Tag Archives: Almudena Cathedral

Royal Palace of Madrid – Jewel of Spain

imageSimply put, Spain is one of the best vacation options here in Europe, whether you’re traveling as an individual or flying in with your family or friends. What’s interesting about the country is that impressive attractions are not only found in Madrid, its capital, and other large cities, but also in small towns, barrios, and pueblos. One of the major attractions to see is the Palacio Real Madrid — once the residence of the Familia Real de Espana, and now a sought-after museum and considered by many as the  royal jewel of Spain.

Royal Palace of Madrid

imageIf you’re looking for some royal Spanish history to soak into, a must-see within the vibrant city of Madrid is the Royal Palace. Under the administration of the Ministry of the President’s Patrimonio National, it was once the  residence of the Spanish royal family. These days, however,  it functions as a venue for official ceremonies and  events.

Interesting Facts about Palacio Real de Madrid

imageDid you know that the palace covers a wide area of roughly 135,000 square meters? This easily renders it as one of the largest in Europe. It has about 2,800 lavishly decorated rooms, a good number of which the public has access to for general viewing. Entry of visitors is via the Plaza de la Armeria side of the palace.

imageHere are some other important trivia about the royal edifice:

1. Palaces built by the Moors are scattered all over Spain, including Madrid. In fact, it was an Alcazar or Moorish castle/fortress that once stood in the palace’s current location.

2. After the fortress was destroyed by a fire in the 18th Century, Spain’s ruler then, King Philips V, had reconstruction work done with the new design of the palace patterned loosely after France’s own extravagant palace – the Versailles.

3. It was the  royal residence up to 1931, when the King and his family decided to take residence at the Palacio de la Zarzuela, located in the outskirts of the capital. The the Real Palacio, it is under the administration of Spain’s Patrimonio Nacional.

image4. Reconstruction was started by Italian architect Filippo Juvarra and finished by another architect, Francesco Sabatini. The latter, also from Italy, was likewise the designer of the famous Jardines de Sabatini, the official royal garden.

5. A strong rival to top Spanish museums, on display everywhere the palace are a rich collection of gold and silver items, expensive jewels, luxurious furniture, and a wide array of valuable painting from revered artists like Velazquez, Giordano and Goya.

6. The Royal Palace of Madrid has a coveted location within Madrid, if I must say. It is near charming and quaint plazas, the Plaza del Oriente and Plaza de Isabel II and beautiful and luscious gardens, the Sabatini Gardens and Campo del Moro. It has one of the most spectacular Spanish churches in its front, the Almudena Cathedral, the underground museum Museo de los Canos del Peral that’s situated at Madrid Metro Opera, and a good choice of cafes and restaurantes within the vicinity.

Nearby Madrid Attractions

imageAlmudena Catedral, or Sta Maria la Real de La Almudena, Madrid’s Catholic Cathedral

imagePlaza del oriente, the square fronting the Royal Palace
imageStatue of Philips IV and his horse, located in the midst of Plaza del Oriente
imageTeatro Real Madrid (also known as the Royal Thetre) borders the Plaza del Oriente and fronts the palace

imageJardines de Sabatini, an integral part of the palace, sprawls on its northern portion

imageChalet de la Reina at Campo del Moro, a garden beside the palace and located at Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto

Easily, Madrid is filled with museums, plazas, alcazars, and churches. Not only does this afford vacationers the chance to a once-in-a-lifetime vacation; but the city also allows everyone to have a deeper knowledge of the rich Castilian history and culture. And if indeed, you’re staying in the city even for just a few days, do pass by the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Now touted as one of the city’s major museums, thousands upon thousands of visitors go to the site every year. Needless to say, the Palacio Real Madrid is one of the most precious monuments the city has ever possessed.

Opening Hours:

October to March – 10AM to 6PM
April to September – 10AM to 8PM

Royal Palace Madrid Tickets – Admission Prices and Admission Fees

General Admission: 11 euros

Reduced price of 6 euros: Available to children aged 5 to 16, seniors of EU and Latin American countries aged over 65, students under the age of 25

Free admission: Available to children below five years old, teachers, people with disability, and unemployed persons.

You may also gain free access if you go to the site from Monday to Thursday, starting at 4PM up to 6PM (months of October through March); and the same days, from 6PM to 8PM (from April to September). This is applicable only to EU and Latin American citizens.

How to go:

Direccion: Calle de Bailen, Madrid
Nearest Metro Station: Opera (next nearest is Vodafone Sol)

Mapa:

Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de la Almudena: Procession at the Almudena Cathedral

November 9 is a special holiday in Madrid. For the residents of Madrid, Spain, this is a very important date — when the beloved patroness La Virgen de la Almudena is feted. It’s no-work day for Madrilenos in order to offer full honors to the Patron Saint of the city and  celebrating the Lady’s feast.

imagePeople wait for the procession to pass through and enter the Almudena Cathedral. The icon of the Virgin involves a few popular stories, one of which is that the people of ancient Madrid town decided to hide the statue as the town was captured by the Moslem warriors. Upon reconquering of Madrid by Rey Alfonso VI, he and his soldiers looked for the whereabouts of the icon. It was discovered hidden behind a portion of the walls that protected the town

11AM Mass at the Plaza

Everyone gathers within and around the Plaza Mayor, many of them garbed in brightly-colored capes and gowns — known as chulapos and chulapas. Here, they await and hear the special mass that is meant to celebrate Nuestra Senora de la Virgen de la Almudena. People join the procession of the patron as the icon is carried around the area until it is brought to the Cathedral Almuneda. It is one of the most special Spanish holiday, a highly awaited religious event of the city — with all of the local women invited to come and participate in the feast day’s activities, especially the procession.

Legend about the City Patroness

Recognized as the most important religious holiday in Madrid, it comes with a popular legend. It tells about a miracle that is attributed directly to the Virgin of Al Mudena. This particular story, which has been handed down from one generation to another, tells about the icon being hidden during the Moorish invasion and conquest. It was said that 3 lighted candles accompany the statue as it was hidden behind a wall. It was only after three hundred years that the icon was found after an exhaustive search by the Madrilenos, with the candles miraculously still lit.

imageMen and women participants at the plaza in front of the Almudena Cathedral, wearing beautiful suits and gowns as well as long capes – these are the traditional dresses that are worn in celebration of the Fiesta of Madrid’s patron – Virgen de la Almudena
imageWe proceeded to one of the city’s most popular squares – the Plaza Mayor – where a midday mass was held in the midst. This is one of the highlights of the celebration of this religious Spanish holiday of Madrid.  You would realize from the number of attendees in the square that the Virgen de la Almudena is well-loved by the Madrilenos

imageParticipants of the procession walk the streets around the plaza of the Almudena, wearing traditional Chulapo and Chulapa dresses. To honor the Virgin, people offer beautiful flowers to her – this is also a common gesture that befits Madrid’s beloved patroness
imageEveryone joins the Spanish holiday celebration in Madrid last November 9, either as onlookers and participants to the procession. The Virgin of the the Al muneda is an ancient and revered representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The icon serves to remind the people of Madrid that the Virgin of Almoneda is the city’s Patroness
image Statue of Pope John Paul IV in the courtyard of the Catedral.

Where in Madrid:

Calle de Bailen, 10

Map: