Royal Palace of Madrid
Overview
 
The Palacio Real de Madrid (The Royal Palace of Madrid) is the official residence
Official residence
An official residence is the residence at which heads of state, heads of government, gubernatorial or other senior figures officially reside...

 of the King of Spain in the city of Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, but it is only used for state ceremonies. King Juan Carlos
Juan Carlos I of Spain
Juan Carlos I |Italy]]) is the reigning King of Spain.On 22 November 1975, two days after the death of General Francisco Franco, Juan Carlos was designated king according to the law of succession promulgated by Franco. Spain had no monarch for 38 years in 1969 when Franco named Juan Carlos as the...

 and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela
Palacio de la Zarzuela
Zarzuela Palace is the principal residence of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia and their family. The palace is on the outskirts of Madrid, near the Royal Palace of El Pardo. The complex also houses the official residence of the Prince and Princess of Asturias in a nearby mansion...

 on the outskirts of Madrid. The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional
Patrimonio Nacional
The Consejo de Administración del Patrimonio Nacional is a Spanish state agency, under the jurisdiction of the Minister of the Presidency by delegation of the Prime Minister of Spain, that administers the sites owned by the Spanish...

, a public agency of the Ministry of the Presidency.
Encyclopedia
The Palacio Real de Madrid (The Royal Palace of Madrid) is the official residence
Official residence
An official residence is the residence at which heads of state, heads of government, gubernatorial or other senior figures officially reside...

 of the King of Spain in the city of Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, but it is only used for state ceremonies. King Juan Carlos
Juan Carlos I of Spain
Juan Carlos I |Italy]]) is the reigning King of Spain.On 22 November 1975, two days after the death of General Francisco Franco, Juan Carlos was designated king according to the law of succession promulgated by Franco. Spain had no monarch for 38 years in 1969 when Franco named Juan Carlos as the...

 and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela
Palacio de la Zarzuela
Zarzuela Palace is the principal residence of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia and their family. The palace is on the outskirts of Madrid, near the Royal Palace of El Pardo. The complex also houses the official residence of the Prince and Princess of Asturias in a nearby mansion...

 on the outskirts of Madrid. The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional
Patrimonio Nacional
The Consejo de Administración del Patrimonio Nacional is a Spanish state agency, under the jurisdiction of the Minister of the Presidency by delegation of the Prime Minister of Spain, that administers the sites owned by the Spanish...

, a public agency of the Ministry of the Presidency. The palace is located on Calle de Bailén (Bailén Street), in the Western part of downtown Madrid, East of the Manzanares River, and is accessible from the Ópera metro
Madrid Metro
The Madrid Metro is a metro system serving the city of Madrid, capital of Spain. The system is the sixth longest metro in the world though Madrid is approximately the fiftieth most populous metropolitan area in the world...

 station. The palace is partially open to public, except when it is being used for official business.

In Spanish it is sometimes incorrectly called "Palacio de Oriente" by confusion with the "Plaza de Oriente", the square which is on the East (Oriental) side of the palace.

The palace is on the site of a 9th-century fortress, called mayrit, constructed as an outpost by Muhammad I of Córdoba
Muhammad I of Córdoba
Muhammad I was the Umayyad emir of Córdoba from 852 to 886 in the Al-Andalus .-Biography:Muhammad was born in Córdoba...

 and inherited after 1036 by the independent Moorish
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 Taifa of Toledo
Taifa of Toledo
The taifa of Toledo was a Muslim medieval kingdom located in what is now central Spain. It existed from the fracturing of the long-eminent Muslim Caliphate of Córdoba in 1035 until the Christian conquest in 1085.-History:...

. After Madrid fell to Alfonso VI of Castile
Alfonso VI of Castile
Alfonso VI , nicknamed the Brave or the Valiant, was King of León from 1065, King of Castile and de facto King of Galicia from 1072, and self-proclaimed "Emperor of all Spain". After the conquest of Toledo he was also self-proclaimed victoriosissimo rege in Toleto, et in Hispania et Gallecia...

 in 1085, the edifice was only rarely used by the kings of Castile. In 1329, King Alfonso XI of Castile
Alfonso XI of Castile
Alfonso XI was the king of Castile, León and Galicia.He was the son of Ferdinand IV of Castile and his wife Constance of Portugal. Upon his father's death in 1312, several disputes ensued over who would hold regency, which were resolved in 1313...

 convoked the cortes of Madrid for the first time. Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 moved his court to Madrid in 1561.

