7 Most Interesting Royal Palace of Madrid Facts
The Royal Palace of Madrid is one of the city’s most exquisite architectural designs along with being one of the most famous of Spain Landmarks for tourists. The palace has a rich history that dates back centuries garnering many interesting facts about the building such as:
1. Did you know that the Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the reigning Royal Family, even though they don’t actually live in it? The Royal Family actually lives in the Palacio de la Zarzuela and uses the ‘other’ palace for official events only.
2. Close to many hotels in Madrid, the palace was built on the site of a 9th century fortress. Carlos I had a permanent residence built on the site, but that burned down in 1734, so the palace that stands today was commissioned by Felipe V as its replacement.
3. The Royal Palace of Madrid was under construction from 1738-1755 and done in the popular Berniniesque style, a Bernini-derived Baroque style made famous by the sculptors of the time.
4. The last monarch to call the palace home was Alfonso XIII. The last official person to inhabit the palace was the President of the Second Republic, Manuel Azana, making him the last head of state to do so.
5. The palace has a whopping 3, 418 rooms and just under 1.5 million—yes, million—square feet of floor space, making it Europe’s largest palace based on floor area.
6. The interior of the Royal Palace of Madrid houses priceless art, paintings, frescoes, watches, porcelain and many other treasures including the world’s only complete Stradivarius sting quintet.
7. The main staircase alone has more than 70 steps, while several rooms are open to the public full of ornate architecture, furniture and the history of the Spanish people.
The palace is certainly one of those must-do places to visit in Madrid, but if the art housed inside leaves you wanting more, you owe it to yourself to also take in the famous Prado Museum Madrid, an art museum located in the heart of the city that ranks as one of the best in the world.
12th century to 19th century art and an extensive collection of Spanish art reside in the museum that includes over 7600 paintings and 1000 sculptures along with thousands of prints, drawings and historic documents.
The Royal Palace of Madrid offers visitors a glimpse inside this majestic structure including the royal art exhibits. They also have special changing of the guard ceremonies every Wednesday at 11am except in the months of July, August and September (weather permitting) that are full of pomp and circumstance. Also not to be missed in your travel to Madrid is the adjoining Royal Armoury with its significant collection of weapons and armour that dates back to the 13th century.