(Departure )

Madrid of the Bourbons

To the east of Madrid of the Austrians there was an area of orchards, hence the name, El Prado (the meadow). The Count of Olivares took it upon himself to build a palace for Felipe IV of which all that remains are some buildings and its gardens which are now the Retiro park.

In the 18th century, Carlos III extended the city into this area, a gate was erected and shape was given to the foundations of what would later become the Prado Museum.

Reina Sofía Centre of Art

  • Formerly the hospital of San Carlos, contracted at the end of the 18th century. Today it is a museum and houses a vast collection of art dedicated mainly to the 20th century.

Prado Museum

  • It preserves an extraordinary Spanish pictorial collection from the 17th to 19th centuries. It is situated in a neo-classical building which was commissioned by Carlos III in 1785 as the office of Natural Sciences. Major attractions are works by Velázquez and Goya.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

  • In 1992 this museum was installed in the palace of Villahermosa. The following year it was donated to Spain. It houses works of art collected by Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and his son Hans Heinrich.

Iglesia de San Jerónimo el Real (church)

  • In Gothic style, but heavily restored in the 19th century, this was the venue for the royal wedding of Alfonso XIII to Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg in 1906 and, in 1975, the coronation of King Juan Carlos I took place here.

Puerta de Alcalá (monument)

  • This is the most representative monument of the reign of Carlos III. It replaced the old Baroque gate which was ordered to be built by Felipe III to receive his wife Margarita of Austria. Building began in 1769 and took 9 years.

Retiro Park

  • It takes its name from the old palace which it used to be part of, all that remains of which is the Casón del Buen Retiro and the Salón de Reinas buildings. Until the 18th century it was exclusively for royal use. Here bull runs and even naval battles were organised. There are two palaces by Ricardo Velázquez; one, the Palacio de Cristal (glass palace) and the other, the Palacio de Velázquez.