Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid (Spanish: Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid, but it is only used for state ceremonies. The palace has 135,000 square metres (1,450,000 sq ft) of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms.[1][2] It is the largest functioning Royal Palace and the largest by floor area in Europe.[3]

King Felipe VI and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the significantly more modest Palace of Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid.

The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional, a public agency of the Ministry of the Presidency.[4]:7 The palace is located on Calle de Bailén ("Bailén Street") in the western part of downtown Madrid, east of the Manzanares River, and is accessible from the Ópera metro station. Several rooms in the palace are regularly open to the public except during state functions. An admission fee of €10 is required. Some days it is free.

The palace is located on the site of a 9th-century Alcázar ("Muslim-era fortress"), near the town of Magerit, constructed as an outpost by Muhammad I of Córdoba[5]:7 and inherited after 1036 by the independent Moorish Taifa of Toledo. After Madrid fell to King 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. King Felipe 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 Felipe V ordered a new palace built on the same site. Construction spanned the years 1738 to 1755[6] and followed a Berniniesque design by Filippo Juvarra and Giovanni Battista Sacchetti in cooperation with Ventura Rodríguez, Francesco Sabatini, and Martín Sarmiento. King Carlos III first occupied the new palace in 1764.

The last monarch who lived continuously in the palace was King 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".

The interior of the palace is notable for its wealth of art and the use of many types of fine materials in the construction and the decoration of its rooms. These include paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Juan de Flandes, Francisco de Goya, and Velázquez, and frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Corrado Giaquinto, and Anton Raphael Mengs. Other collections of great historical and artistic importance preserved in the building include the Royal Armoury of Madrid, porcelain, watches, furniture, silverware, and the world's only complete Stradivarius string quintet.

Royal Palace of Madrid
Palacio Real de Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid
Royal Palace of Madrid
General information
Architectural styleBaroque, Classicism
Town or cityMadrid
Coordinates40°25′05″N 3°42′51″W / 40.417974°N 3.714302°WCoordinates: 40°25′05″N 3°42′51″W / 40.417974°N 3.714302°W
Construction startedApril 7, 1735
ClientKing Felipe V of Spain
Technical details
Floor area135,000 m2 (1,450,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
ArchitectFilippo Juvarra (first of many)
Official namePalacio Real de Madrid
Reference no.RI-51-0001061

History of the building

Evolución Alcázar de Madrid
Historical evolution of the Royal Alcazar of Madrid.

Muhammad I, Umayyad Emir of Cordoba, between 860 and 880. After the Moors were driven out of Toledo in the 11th century, the castle retained its defensive function. Henry III of Castile added several towers. His son John II used it as a royal residence.[5]:7

However, during the War of the Castilian Succession (1476) the troops of Joanna la Beltraneja were besieged in the Alcázar, causing severe damage to the royal building.

The only drawing of the castle from the Middle Ages is one made in 1534 by Cornelius Vermeyen.[5]:7

Emperor Charles V extended and renovated the castle in 1537, using the architects Alonso de Covarrubias and Luis de Vega. Philip II made Madrid his capital in 1561 and added a continued the renovations. Philip III added a long southern facade between 1610 and 1636. Philip V of Bourbon renovated the royal apartments in 1700.[5]:7–8

The Alcázar of the Habsburgs was austere in comparison to the Palace of Versailles where the new king spent his childhood and he began a series redesigns led by Teodoro Ardemans and René Carlier. On the other hand, the main rooms were redecorated in the style of French palaces by the Queen Maria Luisa of Savoy and the Princess of Ursins.

The baroque palace

Vista de parte del Real Palacio desde la Cuesta de la Vega
View of part of the Royal Palace from Cuesta de la Vega, by Fernando Brambila (c. 1790-1832). Preserved in the collection of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.[7]

On Christmas Eve 1734, the Alcázar was destroyed by a fire originating in the rooms of the French painter Jean Ranc. It was not detected quickly, due to the warning bells being confused with the call to mass. For fear of looting, the doors of the building remained closed, hampering rescue efforts. Many works of art were lost, such as the Expulsion of the Moors, by Diego Velázquez. Others, such as Las Meninas, were rescued by tossing them out the windows. Fortunately, many pieces were saved because the king ordered that much of his collection be moved to the Buen Retiro Palace shortly before the blaze. This fire lasted four days and completely destroyed the old Alcázar, whose last walls were finally demolished in 1738.

