In Aranjuez there was a Prince, Palacio de Aranjuez!

Reading about palaces, another blogger mentioned liking Aranjuez. It gave me an inspiration to write something about the town which is the palace. I know about Aranjuez since a small enfant, my mother would sing sing to me the concerto of Aranjuez, that has been even turns into operas and zarzuelas in my beloved Spain. The best I heard was played by Paco de Lucia ,the great Flamenco guitarist. This concerto song was composed in Paris (always love) by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo in 1939 on his last year living there. He was inspired by the love to his wife Victoria. Many versions tells of a love between a Prince and a lady that was not possible to be, this one I like it better but both are not proving yet.

Aranjuez is about 44 km from Madrid on the left bank of the Tajo river. Here at the palace were signed many treaties over the years, my two favorite ones were the Treaty of Aranjuez of 1779 between France and Spain where Spain entered the War of Independance of the United States as an ally of France; and the Treaty of Aranjuez of 1793 , a protective defense between Spain and the United Kingdom in face of the defeat and execution of king Louis XVI during the French revolution.

The National Heritage sites of Spain has a bit on it in English : Patrimonio Nacional on Aranjuez

The tourist office of the Comunidad de Madrid, region of Madrid where Aranjuez is located. Turismo Madrid region on Aranjuez

On the city in general and a bit on the Palace I wrote before in my blog here: Aranjuez more than a concerto

Now, let me give you more on the palace. The place is big and right in city center, easy parking up the main street for free was easy to find along Calle de la Florida; we always walk all over town and into the garden and forest. We found the best places to eat away from the center around the palace, less authentic, lot of tourist influences, best to walk away  like by Calle Postas after the covered market, if you want the real taste of Aranjuez.

On my last trip here we just wandered about without going into the Palace. Well seen it before and so many of them; better be more nostalgic next time. However, for all visitors to Spain and especially from Madrid, it is a must to visit me think.  The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is one of the residences of the King of Spain located in the town of Aranjuez, part of the Comunidad de Madrid autonomous region.

Aranjuez

arriving under Arch Calle de la Florida NIV Aranjuez

A bit of history I like.

When Holy Roman Emperor Carlos V or King Carlos III became interested in developing Aranjuez as a Royal site for hunting came to used as in 1501 was already done by Felipe the Beautiful on the old masters palace of Santiago. It eventually was ordered built by king Felipe II to architect Juan Bautista de Toledo ,he died during the construction and it was finished by Juan de Herrera. During the 17C the work was completely stop until the times of king Fernando VI and enlarged during king Carlos III that ordered built the wings on back as you can see today.  a smaller Palace was done called Casa del Labrador or house of the labrador outside the limits of the castle and forming part of the Prince’s gardens or Jardin del Principe. The huge gardens were done to create bigness in the palace and were irrigated with the waters of the Tajo and Jarama rivers, been the most important gardens of the Habsburgs period.

In 1808, the ceremony held in the Royal Chapel of the Palace the Supreme central council and kingdom government was created; been part the deputies from the supremes council of the main capital cities of the old kingdoms. In 1971, the lower level of the palace was created the Historical Court Costume museum. In 1997 ,the museum reopened as the Palace lifestyle museum that included the uniform of the King Juan Carlos I from the date of his proclamation in 1975 as well as the dress of queen Sofia of the same day; you can see her dress as bride as well as those of queen Letizia, infanta Elena and Cristina. From 1977 to 1983 it served as residence of the foreign chief of States visiting Spain by 1983 this function was transfered to the Palacio Real de El Pardo.

The Palace of Aranjuez is exactly located between the avenida del Palacio, and the plaza de las Parejas on the south, garden or jardín del Parterre by the east, stream of water by the north and the plaza del Raso de la Estrella by the west.

Some of the best from inside are:

The dining room  (Comedor) is the center of the Palace and decorated as conversation piece since 1748 under king Fernando VI and later dining room per se under king Carlos IV. You will see lots of decorations here , meaning several dictums such as justice, prudence and charity, faith etc in rococco style, and the four corners of the world . You have several paintings here , as well as huge clocks from the times of Carlos IV, furniture, from Fernando VII and porcelains.