The old Alcázar
Royal Alcazar of Madrid
The Royal Alcázar of Madrid was a Muslim fortress built in the second half of the 9th century, at the site of today's Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid, Spain. The structure was extended and enlarged over the centuries, particularly after the 16th century...

("Castle") was built on the location in the 16th century. It burned down on December 24, 1734; King Philip V
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

 ordered a new palace built on the same location. Construction spanned the years 1738 to 1755 and followed a Berniniesque design by Filippo Juvarra
Filippo Juvarra
Filippo Juvarra was an Italian architect and stage set designer.-Biography:Filippo Juvarra was an Italian Baroque architect working in the early part of the eighteenth century. He was born in Messina, Sicily, to a family of goldsmiths and engravers...

 and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo , also known as Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo, was an Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice...

 in cooperation with Ventura Rodríguez
Ventura Rodríguez
Ventura Rodríguez Tizón was a Spanish architect and artist. Born at Ciempozuelos, Rodríguez was the son of a bricklayer. In 1727, he collaborated with his father in the work at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez.-Major works:...

, Francesco Sabatini
Francesco Sabatini
Francesco Sabatini , also known as Francisco Sabatini, was an Italian architect of the 18th century who worked in Spain.-Biography:Born in Palermo, he studied architecture in Rome...

, and Martín Sarmiento
Martín Sarmiento
Martín Sarmiento or Martiño Sarmiento, also Father Sarmiento , was a Spanish scholar, writer and Benedictine monk, illustrious representative of the Enlightenment in Spain.He wrote on a wide variety of subjects, including Literature, Medicine, Botany,...

. The new palace was occupied by Charles III
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

 in 1764.

The last monarch who lived continuously in the palace was Alfonso XIII
Alfonso XIII of Spain
Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until 1931. His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, was appointed regent during his minority...

, although Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña
Manuel Azaña Díaz was a Spanish politician. He was the first Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic , and later served again as Prime Minister , and then as the second and last President of the Republic . The Spanish Civil War broke out while he was President...

, president of the Second Republic, also inhabited on it, making him the last head of state to do so. During that period the palace was known as "Palacio Nacional". There is still a room next to the Real Capilla, which is known by the name "Office of Azaña".

The palace has 135000 square metres (161,458.7 sq yd) of floorspace and contains 2800 rooms. It is the largest palace in Europe. The interior of the palace is notable for its wealth of art, in regards to the use of all kinds of fine materials in its construction and the decoration of its rooms with artwork of all kinds, including paintings by artists such as Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

, Velázquez
Diego Velázquez
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist...

 and Francisco de Goya and frescoes by Corrado Giaquinto
Corrado Giaquinto
Corrado Giaquinto was an Italian Rococo painter.-Early training and move to Rome:He was born in Molfetta. As a boy he apprenticed with a modest local painter Saverio Porta, , escaping the religious career his parents had intended for him...

, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo , also known as Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo, was an Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice...

 and Anton Raphael Mengs
Anton Raphael Mengs
Anton Raphael Mengs was a German painter, active in Rome, Madrid and Saxony, who became one of the precursors to Neoclassical painting.- Biography :Mengs was born in 1728 at Ústí nad Labem in Bohemia...

. Other collections of great historical and artistic importance that are preserved in the building are the Royal Armoury, Porcelain, Watches, Furniture and Silverware. Currently, the Patrimonio Nacional
Patrimonio Nacional
The Consejo de Administración del Patrimonio Nacional is a Spanish state agency, under the jurisdiction of the Minister of the Presidency by delegation of the Prime Minister of Spain, that administers the sites owned by the Spanish...

, an autonomous body under the Ministry of the Presidency, manages the care of public property in the service of the Crown, including the Royal Palace.

History of the building

The direct antecedent of the Royal Palace is the Royal Alcazar, a fortress built on the same site where the baroque building stands today. Its structure was the subject of several reforms (especially the facade), because King Henry III of Castile
Henry III of Castile
Henry III KG , sometimes known as Henry the Sufferer or Henry the Infirm , was the son of John I and Eleanor of Aragon, and succeeded him as King of the Castilian Crown in 1390....

 made it one of the most popular residences, and thus, the site gets the adjective "real", or "royal" in English. His son John II
John II of Castile
John II was King of Castile from 1406 to 1454.He was the son of Henry III of Castile and his wife Catherine of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster by Constance of Castile, daughter of King Peter of Castile.-Regency:He succeeded his father on 25 December 1406, at the age of...

 built the Capilla Real and several dependencies. However, during the War of the Castilian Succession
War of the Castilian Succession
The War of the Castilian Succession was the military conflict contested from 1475 to 1479 for the succession of the Crown of Castile fought between the supporters of Juana la Beltraneja, daughter of the late monarch Henry IV of Castile, and those of Henry's half sister, Isabella, who was ultimately...

 (1476) the troops of Joanna la Beltraneja were besieged in the Alcázar, causing severe damage to the royal building.

Under the Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

, enthroned in 1516, the Emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 undertook a major restoration of the Alcázar, to Renaissance
Architecture of the Spanish Renaissance
Renaissance architecture was that style of architecture which evolved firstly in Florence and then Rome and other parts of Italy as the result of Humanism and a revived interest in Classical architecture...

 features unambiguous in order to transform the outdated medieval residence into a palace suitable for his court. Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 continued the work and showed special emphasis on the decoration of the building, which hired craftsmen from Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. However, the most important contributions of this monarch were the Golden Tower and the Royal Armory, demolished in 1894. The Habsburgs (Philip III
Philip III of Spain
Philip III , also known as Philip the Pious, was the King of Spain and King of Portugal and the Algarves, where he ruled as Philip II , from 1598 until his death...

, Philip IV
Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV was King of Spain between 1621 and 1665, sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands, and King of Portugal until 1640...

 and Charles II
Charles II of Spain
Charles II was the last Habsburg King of Spain and the ruler of large parts of Italy, the Spanish territories in the Southern Low Countries, and Spain's overseas Empire, stretching from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies...

) continued the project of Philip II, particularly related to the trace of the building and the facades.

Philip V of Bourbon
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

 came to the throne of Spain in 1700. The alcázar of the Habsburgs, austere in comparison to the French palace where the new king had grown again, went through several reforms led by Teodoro Ardemans
Teodoro Ardemans
Teodoro de Ardemans was a Spanish architect and painter.He was a disciple of the painter Claudio Coello, although he mainly practiced architecture; the municipality of Toledo named him master of the Cathedral of Toledo. In 1702, King Philip V of Spain named him to succeed José del Olmo as the...

 and René Carlier. On the other hand, the main rooms have been redecorated to the French taste by the Queen Maria Luisa of Savoy
Maria Luisa of Savoy
Maria Luisa of Savoy was a Savoyard princess and the first wife of Philip V of Spain. She acted as Regent of Spain and had great influence over her husband...

 and the Princess of Ursins.

Do not know many details of the inner side of the enclosure; but yes know lots of documentation about its plant and exterior, like a drawing made in 1534 by Cornelius Vermeyen. It was a rectangular building, medieval appearance and is structured around various dependencies like the Capilla Real de los Trastámara, the Patio del Rey to the west and the Patio de la Reina to the east. Its patios (courtyards) were open to the public for many years and these were allowed the installation of markets. It also highlights the picture gallery of the alcázar, with works by Tintoretto
Tintoretto
Tintoretto , real name Jacopo Comin, was a Venetian painter and a notable exponent of the Renaissance school. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Furioso...

, Veronese
Paolo Veronese
Paolo Veronese was an Italian painter of the Renaissance in Venice, famous for paintings such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi...