Filippo Juvarra oversaw work on the new palace. The Italian architect devised a lavish project of enormous proportions inspired by Bernini's plans for Versailles. This plan was not realized due to Juvarra's untimely death in March 1736.[5]:8 His disciple, Giambattista Sacchetti also known as Juan Bautista Sacchetti or Giovanni Battista Sacchetti,[8] was chosen to continue the work of his mentor. He designed the structure around a large square courtyard and resolved the sightline problems by creating projecting wings.

In 1760, Charles III called upon Sicilian Francesco Sabatini,[5]:9 a Neoclassical architect to enlarge the building. The original idea was to frame the Plaza de la Armería with a series of galleries and arcades which would accommodate the various dependencies and the construction of two wings around the same square. Only the extension of the southeast tower known as la de San Gil was completed. Sabatini also planned to extend the north side with a large facade that echoed the style of the building and included three square courtyards in size somewhat smaller than the large central courtyard. Work on this expansion started quickly but was soon interrupted, leaving the foundations buried under a platform on which the royal stables were later built. These were demolished in the 20th century and replaced by the Sabatini Gardens. Charles III first occupied the palace in 1764.

Ferdinand VII, who spent many years imprisoned in the Château de Valençay, began the most thorough renovation of the palace in the 19th century. The aim of this redesign was to turn the old-fashioned Italian style building into a modern French-style palace. However, 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 remodeling several rooms, replacing marble floors with parquet and the adding of period furniture.

The restorations made during the twentieth century repaired damage suffered during the Civil Wars in Spain by repairing or reinstalling decoration and decorative trim, replacing damaged walls with faithful reproductions of the original.

Exterior of the palace

Palacio Real, Madrid, España, 2014-12-27, DD 12
One of the entrances to the Palace.
Royal Palace of Madrid 01
Detail of the facade over the Prince's Gate. Reccared II and Liuva II, Visigoth kings, flanking the arms of Spain. The statues do not match the names on the bases.

The main facade of the Palace, the one facing the Plaza de la Armeria, consists of a two-story rusticated stone base, from which rise Ionic columns on Tuscan pilasters framing the windows of the three main floors. The upper story is hidden behind a cornice which encircles the building and is capped with a large ballustrade. The ballustrade was adorned with a series of statues of saints and kings, but these were relocated elsewhere under the reign of Charles III to give the building a more classical appearance.[4]:18

The restoration of facade in 1973, which includes Sabitini's balcony of four Doric columns, returned some of Sachetti's sculptures. These include statues of the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II and the Inca emperor Atahualpa, works by Juan Pascual de Mena and Domingo Martínez, respectively. Representations of the Roman emperors Honorius, Theodosius I, and Arcadius by G.D. Olivieri, and Trajan by Felipe de Castro were placed in the Prince's courtyard. Flanking Sabatini's clock the Statues of Philip V, Ferdinand VI, Barbara of Braganza and Maria Luisa of Savoy interspersed with The Rising Sun Following the Zodiac. Above the clock is the royal coat of arms flanked by angels, and above, bells dating from 1637 and 1761.[4]:18–20[5]:14–15

Plaza de la Armería

Madrid May 2014-34a
View from the Plaza de la Armeria

The square as it exists now was laid-out in 1892, according to a plan by the architect Enrique María Repullés. However, the history of this square dates back to 1553, the year in which Philip II ordered a building to house the royal stables.

The Almudena Cathedral faces the palace across the plaza. Its exterior is neo-classical to match its surroundings while its interior is neo-gothic. Construction was funded by King Alfonso XII to house the remains of his wife Mercedes of Orléans.[9] Construction of the church began in 1878 and concluded in 1992.

Narciso Pascual Colomer, the same architect who crafted the Plaza de Oriente, designed the layout of the plaza in 1879, but failed to materialize. The site now occupied by the Plaza de la Armería was used for many decades as anteplaza de armas. Sachetti tried to build a cathedral to finish the cornice of the Manzanares, and Sabatini proposed to unite this building with the royal palace, to form a single block. Both projects were ignored by Charles III.

Ángel Fernández de los Ríos in 1868 proposed the creation of a large wooded area that would travel all around the Plaza de Oriente, in order to give a better view of the Royal Palace. A decade later Segundo de Lema added a staircase to the original design of Fernández, which led to the idea of Francisco de Cubas to give more importance to the emerging church of Almudena.

