Apr
14
2009

What is the Royal Palace of Madrid?

Madrid Royal Palace - courtesy andrew bartlett - CC-BY

Madrid Royal Palace - courtesy andrew bartlett - CC-BY

The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain, though the royal family does not live there. The Palacio Real de Madrid is still used for state occasions. The current palace was first occupied by Carlos III in 1764.

The current palace was built on the site of a former palace (Alcazar) that burned down in 1734. It took 26 years to complete. The palace was initially designed by Filippo Juvarra to accommodate the court of Felipe V, who had a total of more than 3000 courtiers, but he was not the monarch at its completion.

A visitor to the palace gets to see 50 of its 2800 rooms. Several collections of great importance are kept at the palace, including the Royal Armoury with weapons dating back to the 13th century. Another attraction of the Royal Palace is the Throne Room. Charles III had the Royal Porcelain factory create ceramics for the Throne Room. They adorn every inch of the wall space. As Napoleon said to his brother who he made king of Spain, “You will be better lodged here than I am myself.” With 870 windows, 240 balconies, 44 sets of stairs and 110 doors, it keeps its janitors and cleaning staff pretty busy.

The palace is Madrid’s largest building, and also the largest palace in Western Europe. The palace is also one of Europe’s most important museums and receives almost a million visitors a year. It is open to the public and closed when used by the king for state functions.

For more information about Madrid

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