, Ribera, Bosch, Sánchez Coello
Alonso Sánchez Coello
Alonso Sánchez Coello was a portrait painter of the Spanish Renaissance and one of the pioneers of the great tradition of Spanish portrait painting.- Life :...

, Van Dyck
Anthony van Dyck
Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next...

, El Greco
El Greco
El Greco was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. "El Greco" was a nickname, a reference to his ethnic Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος .El Greco was born on Crete, which was at...

, Annibale Carracci
Annibale Carracci
Annibale Carracci was an Italian Baroque painter.-Early career:Annibale Carracci was born in Bologna, and in all likelihood first apprenticed within his family...

, Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, Guido Reni
Guido Reni
Guido Reni was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style.-Biography:Born in Bologna into a family of musicians, Guido Reni was the son of Daniele Reni and Ginevra de’ Pozzi. As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. Soon after, he was joined in that...

, Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

, Jacopo Bassano
Jacopo Bassano
Jacopo Bassano , known also as Jacopo dal Ponte, was an Italian painter who was born and died in Bassano del Grappa near Venice, from which he adopted the name.- Life :...

 and Correggio, many which were lost in the disaster of 1734.

The baroque palace

Christmas Eve of 1734 the alcázar was destroyed by a fire originating in the rooms of the French painter Jean Ranc
Jean Ranc
Jean Ranc was a French painter, mainly active in portraiture. He trained under his father Antoine Ranc and his father's former student Hyacinthe Rigaud and served in the courts of both Louis XV of France and Philip V of Spain.- Early life:Ranc "the younger" was the son of the renowned provincial...

. It failed to be detected in time, due the warning bells being confused with the call to mass. For fear of looting, the doors of the building remained closed, hampering the inevitable evacuation of the precinct. Many paintings were lost,such as the Expulsion of the Moors, by Diego Velázquez
Diego Velázquez
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist...

. Others, such as Las Meninas
Las Meninas
Las Meninas is a 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age, in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. The work's complex and enigmatic composition raises questions about reality and illusion, and creates an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figures...

, were rescued by being thrown through the windows. However, shortly before the fire, the king ordered that much of his collection was moved to the Buen Retiro Palace
Buen Retiro Palace
Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid was a large palace complex designed by the architect Alonso Carbonell and built on the orders of Philip IV of Spain as a secondary residence and place of recreation . It was built in what was then the eastern limits of the city of Madrid...

. This fire wiped out the old Alcázar, whose last walls were finally demolished in 1738.

Filippo Juvarra
Filippo Juvarra
Filippo Juvarra was an Italian architect and stage set designer.-Biography:Filippo Juvarra was an Italian Baroque architect working in the early part of the eighteenth century. He was born in Messina, Sicily, to a family of goldsmiths and engravers...

 was responsible for directing the work on the new palace. The Italian devised a monumental project of enormous proportions, which was not realized because of the inopportune death of the artist. Giambattista Sacchetti also known as Juan Bautista Sacchetti or Giovanni Battista Sacchetti, disciple of Juvarra, was chosen to continue the work of his mentor. A raised square structure centered by a large square patio and solving the different angles with outgoing bodies.

In 1760 Charles III
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

 called on Sicilian Francesco Sabatini
Francesco Sabatini
Francesco Sabatini , also known as Francisco Sabatini, was an Italian architect of the 18th century who worked in Spain.-Biography:Born in Palermo, he studied architecture in Rome...

, an architect of classicist
Classicism
Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, "if we object to his restraint...

 taste that permeated the works of the palace, who was commissioned to enlarge the building. The original idea was to frame the Plaza de la Armería with a series of galleries and arcades which would accommodate the different dependencies and the construction of two wings over the same square, of which only one was completed; the extension of the southeast tower known as «ala de San Gil». Moreover, he also planned to extend the north side by a large building that echoed the same style of the building and included three square courtyards in size somewhat smaller than the large central courtyard. The works of this expansion started quickly but were soon interrupted, leaving its foundations buried under a platform from which the royal stables were later built, these were demolished in the 20th century and replaced by the Sabatini Gardens
Sabatini Gardens
thumb|350px|right|Sabatini Gardens, with the Royal Palace.The Sabatini Gardens are part of the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, and were opened to the public by King Juan Carlos I in 1978...

