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Patrimonio Nacional (National Heritage) administers and manages the assets ceded to the State by the Crown, which has preserved the rights to their use, and has, among others, a threefold objective: make available to all citizens one of Europe's most important cultural ensembles; preserve and restore its movable and immovable assets; and conserve and respect the environment, flora and fauna of the forests and gardens it administers

Patrimonio Nacional is governed by Act 23/1982, of 16 June, which regulates its twofold goal: on the one hand, said assets are intended for the use and service of His Majesty The King and of the members of the Royal Family for the high representation with which the Constitution and the Laws have entrusted them; on the other, Patrimonio Nacional must fulfil the cultural functions determined by the nature and historic importance of said system of assets—most of which have been declared of historical-artistic interest—and this requires actions involving maintenance, restoration, research, conservation, exhibition, teaching and cultural dissemination.

Patrimonio Nacional manages eight Royal Palaces, five Royal Country Residences, and ten Monasteries and Convents founded by the Crown, in addition to 20,500 hectares of forest and 589 hectares of historical gardens, 154 of which have been classified as World Heritage Cultural Landscapes. Moreover, it administers the movable assets and Art Collections held in those sites, as well as the assets dedicated to the use and service of the Crown, and donations made to the State by His Majesty The King.

The Royal Sites are used for the Kingdom of Spain's most important State ceremonies and official events, the most outstanding of which are those held at the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Patrimonio Nacional's Museums at the Royal Sites are open to the public. They are visited by more than three million people every year, which makes this institution one of Spain's principal Cultural Organizations.

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The current Palace was built on the ruins of the former Alcázar (Fortress-Palace), which was destroyed by a fire in 1734. King Felipe V ordered the construction of the new Palace. The Palace was built in Baroque style and with a vaulted structure. It would be the seat of the Spanish Court, one of the most important Courts in Europe.

The Royal Palace of Madrid has a square floor plan with a main courtyard in the centre, the Patio del Príncipe (Prince's Courtyard). Its main façade looks onto the south over the Plaza de Armas (Arms Square) and onto the west through the Palace General Archive and the Royal Armoury. Noteworthy among its rooms are the artistic ensemble of the Throne Room, the Gasparini Room, the Chapel, and the Gala Dining Room. To the west, the Palace Gardens, known as Campo del Moro, stretch down towards the river.

Madrid Royal Palace is currently the official seat of His Majesty The King for the exercise of the functions of high representation with which the Constitution has entrusted him.

It is open for public visits and for research in the Royal Library and the Palace General Archive. It holds a great many works of art from the Royal collections, restoration workshops, and storage facilities for tapestries.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (2)This colossal building, classified as World Heritage, was founded by King Philip II, who, in 1562, commissioned Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera with the project. The Monastery is the monument that best represents the ideological and cultural aspirations of Spain's Golden Age, and is based on an original synthesis of Italian and Flemish art forms. The site of the Monastery includes a Palace, Convent, College, Library, Basilica, Royal Pantheon, and the Gardens of the King, of the Queen and of the Friars.

The frescoes on the vaults of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial were painted by the Italian artists Zuccaro, Tibaldi and Cambiasso. These magnificent paintings are part of the decoration of the Library, Sacristy, Chapter Rooms, Lower Cloister, Main Staircase and the Gallery of Battles. The artistic ensemble is completed with sculptures by Monegro, paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, Navarrete and El Greco, and tapestries from the "Gold Fabrics" series of Queen Isabella the Catholic. Especially noteworthy are the Evangelists' Courtyard, the Museum of Paintings, and the Palaces of the Habsburgs and of the Bourbons.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (3)The El Pardo Mountain, stretching out to the north of Madrid, with nearly 16,000 hectares of forest, is an ecological reserve which attracted the interest of Castilian Monarchs since the Middle Ages. The building of a hunting pavilion laid the foundations for the subsequent palace-related construction, noteworthy among which is El Pardo Royal Palace. King Henry IV ordered it to be built, but it would be refurbished in times of Emperor Charles V, and extended under King Charles III. The tapestries by Goya and Bayeu, and the frescoes by Gaspar Becerra, are outstanding in the Palace.

The Royal Site of El Pardo also includes the Casita del Príncipe (Prince's Little House), built for King Charles IV by architect Juan de Villanueva in the 18th century, and the Quinta del Duque de Arco (Duke of Arco's House). Nowadays, the El Pardo Mountain is also home to Their Majesties The King and Queen of Spain, who reside in La Zarzuela Palace, and to Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Asturias, who reside in their own Pavilion.

HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (4)The same architects of El Escorial—Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera—would be entrusted with the building of this Palace, by order of King Philip II. Located between the rivers Tajo and Jarama, it would finally be concluded under King Fernando VI, and two wings would be added in times of King Charles III. The Palace decoration consists of mostly 18th century productions, noteworthy among which are the Porcelain Cabinet and the Hall of Mirrors, as well as a large number of paintings, tapestries, furniture items and lamps.