Plaza de Oriente

The Plaza de Oriente is a rectangular park that connects the east facade of Palacio Real to the Teatro Real. The eastern side of plaza is curved and bordered by several cafes in the adjoining buildings. Although the plaza was part of Sacchetti's plan for the palace, construction did not begin until 1808 when King Joseph Bonaparte, who ordered the demolition of approximately 60 medieval structures, that included a church, monastery and royal library, located on the site. Joseph was deposed before construction was completed, it was finished by Queen Isabella II who charged architect Narciso Pascual Colomer with creating the final design in 1844.[10][11]

Plaza de Oriente (Madrid) 11
Statues of the Gothic kings in the Plaza de Oriente.

Pathways divide the Plaza into three main plots: the Central Gardens, the Cabo Noval Gardens and the Lepanto Gardens. The Central Gardens are arranged in a grid around the central monument to Philip IV, following the Baroque model garden. They consist of seven flowerbeds, each bordered with box hedges and holding small cypress, yew and magnolias and annual flowers. The north and south boundaries of the Central Gardens are marked by a row of statues, popularly known as the Gothic kings— sculptures representing five Visigoth rulers and fifteen rulers of the early Christian kingdoms in the Reconquista. They are carved from limestone, and are part of a series dedicated to all monarchs of Spain. These were ordered for the decoration of the Palacio Real and were executed between 1750 and 1753. Engineers felt the statues were too heavy for the palace ballustrade, so they were left on ground level where their lack of fine detail is readily apparent. The remainder of the statues are in the Sabatini Gardens.[12][13]

Isabel II laid out the grounds so that Pietro Tacca's equestrian statue of Philip IV was placed in the center, opposite the Prince's Gate.[4]:82

Campo del Moro Gardens

España - Madrid - Campo del Moro - Entrada
View of Paseo Principal, part of Campo del Moro Gardens.

These gardens are so named because the Muslim leader Ali ben Yusuf allegedly camped here with his troops in 1109 during an attempted reconquest of Madrid. The first improvements to the area occurred under King Philip IV, who built fountains and planted various types of vegetation, but its overall look remained largely neglected. During the construction of the palace various landscaping projects were put forth based on the gardens of the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, but lack of funds hampered further improvement until the reign of Isabel II who began work in earnest. Following the taste of the times, the park was designed in the Romanticist style.

The Triton fountain from the Islet Garden of Aranjuez and the Fountain of the Shells from the Palace of the Infante Luis at Boadilla del Monte were aligned in the center of the right angled pathways by Isabel II, according to plans by Narciso Pascual Colomer. Under the regency of Maria Christina of Austria, the park was reformed according to Ramon Oliva's romanticism plans. Between the Fountain of Tritons and the palace is The Large Cavern or Grotto (Camellia House), built by Juan de Villanueva during the reign of Joseph Bonaparte. Sacchetti's 1757-1758 Little Cavern or Grotto (Potato Room) is in front of the Parade Ground.[4]:82–83[5]:60–63

Sabatini Gardens

Palacio Real, Madrid, España, 2014-12-27, DD 09
View from the Sabatini Gardens.

The Sabatini Gardens adjoin the north side of the Palacio real and extend to the calle de Bailén and the cuesta de San Vicente. The garden follows the symmetrical French design and work began in 1933, under the Republican government. Although they were designed by Zaragozan architect Fernando García Mercadal, they were named for Francesco Sabatini who designed the royal stables that previously occupied this site. These gardens feature a large rectangular pond which is surrounded by four fountains and statues of Spanish kings which were originally intended to crown the Royal Palace. Geometrically sited between its rides, there are several fountains.[14]

The Republican government constructed the gardens to return the area from control of the royal family to the people, the public was not allowed in the gardens until 1978 when they were opened by King Juan Carlos I.[15]

Interior of the palace

Ground Floor

Grand Staircase

Royal Palace of Madrid Frescoe
Giaquinto's fresco above the staircase

Built by Sabatini in 1789 when Charles IV wanted it moved to the opposite side of where Sabatini placed it in 1760, it 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. The frescoes on the ceiling is by Corrado Giaquinto and depicts Religion Protected by Spain.[4]:24 On the ground floor is a statue of Charles III in Roman toga, with a similar statue on the first floor depicting Charles IV. The four cartouches at the corners depict the elements of water, earth, air and fire.[5]:30

Royal Library

The Royal Library was moved to the lower floor during the regency of Maria Christina. The bookshelves date from the period of Charles III, Isabel II and Alfonso XII.[4]:77

Highlights of the collection include the Book of hours of Isabella I of Castile, a codex of the time of Alfonso XI of Castile, a Bible of Doña María de Molina and the Fiestas reales, dedicated to Ferdinand VI by Farinelli. Also important are the maps kept in the library, which analyze the extent of the kingdoms under the Spanish Empire. Also on display a selection of the best medals from the Royal Collection.