The Arab office or Gabinete Arabe; was inspired by the room of the two sisters in the Alhambra of Granada, and built between 1848 and 1850 by the same architect that restored the  Nazari palace in Granada, Rafael Contreras.  It is decorated in ceramic tiles walls and sculpture chalk polichrome with arabic symbols. The Andalucian decoration is completed by a transparency of the Lions patio of French making done with damascus of silk and candles in bronze and porcelain plaques painted in 1835 created at the manufacture of Sévres , France as a gift of king of the French Louis Philippe of Orléans to the regent queen Maria Cristina de Borbon Dos Sicilias of Spain.  There is a huge neo gothic lamp in golden bronze with 81 lights in two levels gift of infante Don Francisco de Paula to his consort king Francisco de Asis de Borbon.

The Porcelain office or Gabinete de Porcelana (my favorite);  was the first work of the Royal Factory of Porcelain in the Buen Retiro Palace finished in 1765 here. Later it was the inspiration for the homogenous stand on the  Royal Palace of Madrid on a style closer to the neo gothic.  You have around seven big mirrors and other portraits with a oriental figures, dragons, monkeys, fruits, and diverse objects . There is a porcelain lamp resembling a palm tree with open arms and a Chinese holding its edge with a monkey doing the same.  The work is with golden painting on the windows, glass enclosures and doors to match the decoration of the office. There are six chairs in ceramic lacquer on the English model of queen Anne. This office served as a room for the office of king Carlos III and later as a music hall for the queen Isabel II with a piano of Collard & Collard, now in the bedroom of the queen.

And the gardens are wonderful indeed. I think the best.

Next to the facade of the Royal Palace there is the lawn garden or Jardin del Parterre ordered built by king Felipe V to the French gardener Bouteloul in 1727 and done in 1746.  On the northern  part you will see the Tajo river and from the bridge or Puente Barcas you see the arches of the Royal Palace that are divided from view by  jars of  flowers , a well, created in 1762 by king Carlos III.

This garden has several fountains amongst them the Fountain of Hercules and Anteo and Ceres and Nereidas. The fountain of Hércules and Anteo, is the most espectacular ordered built by King Fernando VII in 1827.  On the extreme western of the garden you have a small square facing the Royal Palace and you have there the Statues garden or Jardín de las Estatuas, due to its fourteen busts in marble of roman emperors, kings of Spain, and personages from antiquity place in niches on the wall. It is also, known as Kings garden or Jardín del Rey as it was king Felipe II who ordered it built in the second half of the 16C , the garden is enclosed on the south side of the Royal Palace next to the Clock tower  on the renaissance style.  The garden of islands or jardin de las Islas was called as such for been surrounded on three sides by the Tajo river and on the south by an artificial stream, and it is on the north of the Royal Palace.  Its origins go back to the order of Santiago between 1387 and 1409 that was a masters palace build here before the Royal Palace.  When in 1487, king Fernando the Catholic became Master of the Order, the Queen Isabel the Catholic took it for her and became known as the queens garden or Jardín de la Reina. Later on, kings Carlos I and Felipe II decided to change the area into a natural priviledge forested area.

Aranjuez

Jardin de las Islas

You only need to enter the garden over the ramp bridge and you see the fountain of the pharmacist or Fuente de la Boticaria, a circular glass with children with shells and rocks figures . At the back there is the room of the Catholic Kings or Salon de los Reyes Catolicos, a promenade of 300 meters with plantains trees next to the levy of the Tajo river. The fountain or Fuente de Hercules e Hidra is the first to find here after crossing the stream by a small stairs on a pedestal you see the figure of Hercules killing the Hydra. The fountain was ordered built by king Felipe IV  to replace a former fountain dedicated to Diana in the times of king Felipe II. The sculptures on the pedestal around the fountain were purchase by king Felipe V and originally located in the gardens of La Granja (Segovia).  Later moved to the columns at the entrance to the Jardin del Principe by ordered of king Carlos IV and finally are now resting in the Prado museum of Madrid.

The fountain of Apollo or Fuente de Apolo  from the 16C is just next to that of Hercules on a marble pedestal on which center there is a cup with the figure of Apollo with the foot on a dragon; the small square was called previously Puerta del Sol de Aranjuez next to the street or Calle de la Galeria with water  pumps reaching hip high call the Burladero (sort of the barrier where the torero hides in the arena). This walk takes you to the Fuente del Réloj or Watch fountain also known as hours or rings that is in square flank by six benches in stone and the fountain in the middle. When is working the shadows of the water spouts marks the hours of the day! We moved on to the Spines Children fountain or Fuente del Nino de la Espina also known as the spines or witches ordered created by king Felipe III with a round stone and corinthian column in each corner ;in the center there is  there a personnage in stone trying to take a spine out from his left foot.  In each corner of the fountain there is a column on which top there is a figure of an witch throwing water to the center of the fountain of a witch.  The Fountain of Venus or Fuente de Venus is also known as the Fuente de Don Juan de Austria as it is believed the stone was taken from the battle of Lepanto.  It is located in the center of a square with a figure of Venus in bronce trying to dry its hair with the hands; it was sent to Spain from Florence in 1571.

