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Monday, October 01, 2012 (read 456 times)

Madrid: Aranjuez

by Seun

Since 1560 and thanks to the great artisan in King Felipe II, Aranjuez has enjoyed fame due to its status as one of the Reales Sitios of the Spanish crown.The city is the southernmost in the Comunidad de Madrid and finds itself situated on the river of Tagus and close to the River Jarama which flows into the Tagus from northwest of the city. Owed to its Real Sitio (Royal Site) status, Aranjuez benefits from the man’s fervent blessing of a royal palace and accompanying gardens which together have brought the city worldwide recognition with UNESCO World Heritage Site status at the palace and its surrounding greenery awarded in 2001.

Before its 16th century beautification, the region around modern day Aranjuez, for its useful position, had been occupied by various civilisations. First to land were the Romans for whom Aranjuez was a strategic stronghold to the administration of Roman mandate over Hispania. We also know that the city was occupied both under Gothic and Moorish rule, but as to how exactly the site there was used, we remain uninformed. What we do know is that by the very beginning of the 16th century, Aranjuez was already well recognised by the Hapsburg royals who, seeking diversion, used the wooded countryside at Aranjuez as a hunting retreat.

A key date in the discourse of Spanish history is the year 1561 which saw the royal court move from Toledo to Madrid at the hands of the newly crowned Felipe II. It was in this year that the monastery at El Escorial was founded, and also the year that this king and the same architect, Juan Bautista de Toledo, began work on a royal palace at Aranjuez.

Today, as a World Heritage Site, the palace and its 4 gardens are open to public viewing. Walking amongst the several statues and fountains might momentarily remove you to another world.

Keywords: aranjuez,madrid,spanish crown,royal family spain,spanish history

Posted In: Travel, Spain, Tourism, Culture


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