. Thus, the palace began to be inhabited in 1764.

Ferdinand VII, who spent many years imprisoned in the Château de Valençay
Château de Valençay
Château de Valençay is a residence of the d'Estampes and Talleyrand-Périgord families in the commune of Valençay, the Indre département of France. Although geographically it is part of the province of Berry, its architecture invites comparison with the Renaissance châteaux of the Loire Valley,...

, began the most thorough renovation of the palace in the 19th century. The aim of this reform was to turn the old-fashioned Italian style building in a modern French style palace. However, his grandson Alfonso XII
Alfonso XII of Spain
Alfonso XII was king of Spain, reigning from 1874 to 1885, after a coup d'état restored the monarchy and ended the ephemeral First Spanish Republic.-Early life and paternity:Alfonso was the son of Queen Isabella II of Spain, and...

 was poised to turn the palace into a Victorian style
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 residence. The works were designed by the architect José Segundo de Lema and consisted in the empowerment of several rooms, replacing marble floors for parquet and the addition of period furniture.

Exterior of the palace

The main facade of the Palace was built on a base pad, on which rises a series of big Tuscan pillars. It is also adorned with a series of statues of saints and kings, relocated under the reign of Charles III to give to the gates of the recint a classicist touch.

At the time, Italian Sachetti decided fourteen vases and placed at the corners statues of the Aztec tlatoani
Tlatoani
Tlatoani is the Nahuatl term for the ruler of an altepetl, a pre-Hispanic state. The word literally means "speaker", but may be translated into English as "king". A is a female ruler, or queen regnant....

 Moctezuma II
Moctezuma II
Moctezuma , also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520...

 and the Inca Atahualpa
Atahualpa
Atahualpa, Atahuallpa, Atabalipa, or Atawallpa , was the last Sapa Inca or sovereign emperor of the Tahuantinsuyu, or the Inca Empire, prior to the Spanish conquest of Peru...

, works by Juan Pascual de Mena and Domingo Martínez, respectively. Near the Tuscan columns are representations of Honorius
Honorius (emperor)
Honorius , was Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423. He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the eastern emperor Arcadius....

, Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

, Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 and Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

. A medallion with classical figures topped the set.

On the southern front were placed the statues of Philip V, Maria Luisa of Savoy
Maria Luisa of Savoy
Maria Luisa of Savoy was a Savoyard princess and the first wife of Philip V of Spain. She acted as Regent of Spain and had great influence over her husband...

 and Elisabeth Farnese, and that of Ferdinand VI and his wife Barbara of Portugal
Barbara of Portugal
Barbara of Portugal was an Infanta of Portugal and later Queen of Spain as wife of Ferdinand VI of Spain.-Life in Portugal:...

. Also found flanking both sculptural series an allusion to Zodiac
Zodiac
In astronomy, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude which are centred upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year...

 of the Greeks.

Is remarkable the intervention of Juan Domingo Olivieri and his workshop, who labored more than half of the sculptures that adorned the palace at the time of Ferdinand VI. It was also the author of many heads of mask and other allegorical figures of Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, that not occupied a place as visible as other works.

Plaza de la Armería

The square as we see it now was laid out in 1892, according to a project by the architect Enrique María Repullés.
However, the history of this square dates back to 1553, the year in which Philip II ordered a building to house the royal stables. Renovated in 1670 by José del Olmo, the building survived until 1884, when it had to be demolished after a fire.

The Almudena Cathedral faces the palace across the square. Its exterior is neo-classical to match its surroundings while its interior is neo-gothic. Construction was funded by King Alfonso XII to house the remains of his wife Mercedes of Orléans
Mercedes of Orléans
Maria de la Mercedes of Orléans was Queen Consort of Spain, the first wife of Alfonso XII. She was born in Madrid, Spain, the daughter of Antoine of Orléans, Duke of Montpensier and of Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain....

. The works of construction of the temple began in 1878 and concluded in 1992.

