A Mesmerizing Tour of Royal Palace of Madrid, Spain
Yes! We made it to Madrid’s largest building, the Royal Palace there! ‘Largest’ is a small adjective to the building. The Royal Palace of Madrid is a grand, majestic and happening place in the capital city of Spain. No way could we miss it. And we planned our tour in Madrid on a day the entry is free to the Palace. Halfway through our walk of Madrid, after the tour of Almudena Cathedral we reached the Royal Palace. Oh! How tiny I felt in front of that HUGE palace. The square in front is large and at no point of time will you find it empty. After a small photo session with the palace in the back ground we proceeded to tour inside.
History of Royal Palace of Madrid
A little history always helps.
This royal palace was built on the site of old Alcazar, an old Moorish Castle. The castle existed from 860AD. It was continuously renovated and extended over the centuries by several kings residing there. Henry III of Castile added several towers. His son John II used it as a royal residence. In 1734, in a devastating fire incident the Moorish castle was destroyed completely. Filippo Juvarra designed this present day palace and the construction got on in 1737. The building was initially designed to accommodate the court of Felipe V, a total of more than 3000 courtiers.
Ferdinand VII, began the most thorough renovation of the palace in the 19th century. The aim of this redesign was to rebuild the old-fashioned Italian style building into a modern French-style palace. Later his grandson Alfonso XII proposed to turn the palace into a Victorian style residence. The plans were designed by the architect José Segundo de Lema and consisted of remodelling several rooms, replacing marble floors with parquet and the adding of period furniture. Today we get to see this version of the palace.
The Inside Tour of Royal Palace of Madrid
23 rooms open to public! Each room overflowing with beauty and lavishness! Thanks to the headphones we took at the start of the tour we could get a fair idea of purpose of the rooms. But the downside is I don’t remember what I heard then. And since no photography was permitted I have vague memory of what I had seen, which will fade away soon with time. Photography at such places should be permitted. No? What say fellow tourists and readers?
Some of the rooms were so mesmerizing with the rich furnishings that most of us could be heard murmuring ‘wow’. The chandeliers there are magnificent! Each room seemed to have a theme. Throne room had an unbelievable setting… the thrones, figurines, furnishings all seemed to compete for attention. I wonder how any kind of serious matter concerning state can be discussed here, each and every article distracts. Same can be said about the dining room. The cutleries are amazing. The crystal wine glasses lined up beside each plate… five of them in a row! We were told the room is used for high dignitary meetings occasionally.
Comparable with Versailles Palace tour?
The tour here did resemble a bit like Versailles tour I made in 2012. They did permit photography in Versailles Palace. And I still look at the pictures and reminiscence my visit there. Though there are a lot of differences between both the palaces, there are similarities too. Lavishness in both constituted of gold, silver, crystals, marbles and furnishings! Both palaces have paintings in the ceilings. The pictures here are taken at the entrance near the staircase. Have any of you been to both? How would you compare them?
Interesting Facts of Madrid’s Royal Palace
- The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the reigning Royal Family, though they don’t actually live in it, they use it for official events. The Royal Family actually lives in the Palacio de la Zarzuela.
- This Royal Palace of Madrid was under construction from 1738-1755 and done in Berniniesque style. This style was developed from Baroque style by the sculptors of the time.
- Madrid’s Palace is Europe’s largest palace based on floor area. Dimensions mentioned are 1.5 million square feet of floor space. Number of rooms – 3, 418.
- The palace has 870 windows, 240 balconies and 44 staircases.
- Grand Staircase is composed of a single piece of San Agustin marble. Two lions grace the landing, one by Felipe de Castro and another by Robert Michel.
- Interior of the Royal Palace of Madrid houses priceless art, paintings, frescoes, watches, porcelain and more.
Tickets and Entry to Royal Palace of Madrid
October – March: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00
April – September: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 20:00
Entry fee: €11.00 without guide; €15.00 with guide. Children under 5 go free.
Cheap rate: €6.00 for pre-arranged school groups, old age pensioners, students and the handicapped.