Palaces & Mansions in Madrid, Spain
The word "Palacio" in Spanish is used not only for the main
Royal Palace, formal home of the Spanish Royal Family, but also for the large mansions and
palatial homes the nobility,
and minor royalty had built in past centuries.
There are many of these noble mansions dotted around the capital and
many are definitely
worth a visit. We list below the most notable of Madrid's palaces.
El Palacio Real
Madrid's Royal Palace (pictured above) is located next to
Cathedral, and is Madrid's largest building, and in fact the largest
Royal Palace in Western Europe. It is the official residence of Juan
Carlos I, the King of Spain, although not the habitual one of the royal
family, since they prefer
instead to live at the Palacio de la Zarzuela in El Pardo, just outside
Madrid. The Royal Palace is located on Bailen and accessible from the
Opera Metro station.
Casa de las Siete Chimeneas
This old palace was built in the 1570's. It was once occupied by Leopoldo de Gregorio, Marquis of Esquilache and has been nominated "Bien de interés cultural", a term which denotes maximum
status in the list of sites of historic and culture heritage, managed by Spain's Ministry of Culture which coincidentally is housed in this very building.
Casa de Cisneros
This Plateresque palace was built in 1537 by the nephew of Cardinal Cisneros (Archbishop of Toledo, and most powerful man in Spain at the time after the crown),
hence the name.
Casa de los Lujanes
Alvaro de Luján ordered this Mudéjar style mansion built in 1494 and the
noble family of the Lujans (los Lujanes in Spanish) lived here until the 18th Century. It is said that King Francis I of France
resided (or was imprisoned) here for a short time after his capture in 1520.
Casa de la Villa
This building was originally the home of Juan de Acuña, the Marquis del Valle, and also where the Duke of Osuna held his residence.
However, the present day construction was built later, towards the end
of the 17th Century.
Palacio de Abrantes
Originally built in the 1650's, this mansion was owned by several
families of local nobility until finally bought by the Duke of Abrantes
in the 19th Centurty.
Palacio de Santa Cruz
Phillip IV ordered this building constructed in 1629, and it currently serves as the headquarters for Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Palacio de Uceda
Also known as the Palacio de Consejos, this barroque mansion was built by the first Duke of Uceda, a favourite of King Phillipe III.
Mariana of Austria lived here until her death and today the palace is headquarters for the Spanish State Council.
Palacio de Buenavista
Built in 1777 and extended in 1780, this mansion is formed by two galleries around a central patio.
Palacio de la Comunidad de Madrid
Also known as the "Casa de Correos", the original headquarters of the Post Office, it was built between 1766 and 1768. Now the headquarters of the Community of Madrid's Autonomous Government,
outside of which is a stone slab on the pavement marking Kilometre Zero - the official starting point for Spain's 6 National Roads.
Palacio de Cristal
Palace in name only, this imposing glass building was based on London's Crystal Palace.
It is a large structure of glass and steel and is located in
Madrid's Retiro Park and
is used today for exhibitions such as the contemporary art exhibitions organised by the
Reina Sofia Museum.
Palacio de las Cortes de España
Also known as the Palacio del Congreso de los Diputados, basically this neo-classic building is the Spanish Houses of Parliament
(or at least the Lower House),
was built in the style of a renaissance palace, and was inaugurated on the 31st October 1850 by Queen Isabel II.
Palacio del Senado
This is the headquarters of the Senate, the Upper House of Spain's Parliament. It is a renaissance style building, constructed in 1835.
Palacio de Linares
José de Murga y Reolid, the first Marquis of Linares, bought this building in 1872 and moved here with his family in 1884, It is now owned by the
Casa de América organisation, dependent on the Foreign Ministry
and which promotes political, economical and cultural ties with Latin America.
Palacio de Velázquez
Another construction that is a palace in name only, this building is located within the Parque Retiro and was built between 1881 and 1883
for a national exhibition held here. The architect, Ricardo Velázquez Bosco, gave it its name.
Palacio de Villahermosa
This building is well known today due to the fact that it houses the
important Thyssen-Bornemisza art collection. It was designed towards the end of the 18th Century by the architect Antonio López de Aguado, student of the more famous Juan de Villanueva.
was ordered built by María Pignatelli y Gonzaga, wife of the Eleventh Duke of Villahermosa.