Royal Palace of Madrid History & Architecture | Highlights, Facts & More
The Royal Palace of Madrid is Madrid and Spain’s pride. It was constructed in the mid-18th century and served as the home of the Royal Family in Spain. The palace is still the official residence of the Royal Crown, with tourists also attracted to its stunning architecture, intricate decorations, and marvellous frescoes. This detailed guide focuses on how everything came about in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
About the Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid is among the most significant attractions in the Spanish capital. The official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, the palace has a long history dating all the way back to the 9th century, with the current building completed in the 18th century.
One of the biggest palaces in Europe
The sprawling palace, among the biggest in Europe, was designed by Italian architect Filippo Juvarra and completed by his Spanish successor, Juan de Villanueva. It features 3,418 rooms and a massive art collection, including works by Spanish and European artists such as Goya, Velazquez, and Rubens.
Major cultural and historical importance
Besides its size and art exhibits, the Royal Palace of Madrid also holds cultural and historical importance. It played a critical role in Spanish history, serving as the home of the Spanish monarchy for centuries. You can tour the palace and its ground, exploring the Throne Room, the Hall of Mirrors, and the Royal Armory.About Royal Palace of Madrid
Where is the Royal Palace of Madrid?
Address: C. de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid, Spain
The Royal Palace of Madrid is in western Madrid, in the heart of the Spanish capital. It is at a convenient distance from historical landmarks like Museo Nacional del Prado and Puerta de Alcalá.
A Timeline of Royal Palace of Madrid
9th century: An old Moorish fortress was built on the Royal Palace of Madrid grounds in the 9th century. The Moors occupied Spain in the Middle Ages, with the fortress vital for the old Arabic citadel’s defence.
15th century: The fortress became useful from the end of the 15th century, becoming part of the city defence and the seat of the Royal Court.
1734: The year 1734 brought with it the end of the fortress.
1738: King Philip V ordered the construction of a new palace in the same place where the fortress once stood.
1760: Filippo Juvarra was the main architect. He took inspiration from Italian architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini and French Baroque palaces. But he died before construction could begin, with architect Giambattista Sacchetti taking over the design process. He conceived a Baroque design, and Francesco Sabatini joined in 1760 to expand the building and add bits of neoclassical style.
1764: After 18 years of incredible work by architects, engineers, and countless workers, the Royal Palace of Madrid was completed in 1764.
1973: Small cosmetic changes, including the addition of a royal coat of arms and angels, were made to the palace.
Royal Palace of Madrid History Explained
Before 18th century
The Royal Palace of Madrid’s history can be broadly divided into two: pre-and post-18th century. Emir Mohamed I, the Umayyad Emir of Cordoba, chose Magerit (Madrid’s Arabic name) as the site for a fortress, called Antiguo Alcazar, translated as the Old Fortress. It was used to protect Toledo from the advancing Christians. However, it served little use for a few centuries until it became part of the city defence and the seat of the Royal Court at the end of the 15th century.
18th century and after
Antiguo Alcazar was demolished in 1734, bringing an end to the historical fortress that existed for centuries. King Philip V ordered the construction of a new palace in the same place in 1738, with Filippo Juvarra as the main architect. However, he died before construction began. Italian architect Giambattista Sacchetti took over, giving the palace a Baroque design. Francesco Sabatini joined him in 1760 to expand the building and helped complete the Royal Palace of Madrid in 1764.
Construction of the Royal Palace of Madrid
King Philip V picked Filippo Juvarra to design the Royal Palace of Madrid. Juvarra passed away before construction could begin. His notable works include the royal hunting lodge at Stupinigi, the Church of the Carmine in Turin, and the palace at Mafra for John V of Portugal.
Giambattista Sacchetti took over Juvarra’s proposals after the latter's death, giving the palace a Baroque design. Among his other works include the expansion of the garden-front of the Royal Palace of La Granja of San Ildefonso, Segovia, Spain, and San Filippo, Turin.
Francesco Sabatini joined Giambattista Sacchetti to expand the Royal Palace of Madrid in 1960. He also made the Casa de Campo and the neoclassical façade of San Francisco el Grande.
Architecture of Royal Palace of Madrid
Among the largest palaces in Europe, the Royal Palace of Madrid is an architectural and engineering masterpiece. It is spread over a total area of 135,000 square metres, standing like Madrid’s leader in the middle of the Spanish capital.
It boasts stunning French Baroque architecture with elements of neoclassical style. The palace’s façade features a combination of white limestone and granite, giving the palace an elegant and royal look. The symmetrical design perfectly occupies the area, with sculptures and carvings creating a brilliant visual effect.
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Royal Palace of Madrid Today
The Royal Palace of Madrid is proof of the Spanish capital’s royal history and heritage. It served as the home of the royal family of Spain and was also used by the Moors as a fortress.
The palace is also among the largest in Europe, with a mix of several architectural styles. You can visit the palace and explore its beautiful campus and fantastic interiors, including the Royal Armoury. It houses the armour and weaponry used by the royals since the 13th century.
The other rooms you can visit include the Royal Pharmacy and Charles III’s private room, the Hall of Mirrors, and the Throne Room.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Royal Palace of Madrid’s History
The Royal Palace of Madrid was constructed in 1764, making it over two centuries old.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is famous because it was the home of the Spanish monarch.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is in western Madrid, in the heart of the Spanish capital. Find on Maps
Filippo Juvarra, Giambattista Sacchetti, and Francesco Sabatini designed the Royal Palace of Madrid.
The Royal Palace of Madrid has a Baroque architectural style with neoclassical elements.
The cost of visiting the Royal Palace of Madrid depends on your ticket type.
Yes. Guided tours explaining the Royal Palace of Madrid are available.
Yes. The Royal Palace of Madrid is worth visiting because it introduces you to the lives of the Spanish royals.