A few meters away from Paseo del Prado and at the top of the hill of San Blas is the Royal Observatory of Madrid, which was promoted by King Charles III, from which we celebrate in this course (2016-2017) the centenary of its birth. Guided tours are from Friday to Sunday at different times of the day.
The Royal Observatory is the quintessence of neoclassicism. The perfect summary of a style that aspired to perfection: harmonious proportions, symmetry drawn with a compass, a subtle balance between two pure geometric forms, sphere and cube. Juan de Villanueva was the great introducer of this language in Spanish architecture in the late eighteenth century and knew how to make granite buildings so fine and so noble that they look like marble.
The Royal Observatory is located on a hill that rises exactly 656.8 m above sea level in Alicante, just like the meridian of Madrid. For decades and until 1973 the official time of Spain was marked exactly from this place, which was something like kilometer 0 of time. Now it remains a work center for the volcanologists and astronomers of the National Geographic Institute, under the Ministry of Development, and one of the obligatory visits for all lovers of science and culture who come to Madrid.