Deeper into the garden you come to the Fuente de Baco, or Bacchus fountain; located in a hexagonal square with stone benches and at the center you see the god Baco, crown with grape branches sitting on a barrel with a wine cup in his right hand. The main body of this fountain was a gift of king Felipe III to the Duke of Florence and designed in marble by Giambologna. It was originally designed to house the Fountain or Fuente de Sanson el Filibustero giving by king Felipe IV to king Charles I of England in 1623 and today it is at the Victoria and Albert museum of London. Since 1656 it is crown by the figure of Baco done by Jacobo Jonglinck. Continue on the walk with the Fountain or Fuente de Neptuno located far from the entrance to the garden, representing god of Neptune done in a shell type thrown by the right hand on two marine horses, around it in four pedestals you have the goddess of Cibeles, and Ceres each with a crown in the form of a castle and carriages thrown by lions held by children. On the third pedestal you have god Jupiter on an eagle over a globe of the world held by titans with the legend written as ” The king his majesty Felipe II ordered made this fountain while governor Don Francisco Brizuela, year MDCXXI = 1621.”
 This jardin de Narciso garden is the most extensive on the Tajo river and Calle de la Reina, in Aranjuez. A perimeter of 7 km and over 150 hectares of which only about half are to be visited. Great varieties of trees, and a dam of stone call Malecon de Solera. It has a port or fortified embarcadero ordered done by king Carlos IV , and very much used during the kings visit to Aranjuez.  It shows a fountain or Fuente de Narciso next to his dog almost fallen off while holding on are four Hercules. It was damaged during the Spanish Civil War and rebuilt in 1827. Continue to the fountain of the swans or Fuente de los Cisnes inspired by the one at La Granja palace (Segovia). It has a stone with two children figures in marble holding a swan from which the peak water comes out. It was damaged in the War of independance (c 1808) partially destroyed but in 2009 there is a renovation done on the figures of the Children and swan. The Apolo fountain or Fuente de Apolo in carrara marble shows the god on the high of the pedestal, ordered by king Carlos IV was not finished until his son king Fernando VII reign. It has a semicircular shape with six columns crown with guardians ducks; on each side two square columns and the statue of Apollo purchased by king Felipe V and located at La Granja (Segovai), king Carlos IV ordered brought to Aranjuez. The current statue in the Jardin del Principe is a replica as the original was sent back to La Granja in 2000.
Aranjuez

jardin del Principe fuente de Apollo

Aranjuez

jardin del principe Fuente de Narciso

The lake or estanque de los Chinescos or shadow plays is an artificial lake with small fence around it on three isles on which there is a temple or kiosk of greek style, other shadow plays and an Egyptian mausoleum in granite. The Greek pavillion is the work of Juan de Villanueva (escorial) with eight columns of ionic order holding the ceiling crown with an pineapple in bronce painted like marble color.  The shadow plays temple was heavily damaged during the War of independance (C 1808) and rebuilt by king Fernando VII as a kiosk on the Turkish style with colorful greens, red, and golden colors. Nearby there is a rollercoaster or Montana Rusa even if the true name is Swiss mountain crowned by a temple in wood from where you have great views of the garden. Finally, on the extreme western part of the garden you have the Casa del Labrador ordered built by king Carlos IV and a great collection of statues and clocks. In this garden , you have pheasants and royal turkeys as well as squirrels and other animals.

The Isabel II garden or Jardin de Isabel II is the last garden to be built in Aranjuez from the 19C when queen Isabel II was still a girl. It is a square garden located next to the Plaza de San Antonio and the Paseo del Brillante,created in 1830, while four years later it was put in the middle on a marble pedestal a bronce statue of the girl queen; it has eight benches in stone and eight flower pots. It is very nice as a last stop before leaving the city.

Aranjuez

jardin Isabel II and statue

 

There you go a nice castle in a nice town of old Madrid, maybe not a love story for you or me but nevertheless its a very romantic place especially in the gardens. Enjoy the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. Happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!!

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