Royal Pharmacy.

The bookcovers demonstrate evolution of binding styles by era. Examples in the holdings include Rococo in gold with iron lace, Neoclassical in polychrome and Romantic with Gothic and Renaissance motifs.

The Archives of the Royal Palace contains approximately twenty thousand articles ranging from the Disastrous decade (1823-1833) to the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931. In addition, it holds some scores of musicians of the Royal Chapel, privileges of various kings, the founding order of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the testament of Philip II and correspondence of most of the kings of the House of Bourbon.

Royal Pharmacy

During the reign of Felipe II the Royal Pharmacy became an appendage of the royal household and ordered the supply of medicines, a role that continues today.

The collection includes jars made by La Granja de San Ildefonso, 19th century, and Talavera de la Reina pottery, 18th century.[4]:78

Royal Armory

Royal Armory

Along with the Imperial Armoury of Vienna, the armory is considered one of the best in the world and consists of pieces as early as the 13th century. The building, designed by J.S. de Lema and E. Repulles, was opened in 1897.[5]:54

The collection highlights the tournament pieces made for Charles V and Philip II by the leading armourers of Milan and Augsburg. Among the most remarkable works are full armour and weapons that Emperor Charles V used in the Battle of Mühlberg, and which was portrayed by Titian in his famous equestrian portrait housed at the Museo del Prado. Unfortunately, parts of the collection were lost during the Peninsular War and during the Spanish Civil War.

Still, the armoury retains some of the most important pieces of this art in Europe and the world, including a shield and burgonet by Francesco and Filippo Negroli, one of the most famous designers in the armourers' guild.[5]:56–57

First floor

King Charles III's Apartments

The Halberdier's Room, or Guard Room, was designed by Sabatini, and includes the fresco by Tiepolo, Venus and Vulcan. Two paintings by Luca Giordano depict scenes from the life of Solomon.[4]:26–28[5]:32–33

The Hall of Columns has a ceiling fresco by Giaquinto, representing The Sun before Which All the Forces of Nature Awaken and Rejoice, an allegory of the king as Apollo. An 1878 bronze statue of Charles V Vanquishing Fury is by Ferdinand Barbedienne. The bronze chandeliers were made in Paris in 1846, and installed by Isbella II for her balls.[4]:28–31[5]:34–35

The Throne Room dates from Charles III in 1772, and features Tiepolo's ceiling fresco, The Apotheosis of the Spanish Monarchy. Bronze sculptures include the Four Cardinal Virtues, four of the Seven Planets, Satyr, Germanicus, and four Medici lions flanking the dual throne.[4]:34–40[5]:50–53

Charles III's Anteroom (Saleta) contains a 1774 ceiling fresco Apotheosis of Trajan by A.R. Mengs. The Antechamber of Charles III (The Conversation Room) also contains a ceiling fresco by Mengs, The Apotheosis of Hercules. This room has four royal family portraits by Goya.[4]:40–47[5]:36–37

The Queen's apartments and banqueting hall

Formerly the queen's apartments under Charles III, the three rooms were converted into a banquet hall by Alfonso XII in 1879, and completed in 1885. The three ceiling frescoes remained though, Dawn in Her Chariot by Raphael Mengs, Christopher Columbus Offering the New World to the Catholic Monarchs by Alejandro González Velázquez, and Boabdil Giving the Keys to Granada to the Catholic Monarchs by Francisco Bayeu y Subías.[4]:56–59[5]:44–45

Apartments of Infante Luis

These rooms were formerly occupied by Infante Luis, Count of Chinchón before his exile. The Stradivarius Room now contains a viola, two viloncello, and two violins by Stradivari. The ceiling fresco by A. G. Velazquez, depicts Gentleness accompanied by the Four Cardinal Virtues.[4]:62–63

