This 3rd post, is a continuation of the trip which started on April 21st (here)(here)
After 3 full exploration days of Toledo's old town, the fantastic sunny warmer weather begged a venturing-out to the wooded and greener county-side of the quint
Arnjuez Royal town.
On the way to the country side
The Town of Aranjez -World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2001
This quint small town, I have not visited ever before, was a splendid surprise.
Historic-Artistic Sites, Royal Palaces, and spectacular French landscaped gardens, are the cultural magnificent heritage of this Spanish town which gives it a special splendor, of an era long gone.
The Royal Palace -Front
A former Spanish royal residence.
Situated in the vicinity of Madrid, and about 40 minutes drive from Toledo, on the left bank of Tagus river (the one which also runs in Toledo) the small town of only about
60,K inhabitants, became one of the Royal Estates of the Crown of Spain , during the reign of Philip II.
Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week )after Philip II of Spain moved the capital from
Toledo to Madrid.
The link between Aranjuez and the Crown dates from 1493, when the Catholic Monarchs became administrators of the military orders. The Order of Santiago had a present there since 1272. The dehesa of Aranjuez subsequently became a Crown property.
Philip II declared the place a Royal Site in 1560. and In the second half of the 16th century, the royal palace was constructed,
The Royal Palace - from the Back where the museum entrance is
The red brick with white limestone palace is the centerpiece set of a Royal Estate.
It consists of two floors. The ground level is lit by windows crowned by semicircular arches, while the upper floor opens onto balconies with iron railings
The area around Aranjuez enjoys a mild climate, a verdant and varied landscape with excellent game hunting. The king's love for riding horses all year around, which could be done at this country-side, made the king spend longer periods of time, away from Madrid , at this new palace built.
The weir in the Tagus River which is alongside the Royal Palace of Aranjuez was constructed in 1753 to power a water wheel for milling wheat flour.
Since the mill was visible from the palace, it was architecturally designed attractively and sometimes used as the residence of the town governor.
The immense gardens, designed to honor the royal residence on the arid and dry plateau in the center of the Iberian Peninsula, and are irrigated with the waters of the Tagus and Jarama rivers, are the most important of the Habsburg period .
They achieved singular renown thanks to the Concierto de Aranjuez , by Joaquín Rodrigo , considered the most listened to Spanish musical composition in the world. .
Until 1752, only the royalty and nobility of the royal court and palace servants were allowed to dwell in the town.
By the Tagus River at the Palace's grounds.
The Royal palace and the many fabulous French landscaped gardens, are open to the public so our visit and walking through, were the highlight of the day. ( more)
The splendid stairway entary
The Queen's bedroom
The king's Arabian style decorated Smoking Room and the queen's Porcelain room are artistically gorgeous, as do stand-out the Chinese Room, and the Hall of Mirrors
but photographing these and other rooms, is not permitted (for more)
Near by the Royal Palace and in a walking distance the large square can not be missed
Plaza San Antonio
A large public space also known as "Plazuela de la Mariblanca" due to the 1762
white marble sculpture -the Mariblanca fountain (whose real name is the Venus fountain) the work of Juan Reyna, is now decorates the north end of the square.
Around 1752, the square had another fountain called the King's fountain, the work of Juan Domingo Olivieri , with an image of King Ferdinand VI looking at the bridge, but in 1760 King Carlos III ordered the statue to be removed, and two years later it was placed by the current fountain of Venus,
"cancellation" culture, practiced by the kings, has always been in the working from time immemorial..
The square overlooks the House of Knights and Trades , the church of San Antonio , the House of Infantes and the garden of Isabel II .
Venus fountain -the de la Mariblanca
The royal Church of San Antonio - on the Square
At the southern corner of the large Plaza San Antonio, the beautiful 1752 small Baroque church dedicated to San Antonio de Padua ,which was built by Philip IV for both public and ceremonial royal use, stands majestically, It replaced the Oratory of the time
Carlos III ordered the chapel to be enlarged, incorporating a large square piece with a gabled roof.
The arched galleries connect this chapel with the Casa de Infantes on one side and the Casa de Caballeros y Oficios on the other ,
The House of Knights and Trades
A complex of structures which its construction started in the 16 c and which was completed around 1767, under the reign of Carlos III forming the Casa de Oficios and the Cuarto de Caballeros, near by the Royal Palace
The buildings housed the entourage of the Royal court and its ministries and it is linked to the Royal Palace by means of an arcades arm. Of the two patios that structure the building, the smaller one is the Offices, located to the north of the complex.
A stone and brick neoclassical-style civil building from 1771, commissioned by Carlos III to house the infants Gabriel and Antonio . de Borbon (children of the king) on the square which is linked by a porticoed corridor with the church of San Antonio It has three floors and a patio with arcaded galleries with two fountains.
During the French occupation of 1808 it was the headquarters of the Napoleonic troops
In 1834 it was kidnapped by the governor queen to house the school for orphans of the Union until in 1859 it was returned to the heirs of the infants.
An historic garden from 1830 next to Plaza , previously used for resting stables, was the first landscaped space for public use in the city and possibly one of the first of its kind in Spain.
A great lunch at this charming restaurant by the river
El Rana Verde Restaurant
C. de la Reina, 1, Aranjuez
Great place for Tapas or full meal.
We had great lunch in the out-doors
On the way back to Toledo
To be continued... in London (here)