Ciudad Real is a small town with less than 70,000 inhabitants that is peaceful and welcoming. The connections to Madrid are very convenient (less than an hour by high-speed train) and it is also possible to walk almost everywhere. The almost 9,000 students of the university give the town of Ciudad Real a youthful atmosphere. Major monuments are the gothic-style Cathedral of Nuestra Señora del Prado, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in 1088. It has a magnificent Renaissance style altarpiece displaying a sculpture of the Virgin of Prado in the centre, the patron saint of Ciudad Real.