Tag Archives: Plaza de Isabel II

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)

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Exploring Plaza de Isabel II: Back in Madrid [Back to Reality]

Till now, brimming in me is this euphoric feeling created out of the experience I had from my trip to Southern Spain’s Andalucia. While I was still thinking (and gushing) about it, rereading the articles that I wrote about it, editing them, adding images – I thought it’s high time that I lift myself from this and switch to normal mode, and go about my usual, normal days in Madrid like I didn’t leave at all.

I must say, however, that I was glad I made that trip to Cordoba and Granada’s Alhambra because these are just awesome, historic sites that are must-sees, even if once in your lifetime. Frankly I came out from that trip racking my brain, trying to make an iota of it comprehend what I just witnessed and experienced. At the very least, the trip served to prove there’s so much more to see outside Madrid – ones that are as fascinating and beautiful.

But so far, Andalucia is the best, bar none.

imageAnd so, these days I constantly remind myself that my blog is all about Spain’s capital. After two consecutive outside-the-city articles, I need to post one that discusses anything Madrid (this is necessary in the quest for search engine optimization). This particular post is about a topic that I am really fond of, and have written about many times already – Madrid’s plazas. Let’s visit one that’s right in the city’s midst — Plaza de Isabel II.

Isabel II is small, much smaller than the larger ones like the square of Puerta del Sol, Plaza de Cibeles and even Plaza Major.

But certainly, it’s no less popular.

In fact, it never runs of crowds all throughout the day – maybe it’s because of the many seats scattered in the area, several in front of Teatro Real, as well as the long concrete bench that line the border between the square and Calle de Arenal, the street that immediately adjoins it.

I was lucky to have passed by the place last Sunday as I got the chance to watch a group of dancers that did a couple of traditional-type dances to the delight of everyone around. They were doing the Chotis, a popular, age-long Spanish dance usually performed during important occasions such as the Fiesta de San Isidro.

imageGoing to Isabel square was not intentional really, I was there to while away time as I waited for the 6PM mass at San Gines Church. Fortunately, I chanced on these three lovely dancers in their finest chulapa attires and performing the lusty dance called Chotis in front of the Teatro Real. Lucky day indeed for me, having been treated to a chotis show

No ordinary square

Plaza de Isabel II is not like those ordinary squares. It is special mainly because it’s dedicated to one of the historic queens of the country – Reina Isabel. It is a quaint and beautiful square, connected to Plaza del Sol via a partly pedestrianized street – Calle Arenal. Also within walking distance is the another square, the Plaza del Oriente, the Royal Palace, and the Jardines de Sabatini.

At times, you would think you had enough and must have some time away from Madrid’s bars and similar places that are all about busy, noisy, and sometimes (this can’t be denied) nauseating goings-on. A great alternative are those plaza – they offer open spaces with plenty of fresh air and warm sunshine, benches to sit in and have some great chats, and sometimes, entertaining outdoor performances. Of course, one of them is the Isabel II Square.

Here’s what to see at Plaza de Isabel II

imageTeatro Real or Teatro Opera is a unique edifice in that its front and back facade face two squares – Plaza de Isabel and Plaza del Oriente
imageStatue of Isabel II, standing in the middle of the plaza, dedicated to the Queen Isabel II
imageReal cinema, also known as Cine Real Opera, is a theater fronting the Plaza de Isabel II. At the time it was inaugurated in 1920, the cinema was considered the largest theater not only in the city, but in the whole of Spain,. It boasted of a seating capacity of 1000. By the looks of it, the theater is now non-operational, although it is said that theater shows and acts are being held here from time to time

imageA man takes a rest on a concrete seat in front of the Opera Theater

imageTaberna Real Restaurante is found at the corner of the plaza and Calle Arenal. It is the restaurant of choice by many locals and tourist if only because of its special location – within a plaza that’s historical in its own right. One can enjoy the nice views and interesting happenings at one of the city’s important squares by getting a table at Taberna’s outside dining area. Tapas and vinos are priced quite high, but if only for its location and ambiance, it’s all worth it

imageThis is Calle Arenal, the street that connects Puerta del Sol, Plaza de Oriente, and the Palacio Real to the Isabel II square

imageThe Opera is one of the Stations of Metro Line 2. Next nearest station is the Vodafone Sol

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