Every Wednesday at 11 in the morning from January to June, four members of the Spanish Royal Guard, two on feet and two on horseback, carry out the changing of the guard in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid’s Puerta de Principe gate. They dress in uniforms similar to those worn by the Spanish army during Alfonso XIII’s reign. They’re accompanied by a fife and a drum. The horseman stand still with the lances and every 15 minutes they move in front of the Royal Palace’s façade.
In total, 27 guards and six horses participate in the ceremony. Each change lasts seven minutes and take place every half hour for the foot soldiers and every hour for the mounted soldiers, until 2 PM.
Additionally, the Relevo Solemne, that commemorates what was done on a daily basis during the times of Alfonso XII and Alfonso XII. This ceremony has been carried out for more than ten years on the first Wednesday of each month. More than 400 men and over 100 horses are involved and it lasts about 40 minutes. The pictures I uploaded are from the changing of the guard.
It’s worth coming on Wednesday to see. The only problem is that people start to line up early in the morning to get a good spot, which can make it almost impossible to find a seat in the stands set up by Madrid’s town hall.
Still, it provides an incentive for tourists and Madrileños alike to see, as you won’t have to go to London, Denmark, or Athens to see a changing of the guards.
The Real Sitio de la Magdalena is located in the peninsula of the same name, at the end of the Paseo del Sardinero. It’s far from the center of the city, but there are many bus lines that take you there. It’s the most emblematic place in Santander, a symbol of the city, and a must-see.
At the entrance you’ll find an information booth and reception where you can also get tickets for a tour of the peninsula by train (winter from 9 to 13:30 and from 15:30 to 18:30; in the summer it’s open all day).
The visit to the place includes several different areas, since it has a total area of 28 hectares: the Palace of La Magdalena from 1912 is located on the highest point. It’s a Victorian-style palace that was a gift to the city of Santander so that Alfonso XIII could have a summer palace. It’s now used by the university (Universidad Internacional Menéndez-Pelayo) but it can still be visited. It was declared Historic-Artistic Monument in 1993.
In front of the Royal Palace you can see Mouro Island, with its lighthouse, royal stables, which are today a residence for foreign students (it has a cafe where you can have something to eat or drink), the mini-zoo, and the open-air museum “The Man and the Earth”, where you can see a reproduction of Columbus’ caravels.
The Bikinis and Magdalena beaches are found to the south of the peninsula in front of the Isla de la Torre and Isla Horadada. There is also a children’s park. The Royal pier and the Cerda lighthouse are to the east of the peninsula.
There are plenty of things to see and it’s really worth the long walk.
My Madrid, my precious Madrid. This building, once the headquarters of the Postal Service, is located in one of my favorite squares in the capital. The square is graced by the goddess Cibeles, whose watchful eyes capture all that happens in Madrid. And while we’re usually too busy rushing from one place to another, if we do stop one day and take a look, Cibeles will show us a magical part of Madrid’s history. After a lengthy restoration, Cibeles is finally open to the public and will be free until July 27th. The renovations look great and the best part is the access to the roof where you can enjoy priceless views of Madrid. It’s fantastic! They’ve also set aside a small part for relaxation complete with pillows, tables, and a bar. The area is decorated in bright, cheerful colors and is a great place to take a break or enjoy a book. In the galleries, you can enjoy the massive glass skylights and see poster-sized photographs documenting the renovations.
What I liked best were the views from the monastery, surrounded by the mountain. I imagined how it had to be before all the tourists began to arrive, without people and the tourist information points along the visit. I imagined silence and an immense green mantle.
The gardens are spectacular. They suck you in. You’ll want to look at them for hours upon hours, walking between the hedges, seeing the sun shine off the leaves as they smoothly pass across your skin like a spring morning.
In the neighborhood of Almozara, and of clear Arab descent, is the “Palace of Happiness”, or the Aljafería Palace. The impressive building is the current place of the Parliament of the Courts of Aragón; this is why the street is called “calle de los diputados” (“members of parliament” street).
I have a long relationship with this building, since I live on the other side of the Aljafería Park; my people, my family and my memories are linked to this place: I have played in the natural labyrinth next to it, I got drunk in this same place, I visited the parliament with school, I have visited its patio and arcades many times and I still think that it is the prettiest Arab building that I have seen; I have shown it to all my friends from other cities and basically I have visited its surroundings many times, and I know the corners by heart, always seeing the same people come again and again to this wonderful place.
Our visit to Aranjuez took us through the chambers of the palace, walking through the large, elegant rooms, discovering the artistic details in each one of the rooms, seeing the paintings covering the walls, the sculptures of Luis IV, María Teresa de Austria, Isabel II’s furniture, the paintings covering the ceilings, and a huge “ETC.” to cover everything else you’ll find in this majestic palace.
Out of all the chambers, I liked the Arabic style one the best. It’s a small room inspired by the Alhambra in Granada that was used as a smoking room. The reduced dimensions and striking decoration take you to a fantasy world… right from 1001 Nights.
If it was located in any another place, if you didn’t visit it after the Nasrid Palace, if it did not enforce one culture upon another... I don't know, that’s a lot of ifs for the only Renaissance palace in our country. I think it does not get the recognition it really deserves and is always a "guest star" of the Alhambra.
It is true that after seeing the splendour of the Palatino Nasrid city, with its oriental architecture and its exquisiteness... bumping into the "rustic" Palacio de Carlos V is like realizing the tale of the thousand and one nights has come to an end.
