The Royal Palace of Madrid

Category: Madrid

Spain’s King, Juan Carlos, should be the residents in the Royal Palace of Madrid, but the King and his family chose to live not in the palace, but on Madrid’s outskirts at a smaller Palacio de la Zarzuela. But nonetheless, for occasions of the State, the palace is still in use. The ownership of the palace vests in the hands of the state of Spain, and the administration is taken care of by Patrimonio National Agency. It holds special significance, being the biggest palace in the western part of Europe, having a total area of more than 135,000 sq.m. and over 2,800 rooms. The location of the palace is on Bailén Street, which lies to the west of Madrid, on the eastern part of River Manzanares, and can be easily accessed from the metro station of the Opera. Barring when it is used for official purposes, parts of the palace is open for the general public. This palace is believed to be the finest one in Europe. When Napoleon made hid brother Spain’s King, he observed, “You will be better lodged here than I am myself.”

The period between 1738 and 1764 was the one when the palace had been built. Having two courtyards, in the center and to the south, the latter performs the duty of being the main entrance. Just outside this courtyard is located the Almudena Cathedral. 13 hectares are used up by this palace which has 240 balconies, besides having 44 stairs and 870 windows.

The site where the palace is built is one of the old Alcazar, a place ruined by the disastrous fire on 1734’s Christmas. It was King Felipe V’s decision to construct a palace for his own purpose. For this, he appointed Filippo Juvara of Italy to do the job, and he planned to build a great palace like the Versailles in France. This idea didn’t go down well with King Felipe V, and when Filippo died, Juan Bautista Sachetti was assigned the task.

The Sabatini Gardens and the Moors field, the Campo del Moro, are located just in front of the palace. Plaza de Oriente is located to the palace’s West. Inside the palace, there are quite some things which make a good view:

  • The throne room which is called Sala del Trono
  • The hall of columns known as Salon de las Columnas
  • The banquet hall referred to as Gran comedor de gala
  • The Salon de los Alabarderos; Tiépolo having made the fresco
  • The Porcelain room is called the Sala de porcelanas, and the walls are decorated with tiles bought from Madrid’s Fabrica del Buen Retiro
  • The Salitas Gasparini having the chamber, the antechamber and even Carlos III’s dressing room
  • The Royal Armory known as the La Real Armería
  • The La biblioteca, or the library, having more than 300,000 books in number
  • The chapel known as La Capilla

What acts as an icing on the cake here are the various works by Rubens, Caravaggio, El Greco, Goya and Velazquez.