Narciso Pascual Colomer, the same architect who crafted the Plaza de Oriente, designed the layout of the plaza in 1879, but failed to materialize.
The site now occupied by the Plaza de la Armería was used for many decades as anteplaza de armas. Sachetti tried to build a cathedral to finish the cornice of the Manzanares, and Sabatini proposed to unite this building with the royal palace, to form a single block. Both projects were ignored by Charles III.

Ángel Fernández de los Ríos in 1868 proposed the creation of a large wooded area that would travel all around the Plaza de Oriente, in order to give a better view of the Royal Palace. A decade later Segundo de Lema added a staircase to the original design of Fernández, which led to the idea of ​​Francisco de Cubas to give more importance to the emerging church of Almudena.

Plaza de Oriente

It is a rectangular square of curved header, of monumental character, whose final layout responds to a design in 1844 by Pascual y Colomer. One of its main proponents was King Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte was the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily , and later King of Spain...

, who ordered the demolition of the medieval houses located on its site.

Plaza de Oriente is rectangular, although his head located to east, forming a closed curve, headed by the Teatro Real
Teatro Real
The Teatro Real or simply El Real , is a major opera house located in Madrid, Spain.-History:...

. It can distinguish three main plots: the Central Gardens, the Cabo Noval Gardens and the Lepanto Gardens.

The Central Gardens are arranged around the central monument to Philip IV
Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV was King of Spain between 1621 and 1665, sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands, and King of Portugal until 1640...

, in a grid, following the barroque model garden. They consist of seven flowerbeds, each packed with box hedges, forms of cypress, yew and magnolia
Magnolia
Magnolia is a large genus of about 210 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. It is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol....

 of small size, and flower plantations, temporary. These are bounded on either side by rows of statues paths, popularly known as the Gothic kings, acting as line of division of the other two quadrants.

The square houses a sculpture collection of twenty Spanish kings corresponding to five Visigoth kings and fifteen kings of the early Christians kingdoms in the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

. These statues, made ​​of limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

, are distributed in two rows that cross the recint toward east-west, on both sides of the Central Gardens. Known popularly as the «Gothic kings», mark the dividing line between the main body of the plaza and the Cabo Noval Gardens at north, and the Lepanto Gardens at south. The group of statues is part of a series dedicated to all monarchs of Spain, ordered to make for the decoration of the Royal Palace of Madrid during the reign of Ferdinand VI. Were executed between 1750 and 1753.

Campo del Moro Gardens

These gardens are named after allegedly camped in this place the troops of the Muslim leader Ali ben Yusuf in 1109 during an attempted reconquest of Madrid. The first works to condition the area are due to Philip IV, whose reign it were built fountains and planted different kinds of vegetation, but the overall look of the place remained largely neglected. During the construction of the new palace were various landscaping projects based in the gardens of the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, but there was no doing anything due the lack of funds, not being until the reign of Isabel II in which started a landscaping more seriously. At this time it design a big park of Romanticist style and were installed fountains brought from the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. With the fall of Isabel II the gardens suffer a period of abandonment and neglect in which it lose a part of the design and not until the regency of Maria Christina of Austria
Maria Christina of Austria
Maria Christina of Austria was Queen consort of Spain as the second wife of King Alfonso XII of Spain...

 when it began a series of rehabilitation works, giving the current design, which follows the layout of the English garden
English garden
The English garden, also called English landscape park , is a style of Landscape garden which emerged in England in the early 18th century, and spread across Europe, replacing the more formal, symmetrical Garden à la française of the 17th century as the principal gardening style of Europe. The...

s of 19th century.

From time to time throughout his reign, for example to hold his saint day of Saint John
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

, King Juan Carlos has held receptions and gala dinners in the gardens during the summer months.

Sabatini Gardens

Located on the north side, between the Royal Palace, the calle de Bailén and the cuesta de San Vicente. Of French design, are monumental gardens created in the 1930's. Receive the name Sabatini because in this place were the stables built by the architect for service of the Palace. These gardens are adorned with a pond around which place some of the statues of Spanish kings who were originally intended to crown the Royal Palace. Geometrically sited between its rides, there are several fountains.

