Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Royal Palace Changing of the Guard & Kitchen Tour

Home to the Kings of Spain from Charles III to Alfonso XIII, Madrid's Royal Palace takes us on a journey through the history of Spain. Though it is no longer the royal family's home, it continues to be their official residence. Known in Spanish as the Palacio Real, the Royal Palace was built during the 18th and 19th centuries, to replace the former medieval Alcázar, which was burnt to the ground in 1794. The present day Royal Palace of Madrid was decorated to the tastes of Charles III, and is lavish inside and out. One of the largest and one of the most beautifully decorated palaces in Europe, the palace stands as a jewel in the city’s shiny royal crown. Surrounded by Plaza de la Armeria, the charming park of Campo del Moro, the Sabatini Gardens, Plaza de Armas, and the magnificent Plaza de Oriente, with its stunning collection of Spanish Kings statues, the Royal Palace of Madrid is as beautiful and impressive outside as it is inside. The remarkable interior is lavishly decorated with the finest materials and hand-picked works of art. Visitors can observe paintings by illustrious artists like Caravaggio, Velazquez, and Goya, as well as frescoes by Corrado Giaquinto, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and Anton Raphael Mengs.The decor is complemented by beautiful collections of porcelain, watches, regal armory, silverware, and opulent furniture. Arriving for the Solemn Changing of the Guards, which takes place once a month in Plaza de la Armería in front of Almudena Cathedral, it is a wonderful spectacle. Flowing which, we continued with a guided tour of the Palacio Real and special tour of the Royal Kitchen which is restricted to just a few guests a day.

The Solemn Changing of the Guard takes place at the Palace the first Wednesday of each month

Horse guards pulling the wagon with a chest of ammunitions

The Royal Palace Marching Band

Each musician of the Military Marching Band has the selected music attached to their instruments

Smartly dressed in official Royal Military uniform

The final Changing of the Guard takes place in the interior courtyard of the Royal Palace

The grand Neo-Gothic Catedral de la Almudena stands opposite the Royal Palace 

Construction began in 1879, ceased during the Spanish Civil War, and was only completed in 1993

Surrounding the sanctuary are icons painted by Kiko Arguello

Alter of Santa Maria Real de la Almudena, the patroness of the cathedral and of Madrid

Entrance to the Royal Kitchens are entered through the interior courtyard 

The Royal Kitchens originally came under the ‘oficios de boca’ and included a bakehouse, cellar, fruitery, confectionery, pastry, saucery, potagerie for vegetables and guardamangier

Stacks and stacks of shiny copper bowls, jugs and warming trays

Copper mould for jellies and charlottes

The large cooking room where large roasts and game were prepared for the Royal Family

The grand rotisserie for roasting large legs of lamb and classic English roast beef, 
the king's favourite

Coal was used to fire the coal-fired stoves

Enormous wooden ‘frescaria’ or ice boxes, would have been used partly to hold 
iced creams and cold desserts 

The Royal hot-line to the kitchen

Vintage bottles of Rioja in the Royal Wine Cellar

The ornate main staircase entry to The Royal Palace

Halfway up the staircase with fabulous view of the interior details

Regal marble lions stand guard as dignitaries and the Royal Family would pass 
on their way to grand receptions

Ceiling over the main staircase of the Royal Palace

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