The Chamber of the Infante Luis, Musical Instruments Room, has a ceiling fresco by Francisco Bayeu depicting Providence Presiding over the Virtues and Faculties of Man.[4]:62–64

Royal Chapel

Designed in 1748 by Sacchetti and Ventura Rodríguez, the chapel features ceiling frescoes by Giaquinto, including The Trinity, Allegory of Religion, Glory and the Holy Trinity Crowning the Virgin. Above the High Altar is Ramon Bayeu's St. Michael. The reliquary altar has Ercole Ferrata's 1659 silver relief Pope Leo I Stopping Attila at the Gates of Rome.[4]:67–70[5]:46–47

The Crown Room

Formerly the apartment of Alfonso XIII's mother, Maria Christina of Austria, the room contains Charles III's throne, scepter and crown. Tapestries from Jacopo Amigoni's Four Seasons adorn the walls. Also of note are the abdication speech of Juan Carlos I and the proclamation speech of Felipe VI.[5]:48–49


Ranken, William Bruce Ellis; The Gasperini Room, Royal Palace, Madrid, Spain

The Gasperini Room, Royal Palace, Madrid, Spain, 1927

Ranken, William Bruce Ellis; The Porcelain Room, Royal Palace, Madrid

The Porcelain Room, Royal Palace, Madrid, 1927

Ranken, William Bruce Ellis; Salon of Charles III

Salon of Charles III, Royal Palace, Madrid, 1927

Spanish Royal Crown 1crop

Spanish Royal Crown and Scepter


The wedding banquet of Prince Felipe and Letizia Ortiz took place on 22 May 2004 in the central courtyard of the Palace.

See also


  1. ^ "Palacio Real". Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  2. ^ Yahoo! Inc. (2004). "What is the biggest palace in Europe?". Yahoo! Inc. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Sancho, J.L., 2014, Guide Palacio Real de Madrid, Madrid: Patrimonio Nacional, ISBN 9788471202949
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Viso, E.E., 2014, The Royal Palace Madrid, Madrid: Patrimonio Nacional, ISBN 9782758005896
  6. ^ "Palacio Real de Madrid". Archived from the original on 2013-01-12.
  7. ^ Fernando Brambalia. "View of part of the Royal Palace taken from la Cuesta de la Vega". Spain Ministry of Economy and Public Administrations. Archived from the original on 2010-04-06. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  8. ^ Autonomous University of Madrid (6 May 2003). "Calle del Arenal 13". Madrid Histórico. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  9. ^ "Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena". Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  10. ^ "Plaza de Oriente". Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  11. ^ "Plaza de Oriente, Madrid". Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  12. ^ Álvarez Rodríguez, Miguel (2003). Memoria monumental de Madrid: guía de estatuas y bustos. La Liberia. ISBN 84-95889-61-7.
  13. ^ Salvador Prieto, María del Socorro (1990). Escultura monumental en Madrid: calles, plazas y jardines públicos (1875–1936). Alpuerto. ISBN 84-381-0147-X.
  14. ^ Slavito (5 February 2008). "Sabatini Gardens: Chilling With the Kings". Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  15. ^ "Jardines de Sabatini". Retrieved 2012-11-30.

External links

2007 Women's World Open Squash Championship

The 2007 Women's World Open Squash Championship is the women's edition of the 2007 World Open, which serves as the individual world championship for squash players. The event was held outsite the Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Spain from 23 to 27 October 2007. Rachael Grinham defeated sister Natalie in the final.


The adarga was a hard leather shield used originally by the Moors of Spain, its name derived from the Arabic "al-daraqa" ("shield"). An important center of manufacture of the adarga was the city of Fes, Morocco. The adarga was typically made from the hide of the antelope (probably the Arabian Oryx) and was extremely resistant to the blows of sword, lance and arrow, but other kinds of leather were used as well. Inside, in the center, was a pair of leather grips held in the hand or strapped to the forearm with a small cushion beneath to absorb impact. Originally the adarga was round, then heart shaped, then finally it took the form of a pair of overlapping ellipses or ovals, measuring 69–80 cm (27–31.5 in) in the long axis. Two or more layers of hide were glued and sewn together to make the adarga both rigid and elastic, and often decorated with incised and gilt ornaments, Moorish inscriptions, and metal appliques and borders.The adarga was a traditional defense employed by the Moorish light horseman, who used it along with the lance. Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries the adarga was also used by Spanish Christian soldiers including their own light cavalry (la jineta), some of whom adopted Moorish fighting patterns. The adarga was in widespread use in Europe until the 16th century and the progress of firearms. The adarga continued to be used until the early 19th century by soldado de cuera in New Spain. These adargas were often decorated with the Spanish coat-of-arms.

