participate in special, cactus-centered activities and even dine at a cactus-themed restaurant inside. According to Curbed, Desert City's main building includes long glass hallways, through which indoor and outdoor gardens and other cacti displays can be comfortably viewed. Desert City's impressive greenhouse, where seedlings and other particularly fragile cacti are housed, sits beneath a unique cable tension roof.