Palacio Real de Madrid or Royal Palace of Madrid is on the absolutely must-see list, while sightseeing in Spain. The palace was built from scratch in the XVIII century after the old building was consumed by fire. It is told that the king deliberately allowed the old palace to burn to make place for a more representative residence.
The palace is considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Spain. The design of the Royal Palace of Madrid is attributed to several architects, including Filippo Juvarra, Giambattista Sacchetti, and Francesco Sabatini, who oversaw the Palace’s completion. The latter designed also, the Palace’s neoclassical façade in the mid-18th century. The Palace’s interior decoration and furnishings were designed by Francisco Bayeu, Anton Raphael Mengs, and Ventura Rodríguez, among others.
The Palace consists of 3,418 rooms. It is, unfortunately, forbidden to photograph the interiors. I could have indeed imagined spending long hours taking photos of the detailed artwork one can admire inside on walls (most of it embroidered by hand) and on ceilings.
Although altogether not that decorative as the interiors, the outside design of the palace is imposing, too. Initially, the whole upper balustrade was to be decorated by statues of saints and kings. But ultimately, a decision was made to relocate most of them elsewhere to give the building a lighter appearance. There are still several statues decorating on the ballustrade, but most of the sculptures are decorating the parks and gardens around the palace. There are three squares directly adjacent to the palace: Plaza de Armeria, Plaza de Oriente and the Sabatini Gardens.
The Plaza de la Armería is situated within the grounds of the Royal Palace. It is named after the armory that was once located on the site. The armory was responsible for storing weapons and other military equipment used by the Spanish monarchy. Today, the square is used for a variety of ceremonial events, such as state ceremonies, military parades, and royal processions.
The entrance to the Palace from Plaza de la Armería. Look at the four statues on the upper balustrade over the main entrance and two at corners on the lower balustrade.
Plaza de Oriente is a public square adjacent to the Royal Palace, located at the right-hand side of the palace if looking onto the palace from Plaza de la Armería. It was designed in the early 19th century during the reign of King Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, as part of an ambitious urban renewal project that sought to modernize the Spanish capital. On its left and right side the Plaza de Oriente, that in fact is a park (or garden) is decorated by rows of statues, popularly known as the Gothic Kings.
The main view onto the Palace from the Plaza de Oriente.
Statues fo the Gothic Kings at Plaza de Oriente.
A series of statues called the Gothic Kings was originally commissioned to adorn the palace roofline during the reign of King Charles III in the mid-18th century. However, due to concerns about the weight of the statues, they most of them were never installed on the palace roof. Instead, they were eventually placed in the Plaza de Oriente in 1844, during the reign of Queen Isabella II, where they remain today. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the Royal Palace of Madrid and its surroundings were severely damaged. The Gothic Kings statues were no exception. Some of the sculptures were destroyed, while others were damaged or defaced. After the war, efforts were made to repair the damage to the statues.
I do not think that the statues we may admire at Plaze de Oriente are the full collection of the Gothic Kings. Among them I found, both Visigothic kings and kings of the Reconquista period. Making only one close-up on the roof I located there two Visigothic kings, as well. Looking at line of sucession of major dynasties of that time (which I gathered below), I suppose, that statues at Plaza de Oriente are a part of a bigger collection of kings and queens of the Gothic era in Iberia that are located either on the ballustrades or around the Palace at plaza de Oriente and Sabatini gardens.
As the statues were designed and carved to originally decorate the balustrade of the palace, under closer inspection, they lack detail. But still, they are a real eye-catcher. Below, the full pantheon you can see at Plaza del Oriente in a small gallery of pictures with a historical comment I was able to gather in the Internet.
The Gothic Kings were the Iberian rulers, the Visigothic kings, and later nobles and kings, who after the Visigothic kings lost rule over Iberia to Moors, began and proceeded with the Reconquista. The Reconquista is a period in Spanish history that lasted from the 8th century until the late 15th century. It refers to the gradual reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Christian kingdoms, which had been under Muslim control since the early 8th century. The Reconquista began in the early 8th century with the establishment of the Kingdom of Asturias, which was founded by Christian refugees who had fled the Muslim invasion. Over the next several centuries, the Christian kingdoms of Navarre, Aragon, Castile, and Portugal slowly expanded their territory and gradually reconquered the peninsula.
The Visigoths were originally a Germanic tribe that had migrated to the Roman Empire and had settled in what is now Romania and Bulgaria. It wasn’t until the early 5th century that the Visigoths invaded the Roman province of Hispania and established their own kingdom there. The first Iberian Visigothic king was a man named Athanaric, who ruled from 369 to 381 AD. However, it’s worth noting that the Visigothic kingdom was not yet established in Spain at that time. The first Visigothic king of Spain was a man named Theodoric I, who ruled from 418 to 451 AD.
The line of sucession of the Iberian Visigothic kings was as follows: Athanaric (369-381), Fritigern (384-386), Theodemar (386-395), Alaric I (395-410), Athaulf (410-415), Sigeric (415), Wallia (415-419), Theoderic I (419-451), Thorismund (451-453), Theodoric II (453-466), Euric (466-484), Alaric II (484-507), Gesalec (507-511), Theodoric the Great (511-526), the Ostrogothic King, acted as Regent for the youthful Amalric; Amalaric (526-531); Theudis (531-548); Theudigisel (548-549), Agila I (549-554); Athanagild (554-567); Liuva I (567-572); Leovigild (569-586); Reccared I (586-601); Liuva II (601-603); Witteric (603-610); Gundemar (610-612); Sisebut (612-621); Reccared II (621); Suintila (621-631); Sisenand (631-636); Chintila (636-640); Tulga (640-641); Chindasuinth (641-653); Recceswinth (649-672); Wamba (672-680); Erwig (680-687); Egica (687-702); Wittiza (700-710); Roderic (710-711). Roderic (also known as Rodrigo or Roderick) was the last king of the Visigothic Kingdom in Iberia, and ruled until his defeat by the Muslim Umayyad forces in the Battle of Guadalete in 711 AD. The defeat of Roderic and the Visigothic forces marked the beginning of the Muslim rule in Iberia, which lasted for several centuries.
