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The Royal Palace of El Pardo

madrid-el-pardo
Introduction
A hunting lodge

The Royal Palace of El Pardo is one of the residences of the Spanish royal family. It is located 15 km north of the center and can be easily reached by public bus. Its history dates to the 15th century, although during the time of Henry III of Castile (the grandfather of Isabella I of Castile), it was merely a primitive castle. The monarch stayed there when he went on hunting trips. In the 16th century, King Charles I (the grandson of Isabella I of Castile) undertook the construction of the palace, transforming it into a grand residence according to the design by Luis de Vega. The work was continued by Philip II, who adorned it in the late Renaissance style. Unfortunately, many of the decorations and artworks within the palace were destroyed in a fire in 1604. Although the building’s structure remained intact, numerous paintings in the so-called “Portrait Salon” were lost. However, the most valuable work, Tiziano’s “Venus del Pardo”, was saved. Today it is housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The monarch promptly ordered the palace’s reconstruction, which was continued by Philip III. During the Habsburg era, the palace functioned as a hunting lodge, as the entire Monte de Pardo region was one of the key hunting areas near Madrid.

A winter residence

El-Pardo-palace-front-garden

With the advent of the Bourbons, EL Pardo changed. Philip V, the Versailles-born grandson of the French sun king, Louis XIV, ascended to the throne.  When he saw the palace for the first time, he described it as old-fashioned and inhospitable. The king decided to radically change the décor. Flemish landscape paintings, portraits of the Habsburgs, and several copies of Titian’s works were sent to other royal estates. The palace walls were adorned with tapestries from the newly established royal factory, La Real Fábrica de Tapices de Santa Bárbara. El Pardo began to serve as a winter residence, and the king spent more and more time there. To accommodate the entire royal family, the architect François Carlier, transformed the palace in the first half of the 18th century.

During the Franco dictatorship, El Pardo served as the official residence of General Francisco Franco. El Caudillo and his family resided in the old quarters of the Prince of Asturias (Charles IV) around the Patio de los Borbones.  In 1931 and 1934, both the palace and its small garden were declared cultural assets. Since 1983, it has been the official residence of foreign heads of state. In 1950, the village of El Pardo ceased to be a separate village and was transformed into a district of Madrid.

Visit

EL Pardo is visited as part of a group guided tour with a Spanish or English-speaking guide, respectively. The walk follows the layout of rooms established during the reign of Charles III. El-Pardo-Palace-Patio-InsideThe palace is divided into two courtyards: the Central and the Bourbon, as well as the Patio de los Austrias. The tour route covers approximately the southern half of the main floor, courtyards, and a cinema. Since its opening in 1975, the route has been modified, excluding, for example, the private areas occupied by the Franco family. What impresses in El Pardo from the very beginning are the tapestries. Nearly every room is adorned with tapestries covering all the walls and floors, not only serving as decoration but also helping to warm the palace during winter. The décor is complemented by furniture, porcelain, chandeliers, and paintings. Including the most precious one the portrait of “Isabella the Catholic” by Juan de Flandes.

Planner

Transport: 601 green bus from Moncloa (bus platform available at level -1), you can pay for a ride with the same 10-journey metro card you use for metro

Tickets: at the ticket office or 🌐 on-line, free entry for kids upto 5, Large Family Card (EU)

El Pardo Royal Palace
C. Manuel Alonso, s/n, El Pardo,
28048 Madrid, Spain
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🌍 40.5211244, -3.7749121
Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
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The Royal Palace of El Pardo

The Courses

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