Royal Palace of Madrid

Madrid, Spain

The Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid, but it is only used for state ceremonies. Several rooms in the palace are regularly open to the public except during state functions.

The palace is located on the site of a 9th-century Alcázar (Muslim-era fortress), near the town of Magerit, constructed as an outpost by Muhammad I of Córdoba and inherited after 1036 by the independent Moorish Taifa of Toledo. After Madrid fell to King Alfonso VI of Castile in 1083, the edifice was only rarely used by the kings of Castile. In 1329, King Alfonso XI of Castile convened the cortes of Madrid for the first time. King Felipe II moved his court to Madrid in 1561.

The old Alcázar was built on the location in the 16th century. After it burned 24 December 1734, King Felipe V ordered a new palace built on the same site. Construction spanned the years 1738 to 1755 and followed a Berniniesque design by Filippo Juvarra and Giovanni Battista Sacchetti in cooperation with Ventura Rodríguez, Francesco Sabatini, and Martín Sarmiento. King Carlos III first occupied the new palace in 1764.

The last monarch who lived continuously in the palace was King Alfonso XIII, although Manuel Azaña, president of the Second Republic, also inhabited it, making him the last head of state to do so.

The palace has 135,000 square metres of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms. It is the largest royal palace in Europe by floor area. The interior of the palace is notable for its wealth of art and the use of many types of fine materials in the construction and the decoration of its rooms. These include paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Francisco de Goya, and Velázquez, and frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Juan de Flandes, Corrado Giaquinto, and Anton Raphael Mengs. Other collections of great historical and artistic importance preserved in the building include the Royal Armoury of Madrid, porcelain, watches, furniture, silverware, and the world's only complete Stradivarius string quintet.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1738-1755
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Spain

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Raihan Jamil (22 days ago)
Must See Place in Madrid. I visited this place on April 7 2019 with my wife and toddler. We just LOVED it! The rooms that you can visit are amazing, especially the ceilings’ art works. The whole courtyard is huge and full of pigeons that my daughter enjoyed chasing. The armory is great! Crazy stuff. We just did not know we had to buy extra ticket to visit the kitchen :( So that was sad. After two hours of the self guided tour, we did not feel like going out, buying another ticket, and coming back in to see the kitchen. So one star less. No pics are allowed inside the palace rooms. Otherwise I would have posted 100! Amazing stuff. Easily the best attraction in Madrid. Tip: Buy your ticket online. Always a HUGE line for tickets at the palace.
suma jaini (33 days ago)
Amazing rooms! So much grandeur. It looks ok from outside but some of the rooms are out of the world. We took a guide to escape lines and we thought it was boring. If u can buy tickets online and wait in the line for a bit, totally worth the price and good for a quick visit.
Phillip Pirrip (34 days ago)
First bit of advice, take a little extra time and effort to find the correct queue for waiting to get into the palace. It's not well defined when the lines get long and the staff isn't very proactive in managing and assisting people outside. Second, purchase tickets online in advance as that queue moves a little faster. The palace grounds, architecture, art, furnishings and history are simply amazing. After entering the main hall no photos are allowed, but that's were the tour does the palace most justice, so the images I'm able to share are just a brief glimpse. Worth visiting if you are in Madrid.
Karine B (44 days ago)
This is really nice palace. It is supposed to be larger than any other palace in Europe if I understood my English speaking guide but it doesn’t feel that way in my opinion. You can’t take photos inside so I am sorry I can’t show you all so you will have to see it for yourselves but it is worth it. The rooms are really nice and elegantly decorated. You can feel the power.
Umar Mukhtar (2 months ago)
Its such a great palace, with so much regal elegance and magnificent interiors. This is the biggest palace in Western Europe, even bigger than the Palace of Versailles. This palace far surpassed my expectations. Each royal room is like a gem. They build up your excitement, as rooms get better and better as you progress inside the palace. Its a pity we cannot take pictures of those magnificent rooms. The Royal Kitchen is also a nice place to see, with entry only allowed through a guided tour. The palace has amazing gardens, which are free to visit. Highly recommended !
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.