Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Monday, 13 June 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  8 minutes

© José Luis Filpo Cabana/cc-by-3.0

© José Luis Filpo Cabana/cc-by-3.0

The Royal Palace of Aranjuez (Spanish: Palacio Real de Aranjuez) is a former Spanish royal residence. It is located 5 km south of Madrid in the town of Aranjuez, Spain. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid.

Several international treaties were signed there and several members of the royal family died there, including:

In 1931, during the Second Spanish Republic, the area was declared an Artistic Historical Monument and opened to the public. The palace, gardens and associated buildings are part of the Aranjuez Cultural Landscape, which was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Cultural Organization in 2001. It is open to the public as one of several Spanish royal sites in the Community of Madrid, Spain. Management is entrusted to the Spanish Patrimonio Nacional, which does not allow private photography of its interior for security reasons. However, licenses may be available for specific purposes upon application. The area around Aranjuez enjoys a mild climate, a verdant and varied landscape with excellent game hunting and has long been inhabited.

Queen's Garden © Rodelar/cc-by-sa-4.0 Palacio Real and Plaza de Toros © Ángel Serrano Sánchez de León/cc-by-sa-3.0 © José Luis Filpo Cabana/cc-by-3.0 © flickr.com - Fernando Garcia/cc-by-2.0 Throne Room © Fabio Alessandro Locati/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Marostegui/cc-by-sa-4.0 Casa del Labrador © Ángel Serrano Sánchez de León/cc-by-sa-3.0 King's Garden © Ángel Serrano Sánchez de León/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Palacio Real and Plaza de Toros © Ángel Serrano Sánchez de León/cc-by-sa-3.0
The palace is the centerpiece set of a royal estate. To the north are former potager gardens, now agricultural land intersected by geometric tree-lined “royal rides” which are now open to the public and mostly pedestrian walkways. To the east are a trident of paved roads (Reina, Principe & Infantas) along which the nobility erected family residences. To the west are a matching trident of rural tracks, one of which was the royal access road lined by barracks (now ruined). Furthest from the palace is an open area, the Raso de Estrella, the site of the original hunting lodge and now a festival ground. The original railway station was also here, before it was relocated further west of the current site. Some of the former railway sidings – now a car park for commuters – are also still discernible. Directly in front of the palace is the oval lawn surrounded by monumental stone benches. The tourist mini-train stop is near there. To the south is the Plaza de Parejas, an open sandy area surrounded by various palace dependencies described below.

The south of the palace is a large open square known as Plaza de las Parejas in reference to equestrian events formerly held there. (The nobility competed or paraded in pairs or parejas). It is defined on the east by a Renaissance-style two-story building, which was the auxiliary dependence of the palace (Casa de Caballeros y Oficios – now the local law courts and tax offices). To the west a warehouse area, servant halls and (after the fire) a separate kitchen-house (Casa de Fogones). In front – facing the palace (later a hotel) is the Casa del Principe de Paz, intended to be the residence of Manuel Godoy. The palace consists of two floors. The ground level is lit by windows crowned by semicircular arches, while the upper floor opens onto balconies with iron railings. The central body of the palace rises to a third level surmounted by a pediment bearing the shield of Ferdinand VI. At the sides of the shield are engraved two inscriptions. The left one reads “Philippus II / Institvit / Philippus V / provexit” (initiated by Philip II and continued by Philip V). The right one reads ” Ferdinandu / VI Pius Felix / Consummavit / An MDCCLII” (Completed in 1752 by the faithful and devout Ferdinand VI).

Public access is to the east, via the M-305 road and boat-bridge. For royalty, the traditionally formal access to the Palace is to cross the river Tagus by the (now closed) road to the west near the confluence and then travel eastwards, entering via the Plaza de Armas and through the portico of the central body. The central rise in the elevation of the building is to emphasise the main portico that is framed by five symmetrical exterior arches. On the ledge are statues carved by Pedro Martinengo portraying Philip II, Philip V and Ferdinand VI. On either side of the portico, the wings have three grand terminal arches to further emphasise the grandeur of this royal access. Above the portico is a large balcony with stone parapets overlooking the courtyard. The portico provides access to the interior through a hall that in turn leads to a grand central staircase made by Giacomo Bonavía at the behest of Ferdinand VI. The balustrade is of black iron with gold trim and fits within the Rococo trend. From the ceiling hangs an Empire style large chandelier gilt bronze and crystal from La Granja.

Behind the palace’s main body is an interior courtyard around which are distributed the various halls. In both corners can be seen two small towers surmounted by domes resting on shallow circular drums with small windows that illuminate the interior, in one of which is set a clock. The lobby is decorated with sculptures and on the top floor are three marble busts inside alcoves representing Louis XIV of France, his wife Maria Theresa of Spain and their son Louis, the Grand Dauphin. These busts were made in 1683 by French sculptor Antoine Coysevox. The presence of these three French characters in the palace is explained by the connections to the Spanish Royal Bourbon family with the French monarchy and particularly The Grand Dauphin who was the father of Philip V and his parents, the grandparents of Philip. In almost all halls of the palace are clocks of all sizes and characteristics, as King Charles IV was a collector of clocks and an Horologer.

Read more on Royal Palace of Aranjuez and Wikipedia Royal Palace of Aranjuez (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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