Royal Palace of Madrid


Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid ( _es. Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official residence of the King of Spain, located in Madrid. King Juan Carlos and the royal family do not actually reside in this palace, instead choosing the smaller Palacio de la Zarzuela, on the outskirts of Madrid. However, the Palacio Real de Madrid is still used for state occasions. The palace is owned by the Spanish state and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional agency. The palace also has the distinction of being the largest royal palace in Western Europe in size, with over a combined area of over 135,000 m² and more than 2,800 rooms.

The palace is located on Bailén street, in the western part of downtown Madrid, east of the Manzanares River, and is accessible from the Ópera metro station. The palace is partially open to public, except when in official use.

History

The site of the palace dates from a 10th-century fortress, called "mayrit," constructed as an outpost by Mohammed I, Emir of Córdoba and inherited after 1036 by the independent Moorish Kingdom of Toledo. After Madrid fell to Alfonso VI of Castile in 1085, the edifice was only rarely used by the kings of Castile. In 1329, King Alfonso XI of Castile convoked the "cortes" of Madrid for the first time. Philip II moved his court to Madrid in 1561.

The _es. "Antiguo Alcázar" ("Old Castle") was built on the location in the 16th century. It burned on December 24, 1734; King Philip V ordered a new palace built on the same location. Construction spanned the years 1738 to 1755 and followed a Berniniesque design by Filippo Juvarra and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo in cooperation with Ventura Rodríguez, Francesco Sabatini, and Scirmento. The new palace, directly facing the cathedral across the "Plaza de Armas", was occupied by Carlos III in 1764.

Interior

The interior that is open to visitors consist of:

* the main staircase
* Halberdiers Room
* Hall of Columns
* Throne Room
* "Saleta" and antechamber of Charles III
* Chamber and bedroom of Charles III
* Gala Dining Room
* Music Room
* China collection
* Royal Chapel

Today

The vast palace is richly decorated by artists such as Velázquez, Tiepolo, Mengs, Gasparini, Juan de Flandes, Caravaggio, and Goya. 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 string quintet, as well as collections of tapestry, porcelain, furniture, and other objets d'art 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 Ben Yusuf, 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 operahouse. 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. To the north are the Jardines de Sabatini (Sabatini Gardens), named after one of the architects of the palace.

The wedding banquet of Prince Felipe 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.

See also

*Palacio del Buen Retiro, another royal palace in Madrid, now mostly disappeared.

External links

* [http://www.patrimonionacional.es/en/preal/preal.htm Official web page] (in English)
* [http://www.cyberspain.com/passion/palacio.htm Palacio Real (Cyberspain)]
* [http://www.pbase.com/ngruev/palacio Palacio Real de Madrid — pictures]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Palacio+Real&sll=40.434405,-3.67424&sspn=0.336056,0.613174&ie=UTF8&z=16&ll=40.417499,-3.713164&spn=0.010504,0.019162&t=h Royal Palace on Google Maps]
* [http://www.guiaturisticamadrid.com/palacio_real.htm Royal Palace] Description and pictures es icon
* [http://www.feelmadrid.com/royalpalace.html Madrid Royal Palace]


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