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Madrid’s Palacio Real is fireproof

By | 28 July, 2016 | 0 comments

The fact that fires are worrying is nothing new, because even kings from yesteryear like Felipe V were worried that their most emblematic buildings could succumb to flames. To stop this from happening, back in the Eighteenth century, the aforementioned king decided to build the palace that is known today as Palacio Real de Madrid and made it entirely of stone and bricks. Why? To avoid the disaster that the Real Alcázar endured in 1734, crumbling and disappearing after a fire. There was very little left after the flames were put out other than the actual land, which is where Palacio Real was built.

And so, Felipe V substituted the “old” palace (Real Alcázar) for a new one built more to his taste and that kept up with the times. The person ordered to design this majestic building was the architect Filippo Juvara, who started work four years after the fire, in 1738. Juvara struggled with the royal designs, since the architect proposed a larger palace albeit in a different location, a proposal which was completely rejected. He wasn’t to be the only or the last designer -creator- responsible for this project, since other architects were appointed after him, such as Juan Bautista Sachetti (Juvara’s student), responsible for adapting the project to the plot of land where the Real Alcázar stood; Ventura Rodríguez and Francesco Sabatini.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that the palace has open secrets or curiosities to discover, aside from the whole list of professionals and kings who were involved in its construction until the end (despite the renovations that came with every new king), what is really surprising and always will be is the vision of building a fireproof palace in the Eighteenth century. Stone and bricks were the only materials used in the construction, completely omitting wood.

(If you want to see a recreation of the fire at the Real Alcázar, you can watch it on TVE’s Ministerio del Tiempo).

Categories: blog, Guías Madrid

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