But forget about everything we have seen before and let’s try to enjoy a Renaissance palace with an accentuated Roman impact. During my visit I was surprised at the set that Pedro Machuca (the architect who devised this place), managed to realize between the tough squared exterior made of hard albeit elegant shapes and the undulating interior, made from open spaces and sets of columns. It really is squaring the circle!
When looking at the Alhambra from the famous viewpoint of San Nicolás, one is grateful for the presence of this palace giving something special to the complex. It is true that to build it some areas of the Muslim palaces were demolished or changed, but... Today none of that remains and what we can see is a Renaissance palace unique to Spain. Sometimes it is used for shows and in the interior there are two museums that stand out: the Museum of the Alhambra and the Fine Arts Museum of Granada.
He who does not know the town of Astorga, owes himself a visit :). There are many gems to be found in this area, including the the Town Hall Square and the enormous cathedral and, of course, the Episcopal Palace or Gaudí Palace. It seems incredible that anyone would dare to express in a building all our childhood dreams of knights and princesses. I don't know anyone who has not been bowled over when they first saw this place.
The Royal Place of La Granja is situated on the northern slope of the Guadarrama mountains, about 90 kilometers away from Madrid. Its name comes from an old farm monastery that was run by monks from Segovia. Felipe V retired to this place in the year 1724 and during the next twenty years he had the gardens and the palace developed and extended. The palace was used as a summer residence by all his successors until Alfonso the 13th. Recently, the palace has undergone restoration and redevelopment of the collections in the official rooms, so that decoration harks back to the days of Philip V. The frescoed vaults, boxes and furniture from the XVIII and XIX are really interesting to see.
The last time I visited, I promised to return…and that is what I have done.
It is, for me, one of the most beautiful palaces I've ever seen.
I couldn’t enter or photograph it in all its glory (it was being restored), but I still admired its beauty from the outside.
Sobrellano Palace was built by the Marquis of Comillas in the same place where his humble home formerly stood.
Magnificent neoclassical building next to the Palace of Guzman. It was built by Gaudi, in chairs from the mountains of Leon. The highlight of the facade are the 4 towers at the corners, slate capped pinnacles. Above the main entrance there's an impressive sculpture of St. George slaying a dragon. Inside there are stained glass windows on cement base, precious. Opposite the building is an urban sculpture in bronze by Antonio Gaudí sitting on a bench. Today is Cajaespaña headquarters, and it sometimes hosts temporary art exhibitions. The building was declared a historic monument in 1969, it is worth a visit, if only in appearance.
It is difficult to go through the plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall square) of Valencia and not look at the Post Office building. For many visitors it has more presence than the Town Hall itself. In the area accessible to the public (where they perform all the formalities of a typical post office) there is a translucent glass dome that lights up the room. If you pass through the plaza del Ayuntamiento I recommend entering to admire the architecture.
Built on an old Gothic palace in 1740 and renovated between 1854 and 1867, this spectacular building leaves one speechless with its amazing facade of alabaster. The Palace, square and irregular arranged around a beautiful courtyard, houses on the second floor the National Ceramics Museum by Gonzalez Marti, whose collection displays objects developed over the millennia to the present day.
When night falls, this fountain, located on the River Turia in Valencia, offers a spectacle of water, lights and colour that bewitches you for a while. It is opposite the Palau de la Música in Valencia where various cultural activities related to music are held.
Take your time and enjoy every single corner, lattice, room. Feel the overwhelming power of the light play, the pleasant sound of the water. Delight in the marvellous reflections of the stagnant water because you are in front of the only complete medieval Arab Palatino (Royal residence) building still perfectly preserved today.
Declared UNESCO World Heritage with the rest of the Alhambra, the Nasrid Palaces are the start of the visit. Be careful! I highly recommend scheduling a time and buying tickets online if you do not want to have the unpleasant surprise of endless lines or signs saying there are no tickets available!
I recommend getting up early, being the first ones to get in (I did at 8.30 am) as then you will be able to go at your own rhythm and be one step ahead of the enormous crowd of people, despite there being "limited" access. Come with comfortable shoes, water and something to eat because time goes by without you even noticing and once you are done visiting you will need to charge the batteries!
The Palatino buildings consist of the Mexuar, where the public administration and state offices used to be; the Palacio de Comares, official residence and the Palacio de los Leones, private area where you find the harem.
We are faced with an excellent plan of spaces and uses, as well as one of the best evolutions of tastes and architectural eras of Arab art.
Did you know for example that the Palacio de los Leones (Lions' Palace), one of the most admired, was due to the interesting friendship between Mohamed V and the Castilian King Pedro I? Well, these types of surprises are around every corner.
Prepare your eyes, let yourself go and enjoy the beauty of these Palatino buildings. They say that when you go to Florence one suffers from Stendhal, I would not know what kind of illness this place causes, but it is definitely no syndrome, but more a glimpse of paradise ;-) I love this concept of paradise on earth!
Better than reading on, come here and feel for yourself the timeless beauty of these Palatino buildings, unique in the world. Advice: the best views, apart from the viewpoint of San Nicolás, are the one from the Patio de la Acequia in the Generalife.
This palace belonged to the House of Borgia, the Royal Dukes of Aragon. Afterwards, it was restored and made bigger for the family. The palace has been denominated as a artistic-historic monument. It features a grand central patio – the patio of arms --, which has a an adjacent stairway. The Hall of Crowns, the Gilded Gallery, the Eagle Hall, the 18th century Manises ceramics of the four elements, the Santa chapel, and other memories of the Duke's sporadic, long-term stays at the palace are displayed. In 1964, it was declared a historical national monument.