Aranjuez – The Royal Palace Gardens

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The Royal Palace of Aranjuez or Palacio Real de Aranjuez was first constructed in a small scale during the time of Felipe II and is a residence of the King of Spain. He (Felipe II) would spend the spring in this little town because the temperature was very mild and it was a beautiful place. During the reign of Felipe V, the present palace was finished. The palace started with the Renaissance style, but many transformations during the years now give it a neoclassic look. The palace is enormous, with various wings and huge plazas within; it is easy to get lost here.

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The palace is located in the town of Aranjuez, Madrid and is beside the Tajo River and is open to the public as one of the Spanish royal sites. The river has been used to supply the many beautiful fountains in the marvellous gardens surrounding the palace. The formal gardens are very extensive and it is a pleasure to promenade in these gardens. There are many fountains with beautiful marble statues. You can see the river running along the edges of the gardens, giving a very soothing sound. There is a parterre garden with a fountain of Hercules that was designed at the beginning of the 19th century. The Garden of the Island has a large garden is the oldest garden and was remodelled by Juan Bautista de Toledo (the architect of Felipe II) in the 16th century. The Garden of the Prince is the most modern and was constructed in the second half of the 18th century.

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Continuing on, the palace was commissioned by Philip II and designed by Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera, who also designed El Escorial. It was completed during the reign of Ferdinand VI by the mid-18th century; Charles III had two wings added to it.

The huge gardens, were built to relieve its royal residents from the dust and drought of the Spanish meseta using the waters of the adjacent Tagus and Jarama rivers; they are Spain’s most important of the Habsburg period. The Jardín de la Isla is on a man-made island bounded by the River Tagus and the Ría Canal. The Jardín del Príncipe contains a miniature palace (the Casa del Labrador, built for Charles IV) and the Museo de las Falúas Reales, housing the most important extant collection of Spain’s royal pleasure barges.

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The palace’s important art and historical collections include the Museo de la Vida en Palacio, describing the daily lives of Spain’s monarchs.

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*Basic information taken from Wikipedia for background*

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