The Republican government ordered the seizure of different properties of the Spanish Royal Family
Spanish Royal Family
The Royal Family of the Kingdom of Spain consists of the current king, Juan Carlos, his spouse, Queen Sofia of Spain and their direct descendants. The Spanish royal family belongs to the House of Borbón...

, including this one, giving it to the City Council of Madrid to build a public park. The project was awarded to a Zaragozan architect, Fernando García Mercadal, after he won the same held competition.

Royal Library

The Royal Library was founded during the regency of Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies
Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies
Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies was Queen consort of Spain and Regent of Spain .-Early years and first marriage:...

, using many of the funds that had accumulated for centuries the royal family. Most shelves were purchased by Charles IV and Alfonso XII. Also on display a selection of the best medals from the Royal Collection.

Among the printed books highlights the Book of hours
Book of Hours
The book of hours was a devotional book popular in the later Middle Ages. It is the most common type of surviving medieval illuminated manuscript. Like every manuscript, each manuscript book of hours is unique in one way or another, but most contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and...

 of Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

, a codex of the time of Alfonso XI of Castile
Alfonso XI of Castile
Alfonso XI was the king of Castile, León and Galicia.He was the son of Ferdinand IV of Castile and his wife Constance of Portugal. Upon his father's death in 1312, several disputes ensued over who would hold regency, which were resolved in 1313...

, a Bible of Doña María de Molina
María de Molina
María de Molina was the wife of Sancho IV of Castile. She was queen consort of Castile and León from 1284 to 1295 and then regent until the coming of age of her son Ferdinand IV.- Biography :...

 and the Fiestas reales, dedicated to Ferdinand VI by Farinelli
Farinelli
Farinelli , was the stage name of Carlo Maria Broschi, celebrated Italian castrato singer of the 18th century and one of the greatest singers in the history of opera.- Early years :...

. Also important are the maps kept in the library, which analyze the extent of the kingdoms under the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

.
The bindings also play an important role, because through them it observe the evolution of bind style according to the time: rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 in gold with iron lace, neoclassical
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 in polychrome and romantic with gothic
Gothic art
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...

 and renaissance
Spanish Renaissance
The Spanish Renaissance refers to a movement in Spain, emerging from the Italian Renaissance in Italy during the 14th century, that spread to Spain during the 15th and 16th centuries...

 motifs.

The Archives of the Royal Palace contains about twenty thousand dossiers ranging from the Disastrous decade (1823-1833) until the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

 in 1931. In addition, it retains some scores of musicians of the Royal Chapel, privileges of different kings, the founding order of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial
El Escorial
The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a historical residence of the king of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres northwest of the capital, Madrid, in Spain. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and...

, the testament of Philip II and correspondence of most of the kings of the House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

.

Royal Pharmacy

During the reign of Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 the Royal Pharmacy became an appendage of the royal family and ordered the supply of medicines, a role that continues today. The bottles were made in factories of La Granja de San Ildefonso and the Buen Retiro, there are also other items of 17th century made in Talavera de la Reina pottery
Talavera de la Reina pottery
Talavera de la Reina pottery is a craft made in Talavera de la Reina, Spain. Dishes, jars and other objects have been found in recent archaeological excavations; some of the materials discovered date back to the Roman Empire....

.

Royal Armoury

Considered together with the imperial of Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, one of the best in the world, consists of pieces ranging from the 15th century onwards. These highlight the pieces of tournament made for Charles V and Philip II by leading armorers of Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 and Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

. Among the most remarkable pieces stands the armory and full tools that Emperor Charles V used in the Battle of Mühlberg
Battle of Mühlberg
The Battle of Mühlberg was a large battle at Mühlberg in the Electorate of Saxony during the Protestant Reformation at which the Catholic princes of the Holy Roman Empire led by the Emperor Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire decisively defeated the Lutheran Schmalkaldic League of...

