Guided tour to the Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid, also known as Palacio de Oriente, is the main landmark in the Spanish capital, and it is the largest royal palace in Europe, since it has an area of 135,000 square metres and more than 3,400 rooms. It is also popularly known as the Palace of the East for the spacious plaza that lies before it and gives it its iconic image.
The location of the current Royal Palace is not accidental, since before its existence, on this same site a Muslim residence was erected in the 9th century for the king of Toledo, who governed these lands. And previously, in the 16th century, the King of Castile built a palace here.
However, the great building that remains dates back to the 18th century, when Felipe V entrusted its construction to Italian architect Filippo in 1738. But it was not this architect who carried out most of the work, since he died. Giovanni Battista Sachetti then took charge and gave it its final quadrangular outline arranged around a square courtyard and with structures protruding at angles.
Given the sheer volume being built, the work lasted for many years and many other architects were involved, including Ventura Rodríguez, who built the Royal Chapel located inside the palace.
While the construction and architecture is magnificent, its interiorhouses works of art of unimaginable value, from paintings by Caravaggio, Velázquez, Goya or Tiépolo to unique collections of silver, tapestries, weapons, clocks and splendid period furniture, not to mention its collection of musical instruments, including original Stradivarius violins.
In addition to the rear of the palace, the Gardens of Sabatini open to the north. It is a spacious green zone in Neo-classical style that carries the name Sabatini in honour of the architect who designed them but did not construct them, since the royal stables were located here, now memorialized by the presence of the Carriage Museum. However, at the start of the 20th century those stables were demolished and these gardens were recreated, in which you can strong among trees, flower gardens and spectacular fountains.
The Royal Palace can be visited even though it is the residence of the Spanish Royal Family. However, the monarchs live in the Zarzuela Palace, and currently the Royal Palace is used overall for official receptions for people from other countries.