Royal Palace

Royal palace in Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid is one of the largest palaces in Europe.

Even though it is the official residence of the Spanish monarchy, the king an his family do not live here. It is used for state ceremonies, and some rooms are open to the public.

The palace is surrounded by beautifully landscaped Sabatini Gardens, Campo del Moro and the magnificent Plaza del Oriente with statues of all Gothic kings of Spain and the equestrian statue of king Felipe IV. Part of the palace complex is the Almudena cathedral.

The palace is located on the site of a 9th-century alcázar, near the town of Magerit, constructed as an outpost by Muhammad I of Córdoba and inherited after 1036 by the independent Moorish Taifa of Toledo. After Madrid fell to Alfonso VI of Castile in 1083, the edifice was only rarely used by the kings of Castile. In 1329, King Alfonso XI of Castile convened the cortes of Madrid for the first time. Philip II moved his court to Madrid in 1561.

The old Alcázar was built on the location in the 16th century. After it burned 24 December 1734, King Philip V ordered a new palace built on the same site. Construction spanned the years 1738 to 1755. Charles III first occupied the new palace in 1764.

The last monarch who lived continuously in the palace was Alfonso XIII, although Manuel Azaña, president of the Second Republic, also inhabited it, making him the last head of state to do so. During that period the palace was known as “Palacio Nacional”. There is still a room next to the Real Capilla, which is known by the name “Office of Azaña”.

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Metro: L2, L5 (Ópera), L6, L10 (Principe Pío)

Cercanías (Regional trains): C1, C7, C10 (Principe Pío), R (Ópera, Principe Pío)


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