Some impressive examples of the adarga are preserved in the Royal Armoury of the Royal Palace of Madrid, while one unique example is made from a large tortoise shell, taken at the Battle of Vienna in 1683 from the Turks, and is preserved in the armory of the Mons Clara Monastery at Częstochowa, Poland. The majority of surviving adargas are highly ornamental with painted decoration and were used by Spanish nobles in tournament cavalry combat, particularly in the juego de las cañas ("game of canes"), a sport of the 16th and 17th centuries involving teams of horsemen who hurled javelins made of cane at one another that had to be dodged or deflected with the adarga, imitating past battles against the Moors.

Antonio Fernández Arias

Antonio Fernández Arias (around 1614 – 1684) was a Spanish painter of the Baroque period.

He was born in Madrid to a Galician father. He was a precocious pupil of Pedro de las Cuevas, and employed at the age of 11 years to help in painting the main altar of chapel of Carmen Calzado de Toledo. By 22 years, he was one of the more prized painters in Madrid, employed by the Conde-Duque de Olivares along with Francisco Camilo and Alonso Cano to paint the portraits in the Hall of the Kings of the Royal Palace of Madrid. He never lacked commissions, he painted 11 paintings for the cloister of the convent of Agustines at San Felipe el Real, in which he represented among other topics, the Passion of Christ and the Baptism of Saint Cines. He painted Sts. Peter, Paul, John, and other saints for the order of Agonizantes de la calle de Fuencarral. Arias died poor in the general hospital of Madrid.

Blessed sword and hat

The blessed sword (Latin: ensis benedictus, Italian: stocco benedetto or stocco pontificio) and the blessed hat (also: ducal hat, Latin: pileus or capellus, Italian: berrettone pontificio or berrettone ducale) were a gift offered by popes to Catholic monarchs or other secular recipients in recognition of their defence of Christendom. Each pair was blessed by a pope on Christmas Eve in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The sword was an ornate ceremonial weapon, usually large, up to 2 metres long, with the hilt embellished with the pope's coat of arms, and the blade with the pope's name. A similarly ornate scabbard and belt were added to the sword. The hat was a cylinder made of red velvet with two lappets hanging down from its top. The right-hand side of the hat was decorated with a dove representing the Holy Spirit embroidered in pearls, while a shining sun symbolising Christ was embroidered in goldwork on the top.The earliest preserved blessed sword, now located at the Royal Armory in Madrid, was given by Pope Eugene IV to King John II of Castile in 1446. The latest preserved of the blessed swords, now at the National Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris, was blessed in 1772 by Pope Clement XIV and presented to Francisco Ximenes de Texada, grand master of the Knights Hospitaller. Not all recipients are known; among those whose names have been preserved, there were at least twelve emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, ten kings of France, seven kings of Poland, and six kings of Spain. Additionally, three or four blessed swords and hats were given to kings of England, two or three to kings of Scots, and three each to the kings of Hungary and Portugal. Recipients also included various princes, including heirs-apparent, archdukes, dukes, noblemen, military commanders, as well as cities and states.

Campo del Moro

Campo del Moro is a park in Madrid, Spain.


Colada is one of the two best-known swords, along with Tizona, of El Cid Campeador. Won in combat from the Count of Barcelona, the sword was presented (along with Tizona) to his sons in law. According to the heroic verses of the Cantar de mio Cid, after his sons-in-law beat his daughters and then abandoned them on the side of the road, El Cid asked for his gifts to be returned. Afterward, he bestowed the sword upon one of his knights, Martín Antolínez.

Though its authenticity is doubted, a blade named Colada and traditionally identified with that of El Cid, with the addition of a 16th-century hilt, is preserved in the Royal Palace of Madrid. It is necessary to add that El Cid's sword is displayed in the Museum as the "Tizona" Sword, the name Colada could have easily been appointed by popular culture since Bards at the time shared stories of folklorical nature which were far from being based on historical facts.

According to Sebastián de Covarrubias, Colada clearly means a sword made from "acero colado" ("cast steel"), a process of alloyed steel without impurities.

