This part is about the Palacio district, where the Royal Palace, Palacio Real, lies. Almudena Cathedral, Campo del Moro, Plaza Oriente, Plaza Isabel II and Principe Pio are also in the surroundings. Palacio is one of the nicest areas in Madrid, relaxed and small scale with mostly pedestrian streets. It is just a short walk from Plaza de Espana, Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Palacio Real, the largest palace in Europe of its kind, was built for the Habsburg family.
Palacio Real, The Royal Palace, is the largest palace of its kind in Europe. It was built for the Austrian Habsburg family as a replacement for their old castle, that burnt down. It was drawn by G.B. Sacchetti, with inspiration from Bernini's drawings of The Louvre in Paris. It was built between 1738 and 1764 and contains 2000 rooms, but only 50 are open to public.
Half of the halls are open to public, but I never visited due to extremely long queues.
The palace might be impressive, but the current Spanish king prefers to live in Palacio de Zarzuela outside the city. Perhaps because of privacy issues.
The entrance to Palacio Real is guarded by a royal guard.
The palace's Neo Classical facade. It was the principal royal residence until Alfonso XIII went into exile in 1931. Joseph Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington also
Police cars and even trucks are guarding the palace.
Tourists outside the gates of the Royal Palace.
View towards the outskirts, closely bordering the city center, the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains and part of the palace. Note the zeppelin in the sky!
This is the line to the Royal Palace, in front of Almudena Cathedral!
Almudena Cathedral, Catedral de Nuestra Señora la Almudena, is more or less part of the Royal Palace complex. It is the most famous church in Madrid.
When Madrid became the capital of Spain in 1561, King Philips II wanted a cathedral for the city. But political turbulences and opposition from the then larger city
The shadow of the cathedral, towards the palace.
The entrance to the cathedral.
A glimpse of the interior of the cathedral (I didn't go inside).
Views from the Royal Palace/Almudena:
Southwest Madrid, commie block skyline.
Jardines de Sabartani:
The entrance to Jardines de Sabartani, right next to the castle.
Jardines de Sabartani, the royal gardens with its perfectly cutted trees.
A man washing himself in Jardines de Sabartani!
Calle de Bailén:
Calle de Bailén is the promenade next to the castle.
Santa Teresa church, medieval revival church with a neobyzantine dome, built in 1923-1928.
Looking towards Plaza de España.
Plaza de Oriente:
Plaza de Oriente is the square right in front of the Royal Palace. It is filled with sculptures, trees and gardens.
The equestrian statue of King Philip IV.
The entrance of the palace seen from Plaza de Oriente.
The gardens of Plaza de Oriente.
Statues of Royalties are all over the plaza. The original purpose was to place them on top of the palace, but they were to heavy so they were placed on the square instead.
Teatro Real, seen from Plaza de Oriente.
Plaza de Isabel II:
Teatro Real, The Royal Theater, seen from Plaza Isabel II. The neo-classical theater was completed in 1850. It is home to Madrid's opera scene.
We visited this café at Plaza Isabel II. The noise was alarming, feeling like a pub. The Hispanic people like to talk very loud, even at a café. A bit funny.
A picturesque scene next to Plaza Isabel II.
Calle Arenal towards Puerta del Sol.
Escalinata towards Plaza Mayor.
Less elegant commie blocks and the chapel Ermita Virgen del Puerto are standing in front of the royal park Campo de Moro.