Spanish Royal Residences

History of Spain is a matter of changing periods, conquests, religious reformations and transformations of authority. Since 1977 Spain became a parliamentary monarchy, as Juan Carlos I was crowned. To date Spanish royal family has numerous representatives, who became a face of the whole country despite a formal and a humanitarian engagement solely. Tourist attractions of Spain also include royal sites, both castles and monasteries; it is clear as a day that their historic and architect magnificence is the non-doubtful issue to consider.

 The Royal Palace in Madrid

First of all, it is related to the Royal Palace in Madrid – momentous construction and head residency of the Spanish Kings in the western part of the capital. In contrast to its modern official status, the history of palace dates back to the first decades of Spain as a monarchy. In particular, it was a residency and a fortress of Moorish emirs, the castle of the Hapsburg dynasty, which was destroyed in case of fire in 1734. The palace in its modern state was rebuilt by Philip V of Spain (House of Bourbon). It is of rectangular shape, performed in Baroque style. The exquisite feature of the palace view is a large park around, including the Museum of royal coaches, started in the 19th century.

El Escorial

One hour away from Madrid, El Escorial is situated, “The Eighth Wonder of The World” as Spaniards call it. At first glance, this royal palace seems pretty dull and gloomy, but it is a real architect marvel, considering its interior records: 16 km of hallways, 2500 windows, 1250 doors, 13 chapels, 9 towers and nearly 1600 paintings, which form one of the most abundant art galleries in Europe. Its construction started in 1550s, just after the Spanish victory in Saint-Quentin battle on August 10th, 1557. It is interesting that on the same day the St. Laurence Day was celebrated and the church called after him was destroyed. Philip II of Spain promised to build a new monastery dedicated to the Saint and that is how El Escorial has emerged. To date, it is a set of royal residency, national archive, huge library, and monastery and art gallery.

Alcázar of Segovia

Alcázar of Segovia is a mix of a castle and a fortress, the erection of which started in 1120. There is some mentioning of its founding by Moors, but the transformation of its visual view and interior is assigned to numerous royal dynasties, which recognized the Alcazar as a strategically located fort and a presentable palace. To date, it is a significant historical spot in Spain, which draws the attention of travelers with its Hall of Thrones in its original Moor design and astonishing portraits of Catholic monarchs, the Hall of Kings as a place of official ceremonies and the Hall of Ajimeces, which is the storage of rich art collections. 


Aranjuez was initially a summer residency of Spanish royalty, 50 km south to Madrid on the Tagus River. Its construction lasted almost the entire 17th century, but started under the guidance of Philip II of Spain. The variety of materials used and a beautiful façade decoration made it a real architect wonder at the time. There are some assumptions that it appeared to be some kind of respond to French Versailles. The entrance to the castle is marked with the statues of the most important people – Spanish kings, who lived here - Philip II (1527-1598), Philip V (1683-1746) and Ferdinand VI (1713-1759). As the House of Bourbon took the throne, the status of summer residence was given to the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso.

La Granja de San Ildefonso

The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso is one of the three main residences of Spanish royals and it is located near Segovia. It was started in the 18th century, when Philip V of Spain pointed the beauty of these lands during hunting. At first, the idea featured a small residence, but the monarch enlarged the building; during the construction period many barracks and even glass factory were arranged nearby. La Granja de San Ildefonso became the object of royal adoration and Philip V gave in will to bury him in the castle monastery. The Marvelous fountains, the 6 km long colorful gardens and the fascinating collection of tapestries attract enormous quantity of visitors nowadays. 

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