As with Tizona, Colada appears in the epic poem Cantar de mio Cid as a sword that frightens unworthy opponents if wielded by a brave warrior. El Cid gives the sword to Martín Antolínez as a present, and he uses it in the duel against the infante Diego González.

Maria Amalia of Saxony

Maria Amalia of Saxony (Maria Amalia Christina Franziska Xaveria Flora Walburga; 24 November 1724 – 27 September 1760) was Queen consort of Naples and Sicily from 1738 till 1759 and then Queen consort of Spain from 1759 until her death in 1760, by marriage to Charles III of Spain. A popular consort, she oversaw the construction of the Caserta Palace outside Naples as well as various other projects, and she is known for her influence upon the affairs of state. Moving to Spain in 1759, she then set about the improvements to the Royal Palace of Madrid but died before its completion. Maria Amalia was politically active and openly participated in state affairs in both Naples and Spain.

Mercedes, Princess of Asturias

María de las Mercedes, Princess of Asturias (María de las Mercedes de Borbón y Habsburgo-Lorena) (11 September 1880 – 17 October 1904), was the eldest child of King Alfonso XII of Spain and his second wife, Maria Christina of Austria. She was Princess of Asturias, the heir presumptive to the Crown of Spain, for all 24 years of her life.

Had her younger sibling, unborn at the death of Alfonso XII, been a daughter, Mercedes would have been queen regnant of Spain. The sibling proved to be a boy, Alfonso XIII, and on his birth in 1886, Mercedes turned out not to be queen. She resumed the position of heir presumptive, which she held until her own death, and was succeeded in it by her own infant son Alfonso, Alfonso XIII having not yet married and fathered a legitimate child.

Mercedes married in Madrid on 14 February 1901, her second cousin, Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, a nephew of the King of the then-defunct Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, who was elevated to the rank of Infante of Spain. The marriage was highly controversial due to her father-in-law's ties with the Carlists. She died three years later from complication while giving birth to her third child.

Pascua Militar

The Pascua Militar (English: Military Easter) is a military ceremony that takes place every 6th of January in the Throne Room of the Royal Palace of Madrid. The King of Spain receives the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Chiefs of Staff of all branches, the Grand Masters of the Royal and Military Orders of San Fernando and San Hermenegildo, the Civil Guard chiefs and the Veterans Brotherhood.

The holiday begins with the review of the troops (composed mainly by the Royal Guard) by the Monarch in the courtyard of the Royal Palace after being saluted by the Prime Minister and the Chiefs of Staff. After this, they go to the Throne Room of the Royal Palace where the Monarch rewards some military officers. During this day, both the Monarch and the Defence Minister make speeches to the Government, the highest officers of the Armed Forces and other authorities. These speeches usually reflect the Spanish political and geostrategic situation.

Along with Madrid, the holiday is celebrated in the rest of the country in the different military headquarters.

Project of Filippo Juvarra for the Royal Palace of Madrid

The Project of Filippo Juvarra for the Royal Palace of Madrid was the ambitious and first project for the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Ramal (Madrid Metro)

Ramal (Branch) or Línea R (Line R) of the Madrid Metro is a shuttle train connecting the stations of Ópera and Príncipe Pío. It is located in the Centro district of Madrid, Spain. It is currently the only line in the system to be known by a letter instead of a number, and its name refers to its origins as a branch of Line 2. The line consists of 1.092 km (0.679 mi) of wide-profile tunnels, and its stations have 60-metre (200 ft) platforms.

Ramal starts at Ópera station in the Plaza de Isabel II, passes under the Plaza de Oriente and the gardens of the Royal Palace of Madrid, and ends at Príncipe Pío station. Since Ramal consists of only two stations, it has only two trains, which pass at the halfway point between the stations. At Ópera, there is only one platform; at Príncipe Pío, there are two platforms, but one is used for train storage. Ramal uses 4-car CAF Series 3000 trains.

Regalia of Spain

The Spanish Royal Crown may refer to either the heraldic crown, which does not exist physically; or the crown known as the corona tumular, a physical crown used during proclamation ceremonies since the 18th century.

The last time the crown was shown at a public ceremony was in the Cortes Generales during the swearing-in of His Majesty King Felipe VI on 19 June 2014 after the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos I. Since July 2014, the Crown and sceptre are on permanent public display for the first time ever in the so-called Crown Room at the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Royal Alcázar of Madrid

The Royal Alcázar of Madrid (Spanish: Real Alcázar de Madrid) was a fortress located at the site of today's Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid, Spain. The structure was originally built in the second half of the ninth century, then extended and enlarged over the centuries, particularly after 1560. It was at this time that the fortress was converted into a royal palace, and Madrid became the capital of the Spanish Empire. Despite being a palace, the great building kept its original title of Alcázar (English: "fortress").

