The Royal Palace of Madrid is one of the greatest embodiments of Baroque architecture in the city. It serves as the official residence of the Spanish Royal family but only for ceremonial functions. The monarchy has Zarzuela Palace as its permanent domicile.
The strategic location of the place adds more vibrancy to its already renowned architectural design. It is bounded by Plaza de Oriente in the North and close to other tourist spots such as Almudena Cathedral or Royal Opera House, Plaza Mayor and de Espadana. Opera is the nearest Metro Station.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is situated in the very site of the city’s foundation. It was built during the time of the Muslim Empire under the reign of Muhammad I of Cordoba. Its purpose originally was to protect the territory, the city of Toledo in particular, from the treat of foreign invasion by the Christians in the northern Iberian Peninsula.
With the defeat of the Muslims in 1085, the then small castle became a temporary residence of Spanish kings. Prince Philip (Philip II when he ascended to the throne) was the first to reside in the palace in the 16 the nearby forest and it was because him that the monarchy ordered the restoration of Alcazar (the former name of the palace).
The present architectural design of the palace is a result of a second reconstruction ordered by Bourbon Phillip V after it was burned down in 1734.
In 1931, shortly before the Spanish Civil War, King Alfonso XIII left the Royal Palace of Madrid, becoming the last monarch to live there. The palace has since then became under national ownership managed by Patrimonio Nacional, the government’s Public Agency.
Nowadays, the palace is open for tourist visit and important state ceremonies were held here such as the Signature of Adhesion Treatise of Spain to the European Community in 1986. Style of the Royal Palace of Madrid.
The architectural details of the Royal Palace of Madrid resemble that of the Baroque style. When the Bourbon dynasty rose to power in 1700, they reconstructed the structure in a classical and European style, very different from that of the Habsburg Dynasty which emphasizes being Castilian and local.
Italian architect Filippo Juvara organized the architectural plan of the palace, which also drew inspiration from the Palazzso della Madama of Torino (pre-eminence of classical columns and pilasters, sculptures on the top and straight lines that dominate the edifice).
Other architects continued the works and reduced the extension of the building, but nevertheless respected the original plans. The materials used for the construction of the Royal Palace of Madrid are granite from Guadarrama Mountains and white stone from Colmenar de Oreja, south of Madrid region.
Great artworks such as paintings, sculptures, hangings, silversmith among others are what are inside the building. The design of the palace is a collaborative effort of such artists as Francisco de Goya, Anton Raphael Mengs and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Works of other luminaries in the field like Diego de Velazquez and Michaelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio are placed in some of the rooms.
Apart from it being a focus of monarchical eminence, the palace is also a place for conducting such humanitarian services as the provision of Royal Library, Pharmacy and Armoury. A museum under the ground is also being built, where the best pieces of the artwork collection will be displayed.
Lastly, gardens that are both accessible for free are another attraction inside the palace. The smallest one, which is situated north of the palace, is worth visiting. The same holds true for the biggest one, the Campo del Moro in the west.