Visiting the Royal Palace of Madrid is an experience you should not miss, being one of the most visited monuments in Spain. From Carlos III to Alfonso XIII, it has served as the official residence of the Royal Family. However, the current monarchs, but do not reside here rather their residence is the Palacio de la Zarzuela, nonetheless it is still used for state ceremonies and solemn events.
The story goes that long before Madrid was the capital of Spain, the Emir Mohamed I built in “Magerit” (Arabic name given to the city) a fortress to defend Toledo against the military advances of the Christians. This building was used eventually by the kings of “Castile” until the fourteenth century when it transformed to what would be known as the Old Fortress. Carlos I and his son Philip II converted the fortress into the permanent residence of the monarchs. But in 1734 a fire swept through the building and upon the remains of the Old Fortress, Felipe V decided to build the present palace.
In 1738, the first stone was laid, and seventeen years passed until the works commissioned by Philip V, were completed. However, Carlos III was the first monarch who lived in the palace and undertook the task to complete the decor. To his successor, Charles IV, is owed the creation of the Hall of Mirrors and then Fernando VII, added decorative objects of character (clocks, furniture, chandeliers, etc.).
The interior of the palace is known for its artistic richness, both with regards to the use of all kinds of quality materials in its construction as decorating their rooms, containing works of art of all kinds. We find paintings by artists of the category of Caravaggio, Velázquez, Francisco de Goya and frescos by Corrado Giaquinto, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Anton Raphael Mengs. Other notable collections held in the building are the Royal Armories, porcelain, watches, furniture and silverware. The decoration of each room, as well as its distribution has changed over the years, adapting to the needs of its Royal tenants.
It is recommended that you buy entrance tickets in advance, so queues are avoided. Photos are not allowed of the upper rooms and halls, but permitted elsewhere in the palace and its surroundings.