The first extension to the building was commissioned by King Charles I (Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor) and completed in 1537. Its exterior was constructed by the architect Juan Gómez de Mora in 1636 on a commission from King Philip IV.

As famous for its artistic treasures as it is for its unusual architecture, it was the residence of the Spanish Royal Family and home of the Court, until its destruction by fire during the reign of King Philip V (the first Bourbon king), on Christmas Eve 1734. Many artistic treasures were lost, including over 500 paintings. Other works, such as Las Meninas by Velázquez, were saved.

Royal Armoury of Madrid

The Royal Armoury of Madrid or Real Armería de Madrid, between many other things, the collection contains the personal arms of the Kings of Spain, and also houses military weapons, armours and diplomatic works of art like mixed tapestries, paintings and other works of art and trophies. Among the most notable parts of the collection features armor and full tools that Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Philip II used. It is considered, along with the Imperial Armory of Vienna, one of the best in the world.The fact be a certain continuity of representation, more or less accurately of the different reigns, has conferred a dynastic character derived from its formation over time.

The decision to grant preferential treatment to the Armory dates back at least to the death of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, which occurred on 21 September 1558. At the end of 1559 had already been made known to the testamentaries of the Emperor the decision of the new King of take to him the Armory.

Salome with the Head of John the Baptist (Caravaggio, Madrid)

Salome with the Head of John the Baptist (Madrid), c. 1609, is a painting by the Italian master Caravaggio in the Palacio Real, Madrid.The early Caravaggio biographer Giovanni Bellori, writing in 1672, records the artist sending a Salome with the Head of John the Baptist from Naples to the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, Fra Alof de Wignacourt, in the hope of regaining favour after having been expelled from the Order in 1608. It seems likely that this is the work, according to Caravaggio scholar John Gash. Gash also notes that the executioner, looking down at the severed head, helps transform the painting "from a provocative spectacle into a profound meditation on death and human malevolence."

Spanish royal sites

The Royal Sites (Spanish: Reales Sitios) are a set of palaces, monasteries, and convents built for and under the patronage of the Spanish monarchy. They are administered by Patrimonio Nacional (National Heritage), a Spanish state agency; most are open to the public, at least in part, except when they are needed for state or official events.

Here is a list of the Patrimonio Nacional royal sites, with the provinces where they are located.

The Garden of Love (Rubens)

The Garden of Love is a painting by Rubens, produced in around 1633 and now in the Prado Museum in Madrid. The work was first listed in 1666, when it was hung in the Royal Palace of Madrid, in the Spanish king's bedroom. In early inventories, the painting was called The Garden Party.It is the apotheosis of the outdoor courtly Merry Company genre painting. The subject of this piece is common in Baroque paintings, which used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, and grandeur. Rubens uses multi-layer allegory and symbolism to his paintings.

The Jester Don John of Austria

The Jester Named Don John of Austria is a portrait by Velázquez, now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Its subject was a jester or bufón at the court of Philip IV of Spain from 1624 to 1654 who appeared in court comedies in front of important court figures. The subject's real name is unknown, but he came to be nicknamed after John of Austria, the son of Charles V, well known for his victory at Lepanto. He is shown dressed in a general's cloak and black doublet, is surrounded by abandoned helmets, armour and weapons, and with a fragment of a battle-scene of Lepanto in the background.

It was produced for display in the Torre de la Parada, a hunting lodge on the outskirts of Madrid in the Sierra de Guadarrama near El Pardo. Around 1635-40 this lodge was one of Philip IV's main architectural projects, since he was a great hunting fanatic who wanted somewhere to rest during the long time he spent on that pastime. Its other homes have been the Palacio del Buen Retiro (1701–16), the Royal Palace of Madrid (1772–1816) and the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (1816–1827), before it finally moved to its current home at the Prado in 1827.

Throne room

A throne room or throne hall is the room, often rather a hall, in the official residence of the crown, either a palace or a fortified castle, where the throne of a senior figure (usually a monarch) is set up with elaborate pomp—usually raised, often with steps, and under a canopy, both of which are part of the original notion of the Greek word thronos.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.