During the 18th century, the Royal Site of Aranjuez was enlarged; more specifically, the magnificent Gardens of the Prince: the Casa del Labrador (Peasant's House), which is a museum of decorative and sumptuary arts, and the Museum of Falúas Reales (Royal Riverboats), holding one of the most spectacular collections of the Monarchs' recreational boats.

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The Royal Convent of San Pascual, in Aranjuez, was built by architect Sabatini between 1765 and 1770, by order of King Charles III, who turned it into a Franciscan convent. During the reign of Queen Isabella II, it became a convent for Conceptionist nuns, a circ*mstance which is maintained to date, as is the case with other Royal Patronages.

The Roman architect Fonton is responsible for the convent and for the church, which is open to the public; noteworthy among the artworks is the painting on the high altar, by Anton Raphael Mengs.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (5)Located in the Guadarrama Mountains, La Granja (The Farm) is named after an ancient farm owned by the Hieronymite monks of El Parral in Segovia. King Philip V retired to this location in 1724 and enlarged the gardens and the palace, which was used as a summer residence by all his successors until King Alfonso XIII.

Noteworthy inside the palace are the paintings by Lucas Jordan, Bassano and Teniers, and the Carrara marble sculptures. Also of great interest are the frescoed vaults, the paintings and the furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Outside, the magnificent gardens designed by Boutelou constitute one of the best examples of 18th century landscaping that still exist. However, its fountains are what take pride of place at La Granja. Decorated with splendid lead sculptures, the most outstanding are the groups of sculptures of Neptune, Apollo and Andromeda, in the broad perspective of the Carrera de Caballos (Horse Race); other monumental fountains are the Cascada Nueva (New Cascade), Ocho Calles (Eight Lanes), El Canastillo (Little Basket), Las Ranas (The Frogs), Los Baños de Diana (Diana's Bath), and La Fama (Fame).

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (6)Following the death of King Philip V, Queen Isabella Farnese resided at La Granja during the reign of King Ferdinand VI (1746-1759). During those years, she purchased what was known as the Riofrío Preserve and started the construction of a new Royal Site.

The 18th century Palace, with a square floor plan and following the Italian style, was built by architect Santiago Bonavía in the midst of a beautiful 625-hectare forest, full of deer, and which constitutes an area of remarkable natural beauty. The building's four façades, practically identical and painted pink, enclose a majestic central courtyard and a monumental double staircase, leading to the main rooms in the Palace.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (7)The name of La Almudaina—which in Arabic means citadel or walled compound—summarizes in its walls the history of the Balearic Islands, because all the civilizations that have been there have left their imprint. Founded over an ancient Roman stronghold, during Muslim domination it became the residence of the Island's governors. However, in the 13th century, under Christian domination, La Almudaina became the seat of the Crown, and acquired its current appearance, while preserving the fundamental structures of the Arab fortress and its Arab baths.

Its most outstanding features are the Chapel of the King or Chapel of St Anne, the Chapel of St James, and the magnificent Gothic Hall. The Palace is decorated with 16th and 17th century Flemish—and 18th century Spanish—furniture and tapestries. Nowadays it is the official residence of Their Majesties The King and Queen when they are in the Balearic Islands.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (8)Classified as World Heritage since 1988, the Alcázar (Fortress) of Seville is the most unique of all Royal residences, because it combines architectural ensembles and gardens from different artistic periods. Throughout its history, the original ensemble has been expanded and refurbished. These changes bear witness to the reigns of the Catholic Monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, King Charles V, King Philip II and Queen Isabella II.

Some of the most outstanding features of the Reales Alcázares are King Pedro's Mudejar Palace, the Gothic Halls of King Alfonso X, the rooms of the Catholic Monarchs, and the Renaissance decorations of the times of King Charles V.

The High Rooms are the official residence of Their Majesties The King and Queen when they are in Seville.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (9)The Monastery of the Descalzas Reales (Royal Discalced Nuns) in Madrid was formerly the Palace of the Royal Accountant of King Charles V. His daughter Juana created the Royal Patronage in 1557 with the order of Discalced Franciscan nuns, who came from Gandía (Valencia).

The inside has preserved the same structure and many of the decorative elements of the former 16th century Palace, in addition to extraordinary tapestries woven in Brussels based on cartoons by Rubens. In 1987, the Monastery received the Council of Europe's European Museum of the Year Award, for its artistic value and for being a non-conventional museum, as it is a Cloistered Monastery of Discalced Franciscan nuns which opens its doors to the public for guided tours.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (10)The Monastery was founded in 1611 by Margaret of Austria, the wife of Philip III. She entrusted its care to the religious order of Augustinian Recollect nuns. The building is the work of architects Juan Gómez de Mora and Fray Alberto de la Madre de Dios, although it was practically rebuilt by Ventura Rodríguez in 1767.

