The Palacio Real or the Royal Palace of Madrid is the largest royal palace in Europe in terms of floor area. This majestic building has an impressive entrance that features elegant limestone statues of more than 44 Spanish royals.
This royal palace has also been a site of royal lodgings for more than hundreds of years. However, several tourists are not aware of the fact that there was a 9th Century Muslim castle in the palace but it was later replaced by a Christian palace in the 16th Century. When the Christian palace was burned in the year 1734, King Philip V was forced to build a new palace, and that palace stands tall in the city of Madrid to this day.
Many famous architects such as Martín Sarmiento, Francesco Sabatini, Ventura Rodríguez, Giovanni Battista Sacchetti, and Filippo Juvarra contributed to the construction of the Palacio Real. The first one to occupy the royal palace was the King Charles III. However, the palace is mainly used as a tourist attraction these days.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is an awe-inspiring structure and enormous. The structure is divided into 3418 rooms and it measures about 13,500 square meters. This means that the Palacio Real de Madrid has twice the size of France’s Versailles or England’s Buckingham Palace.
The exterior of the palace is framed by ionic columns and several statues are located in and around the facade area and roof of the Palacio Real. Several statues that were housed inside the palace were moved around when the palace’s façade had a small facelift. In addition to that, a royal coat of angels and arms were added around the famous clock that was designed by the famous artist, Sabatini.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is also surrounded by several garden and park areas. One of the most attractive gardens in the city of Madrid, Sabatini Gardens also lies in the close vicinity of the palace. The regal park that is lined with perfectly manicured pine trees and mazes of bushes is the ideal place to relax after a busy day of strolling through the city of Madrid.
On the other side of the Palacio Real, you can find the stunning Almudena Cathedral. If you are a person who likes old neo-gothic style buildings, then you should definitely check out the cathedral. The famous Neo-Romanesque Crypt and the less-known museum within the Almudena Cathedral are also worth a visit. So, try to cover these two places too before ending your tour.
It is significant to note that you will need to pay an admission fee of 10 Euros to gain entry to the Palacio Real. Nevertheless, the museum authorities allow free entry to the museum on certain hours and days. Moreover, art lovers will also be able to enjoy famous art pieces by internationally renowned artists such as Caravaggio Velázquez, Mengs Goya, Giaquinto, Flandes, Tiepolo, and others.
Apart from the paintings, tourists can also check out the extensive collection of watches, porcelain, silver, and antique furniture in the palace. Another fascinating thing you should check out is the collection of a Stradivarius string quintet. There is also a royal pharmacy, an armory, grand staircase, and a royal library in the museum.
You might be surprised to hear the fact that the Grand Staircase of the Palacio Real is comprised of only a single piece of the San Agustin marble. The landing of the staircase is graced by the presence of two lions. One of them was designed by Robert Michel while Felipe de Castro was the mastermind behind the other one. The frescoes that you can see on the ceiling were designed by the artist, Corrado Giaquinto.
The Throne Room
The most magnificent room in the Royal Palace of Madrid is undoubtedly the Throne Room. The rich furnishing and the superb mirrors add more beauty and elegance to this room. Tiepolo, who was blessed with an incredible amount of imagination painted this room with ease and warmth. The authorities have preserved the Throne Room since the reign of King Charles III.
The Royal Armory in the Palacio Real is regarded as one of the finest armories in the world and another exciting thing is that this armory contains pieces from the 13th Century. You will be able to see the tools used by the Emperor Charles V during the Battle of Mühlberg. In addition to that, the collection also contains diplomatic artworks such as mixed tapestries, trophies, paintings, and more.
It might be a little surprising and sad to note that the Royal Palace of Madrid is not used for royal purposes these days. More than a decade ago, the palace was used to conduct the wedding of King Felipe Letizia Ortiz, and ever since that, no one has used the palace for royal purposes.