Palacio Real (Royal Palace and formal residence of King and Queen although they don't reside here) Calle/Belén - Metro stop: Ópera South face of the Royal Palace
Photos: April 23, 2000

Again my camera couldn't take the entire palace at one time even though I backed up against the cathedral. PhotoShop helped me put two pictures together. Can you spot the seam?

After Felipe II moved Spain's capital from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, the kings lived in the old alcázar of the Moors until a fire ravaged it on Christmas Eve, 1734. Felipe V, the reigning king, chose to construct this new palace on the same site as the gutted alcázar. Work began in 1735, but both the king and his first architect died before completing it. Work continued under Felipe VI, but the first king to live there was Carlos III who took up residence in it in 1764. It was not considered complete, however, until 1804 during the reign of Carlos IV. This palace was built of limestone and granite from the Guadarrama Mountains north of the city, and contains on the order of 2000 rooms elegantly appointed. O.K. It had to be fit-for-a-king! That Carlos III was its first occupant seems fitting, for he is the king that the madrileños affectionately call the "mayor" of Madrid because he made many improvements to the city. For example, he started regular garbage collection: now that alone gives him high marks!

The large courtyard between those two long wings is called Plaza de la Armería and is bounded by the south wall of the palace, the two wings on either side and the imposing steel fence with some trees and shrubs just outside. Entrance from this side, when permitted, is through the three gates shown in the photo. Because of the differing angles of my two photographs that I joined, there is an extra phantom bush to the left of the center gate. Sorry.

If you look carefully to the near left in the photograph you will see a non-transparent barrier with several viewing portals where people are looking at archeological digs in progress.

Go back to the OLD-MADRID page.