Its Church is considered one of the most beautiful in Spain's capital city, and the Convent holds important 17th and 18th century paintings and sculptures, with works by Lucas Jordan, Juan Van der Hamen, and Pedro de Mena. Most outstanding is the reliquary inlaid with 700 pieces of bronze, coral, ivory and precious woods.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (11)Built over a former Mudejar Palace in Valladolid, the Infanta Beatriz founded the Monastery in 1363; it became a Convent of nuns of the Order of St Clare, and in the 15th and 16th century a gothic-style church was added to it. Significant elements of the former Mudejar Palace have been preserved, such as the Palace façade, the High Chapel—with an octagonal ceiling which is a masterpiece of Mudejar artists from Toledo and Andalusia—and the entrance courtyard or Compás.

The Monastery holds Castilian paintings by the Berruguete School, and frescoes from different periods, in addition to polychrome pieces. The Arab Baths of the Royal Monastery of St Claire in Tordesillas are considered unique in Europe.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (12)The Royal Monastery of Huelgas, in Burgos, of the Order of Cistercian nuns, was founded in 1187 by King Alfonso VIII and his wife Queen Leonor, whose remains are buried in the central nave of the temple. Outstanding from this period are the Romanesque Cloister and the Chapel of the Assumption, a fine example of Almohad art. The major building of the present-day temple dates back to the second half of the 13th century; outstanding here are the Chapter Room and the Refectory. The magnificent cloisters of St Ferdinand and Las Claustrillas (Small Cloister) can be admired from all angles.

The Monastery is home to the Museum of Medieval Fabrics, inaugurated by Their Majesties The King and Queen in 1987 and enlarged in 2009, which holds complete medieval outfits, unique in the world.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (13)Located in the La Vera (Cáceres) natural area, the current building was reconstructed in the 20th century over the ruins of an ancient monastery which was the residence of King Charles V in the last months of his life (1556-1558). Throughout the 15th and 16th century, the monastic building was enlarged and reached the size it has today. The church and the two cloisters—one Gothic, the other from the Renaissance—are from that period. The Monastery is an important reference point for its historical significance, in addition to the natural beauty of its setting.

The Monastery of Yuste has been awarded the European Heritage Label, for the historical values it embodies, having been the last dwelling place of Emperor Charles V.

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HomeLa Monarquía en la Historia (14)The Pantheon of Illustrious Men, next to the Basilica of Atocha, was built in the late 19th century, based on a project by Fernando Arbós. Nearly the entire building is a wall with no openings, with horizontal white and grey limestone stripes. Inside, there are six individual mausoleums, housing the tombs of José Canalejas; General Manuel Gutiérrez de la Concha; Práxedes Mateo Sagasta, Eduardo Dato, Antonio Ríos Rosas, and Antonio Cánovas del Castillo. Artists Manuel Benlliure and Agustín Querol are the authors of two impressive examples of funerary sculpture. In a small cloister there is a collective mausoleum, financed by public donations and created by Federico Aparici.

Building this Pantheon materialized, in part, successive projects to provide for a place to house the mortal remains of the most illustrious Spaniards.

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In the mid-12th century, Atocha was a small chapel where the Romanesque image of Our Lady of Atocha was worshipped. This sacred image, venerated by the citizens of Madrid and by the Kings and Queens, became "Patroness of the Court", while Our Lady of La Almudena became "Patroness of the Town", in order to prevent competition between the two advocations. The current building was constructed in the 20th century.

The sanctuary of Atocha, which was placed under Royal Patronage in 1602, has been most beloved by the Spanish Monarchs, and presenting newborn Royal Infants to Our Lady of Atocha is a tradition.

The Royal Monastery of Santa Isabel is comprised of two foundations: a school for girls founded by King Philip II, and a cloistered convent of Augustinian Recollect nuns founded by the wife of King Philip III, Margaret of Austria.

The Church has a Latin cross floor plan and a dome, together with a Baroque front, and was designed by Juan Gómez de Mora in 1640. The cloistered area holds many 17th and 18th century paintings.

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The School for Noble Maidens, in Toledo, was founded in 1551 by Cardinal Juan Martínez Siliceo, Archbishop of Toledo in the late 16th century. Since then, it has been under the patronage of His Majesty The King of Spain and the Archbishop of Toledo.

Its current architecture dates back to the 18th century; it has a beautiful cloister and a gallery looking onto the garden, designed by Ventura Rodríguez. The church and the tower are the Baroque work of the master of the Cathedral of Toledo, Sierra. The church front includes a beautiful 16th century bas-relief by Vázquez the Elder.

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