The Royal Palace of Madrid (Spanish: Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official residence of the King of Spain, located in Madrid. King Juan Carlos and the royal family do not reside in this palace, instead choosing the smaller Palacio de la Zarzuela, on the outskirts of Madrid. However, the Palacio Real de Madrid is still used for state occasions.
The palace is owned by the Spanish state and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional agency. The palace also has the distinction of being the largest royal palace in Western Europe in size, with over a combined area of over 135,000 m² and more than 2,800 rooms.
The palace is located on Bailén street, in the western part of downtown Madrid, east of the Manzanares River, and is accessible from the Ópera metro station. The palace is partially open to public, except when in official use.
The site of the palace dates from a 10th-century fortress, called mayrit, constructed as an outpost by Mohammed I, Emir of Córdoba and inherited after 1036 by the independent Moorish Kingdom of Toledo. After Madrid fell to Alfonso VI of Castile in 1085, the edifice was only rarely used by the kings of Castile. In 1329, King Alfonso XI of Castile convoked the cortes of Madrid for the first time. Philip II moved his court to Madrid in 1561.
The Antiguo Alcázar ("Old Castle") was built on the location in the 16th century. It burned on December 24, 1734; King Philip V ordered a new palace built on the same location. Construction spanned the years 1738 to 1755 and followed a Berniniesque design by Filippo Juvarra and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo in cooperation with Ventura Rodríguez, Francesco Sabatini, and Scirmento. The new palace, directly facing the cathedral across the Plaza de Armas, was occupied by Carlos III in 1764.
The interior that is open to visitors consists of:
* the main staircase
* Halberdiers Room
* Hall of Columns
* Throne Room
* Saleta and antechamber of Charles III
* Chamber and bedroom of Charles III
* Gala Dining Room
* Music Room
* China collection
* Royal Chapel