Royal Palace of Madrid, Spain
Hardly enough words can be found to describe the beauty and splendor of the Royal Palace of Madrid /Palacio Real de Madrid/, which is without a doubt one of the most impressive castles in Europe. Lush fountains, crystal lakes, beautiful parks, green and flower beds and statues of kings, arranged with exceptional symmetry, create an incredible feeling and memories of visitors.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is located in the western part of the center of the Spanish capital Madrid, east of the historic city center and a short distance from the Plaza de Espania. Located on the site of a tenth-century fortress built by Mohammed I, Emir of Córdoba, the castle is also known as the Palace of the Orient. The castle is surrounded on the west by the gardens of the Campo del Moro, on the east by the Plaza de Oriente and the Royal Theater, and on the south by the vast Plaza de la Armas. Nearby is the newest cathedral in Madrid, the Nuestra Seniora de Almudena. Even though it is considered the official residence of the King of Spain in Madrid and is used for state ceremonies, the head of state prefers to live in a smaller palace in the suburbs of Madrid.
After the conquest of Madrid in 1085 by King Alfonso VI of Castile, the building was rarely used by the Castilian kings. In 1561, King Philip II of Spain moved the capital of Spain to Madrid. For the needs of the king, the Old Alcazar was built on the site of the old Maurice fortress. However, it burned to the ground on December 24, 1723. By order of King Philip V of Spain, a new palace was built on the same site. The construction of the new building lasted from 1738 to 1755. However, it was first used by King Carlos III. With a total area of 135,000 square meters, the Royal Palace automatically became the largest palace complex in the western part of the Old Continent. It has a total of 2800 rooms and halls, 50 of which can be visited.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is decorated with works by famous artists such as Velazquez, Caravaggio, Goya and others. It also houses the Royal Army Museum, where several beautiful collections of ammunition and weapons of great historical importance can be seen, such as the Royal Arsenal (it has weapons from the 13th century) and the battle armor of King Charles V. Visitors can also enjoy the only completed Stradivarius string quintet, as well as collections of tapestries, porcelain, furniture and more. Extremely attractive are the Chinese Hall and the impressive throne room, whose walls are covered with red velvet, as well as the large dining room, which reaches 400 square meters in length. An integral part of the tour of the castle are the Sabatini Gardens, dedicated to the Italian architect Francesco Sabatini, who created in the XVIII century.
The gardens are made in neoclassical style. On the lower level of the palace are the Campo del Moro Gardens, so named because in 1109, the Muslim leader Ali ben Yusuf set up camp during the siege of the Alcazar of Madrid, during which he tried to recapture the fortress from Christians. The palace is open to visitors except on days when it is used by the king for state affairs.
Today, visitors of the Royal Palace in the Spanish capital enter it through the great Plaza de la Armeria. In fact, the Spanish royal family resided in the smaller La Zarzuela Palace on the outskirts of the city.