, and which was portrayed by Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

 in the famous equestrian portrait
Equestrian Portrait of Charles V
Equestrian Portrait of Charles V is an oil-on-canvas painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Titian. Created between April and September 1548 while Titian was at the imperial court of Augsburg, it is a tribute to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, following Charles' victory in the April 1547 Battle...

 of the Museo del Prado
Museo del Prado
The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and unquestionably the best single collection of...

. Unfortunately, part of the armory was lost during the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 and during the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

. Still, the armory retains some of the most important pieces of this art in Europe and worldwide, including several signed by Filippo Negroli
Filippo Negroli
Filippo Negroli was an armourer from Milan. He was renowned as being extremely skilled, and may be considered the most famous armourer of all time. Working together with his younger brothers Giovan Battista and Francesco in the Negroli family workshop headed by their father Gian Giacomo Negroli...

, one of the most famous architects of the guild.

Today

The vast palace is richly decorated by artists such as Velázquez
Diego Velázquez
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist...

, Tiepolo
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo , also known as Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo, was an Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice...

, Mengs
Anton Raphael Mengs
Anton Raphael Mengs was a German painter, active in Rome, Madrid and Saxony, who became one of the precursors to Neoclassical painting.- Biography :Mengs was born in 1728 at Ústí nad Labem in Bohemia...

, Gasparini, Juan de Flandes
Juan de Flandes
Juan de Flandes was an Early Netherlandish painter who was active in Spain from 1496 to 1519; his actual name is unknown, although an inscription Juan Astrat on the back of one work suggests a name such as "Jan van der Staat"...

, Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

, and Goya
Francisco Goya
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era...

. Several royal collections of great historical importance are kept at the palace, including the Royal Armoury and weapons dating back to the 13th century, and the world's only complete Stradivarius
Stradivarius
The name Stradivarius is associated with violins built by members of the Stradivari family, particularly Antonio Stradivari. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or reproduce, though this belief is controversial...

 string quintet, as well as collections of tapestry
Tapestry
Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

, porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

, furniture, and other objects of great historical importance.

Below the palace, to the west, are the gardens of the Campo del Moro that were given this name due to the fact that here in the year 1109, Muslim leader Ali ibn Yusuf
Ali ibn Yusuf
Ali ibn Yusuf was the 5th Almoravid king he reigned 1106–1143.-Biography:Ali was recognized as the heir of his father Yusuf ibn Tashfin in 1102. He succeeded his father upon his death in 1106. Ali ruled from Morocco and appointed his brother Tamin ibn Yusuf as governor of Al-Andalus...

, encamped with his men in the attempt to recapture Madrid and its Alcázar (fortress) from the Christians. The east façade of the palace gives onto the Plaza de Oriente and the Teatro Real
Teatro Real
The Teatro Real or simply El Real , is a major opera house located in Madrid, Spain.-History:...

 opera house. To the south is a vast square, the Plaza de la Armas, surrounded by narrow wings of the palace, and to the south of that is located the Catedral de la Almudena
Catedral de la Almudena
Santa María la Real de La Almudena is a Catholic cathedral in Madrid.When the capital of Spain was transferred from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, the seat of the Church in Spain remained in Toledo; so the new capital – unusually for a Catholic country – had no cathedral...

. To the north are the Jardines de Sabatini
Sabatini Gardens
thumb|350px|right|Sabatini Gardens, with the Royal Palace.The Sabatini Gardens are part of the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, and were opened to the public by King Juan Carlos I in 1978...

 (Sabatini Gardens), named after one of the architects of the palace.

On the Plaza de Armas facade, two life-size statues on both sides of the main entrance honor the two native Emperors from the Americas, Moctezuma, Emperor of the Aztecs, and Atahualpa, Emperor of the Incas.

The wedding banquet of Prince Felipe
Felipe, Prince of Asturias
Felipe, Prince of Asturias de Borbón y de Grecia; born 30 January 1968), is the third child and only son of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain....

 and Letizia Ortiz took place on 22 May 2004 at the central courtyard of the Palace.

The palace is open to the public and it is closed when used by the king for state functions like state banquets for visiting heads of state, official government receptions and the presentation of new ambassadors to the king.

External links

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