At Plaza the Oriente I found four Visigothic Kings:
Ataulfo. Ataulf (also spelled Athaulf or Atawulf) (370-415) ruled from 410 to 415. He is best known for his marriage to Galla Placidia, the half-sister of the Western Roman Emperor Honorius, which was a significant political alliance between the Visigoths and the Romans. Ataulf’s reign began in the aftermath of the sack of Rome by the Visigoths under the leadership of Alaric I. In 414, Ataulf led a successful campaign against the Roman province of Africa, but was forced to withdraw due to lack of support from the Visigothic nobility. Ataulf’s marriage to Galla Placidia took place in 414 and was a significant political and diplomatic event. The couple had one son, Theodosius. However, Ataulf was assassinated in 415 before he could consolidate his power in the region. The circumstances of his death remain unclear, with some sources suggesting that he was killed by a rival Visigothic noble, while others suggest that he was assassinated by a servant or a follower of a Roman general. After Ataulf’s death, Galla Placidia was captured by a rival faction and held captive for several years. During this time, Theodosius was raised by his paternal relatives, and it’s unclear what role he played in the politics of the Visigothic kingdom. In 417, Galla Placidia was released and reunited with her son. She later married a Roman general and went on to play a significant role in Roman politics and became a powerful figure in her own right.
Eurico, also spelled Evaric or Eurico (?-484), reigned from 466 to 484 CE. He was the first Visigothic ruler to establish a kingdom that was fully independent of the Roman Empire. His predecessor, Theodoric II, had already taken steps towards independence, and had even briefly minted coins with his own image. Euric came to power by assassinating his older brother, Theodoric II, and consolidating his control over the Visigothic nobility. He then set about expanding his kingdom, conquering much of what is now modern-day Spain and Portugal. he established a treaty with the Romans in 475 that recognized Visigothic control over much of southern Gaul, including the cities of Toulouse and Bordeaux. Under Euric’s rule, the Visigoths established a legal code known as the Code of Euric, which helped to solidify their legal and administrative institutions. Euric also converted to Arian Christianity, a form of Christianity that was considered heretical by the mainstream Roman church. However, he did not impose it on his subjects, and allowed for religious freedom within his kingdom. Despite his successes, Euric’s reign was not without its challenges. He faced opposition from both the Romans and other Germanic tribes.
Leovigildo (520–586) was a Visigothic king of Hispania and Septimania from 568 until his death. He was the successor of King Liuva I and was responsible for important reforms in the administration of his kingdom, including the unification of the laws of the Visigoths and the Romans. During his reign, he conducted a series of successful military campaigns that helped expand the territory of his kingdom. He conquered the Suebi Kingdom in Galicia, and forced the Basques and Cantabrians to pay tribute. Leovigildo was also known for his religious policies, which aimed to unify the Christian church in Hispania. He converted from Arianism to Catholicism and persecuted the Arians, but also had disputes with the bishop of Toledo, who opposed his reforms. After his death, Leovigildo was succeeded by his son Reccared, who continued his father’s policies and converted the Visigothic kingdom to Catholicism.
Suintila was a Visigothic king who reigned from 621 to 631 when he abdicated. He came to the throne after the death of King Sisebut and his brother, King Reccared II. Suintila was known for his military campaigns against the Byzantine Empire, which had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 620. During his reign, Suintila continued the policy of religious intolerance that had been established by his predecessors. He expelled Jews from the kingdom and persecuted Arian Christians, who were considered heretics by the Catholic Church. Suintila is also known for his efforts to centralize power in the Visigothic kingdom. He issued a series of laws, known as the Suintilian Code, which aimed to standardize legal practices throughout the kingdom. The code dealt with a variety of topics, including marriage, property rights, and criminal law. He was succeeded by Sisenand.
Many of the Gothic Kings statues from the Reconquista period at Plaza de Oriente are those of kings of Asturias, who later became kings of Leon. The Kingdom of Asturias was initially centered around the city of Oviedo, but over time, the royal court began to spend more time in the city of León. Eventually, King Alfonso III moved the capital to León permanently, and the kingdom became known as the Kingdom of León. The reasons for the move are not entirely clear, but some historians believe that it was due to León’s strategic location at the crossroads of several major trade routes. Additionally, the city was located closer to the growing Christian territories in the north of the peninsula, which made it easier to defend against attacks from Muslim forces.
The first king of Asturias was Pelayo (718-737), after him Favila (737-739), Alfonso I (739-757), Fruela I (757-768), Aurelio (768-774), Silo (774-783), Mauregato (783-788), Bermudo I (788-791), Alfonso II (791-842), Ramiro I (842-850), Ordoño I (850-866). Kings of Leon line of succession is as follows: Alfonso III (866-910), García I (910-914), Ordoño II (914-924), Fruela II (924-925), Alfonso IV (925-931), Ramiro II (931-951), Ordoño III (951-956), Sancho I (956-958), Ordoño IV (958-960), Sancho I (960-966) – restored, Ramiro III (966-984), Bermudo II (984-999), Alfonso V (999-1028), Bermudo III (1028-1037). After Bermudo III, there were several claimants to the throne, which led to a period of instability known as the “Anarchy of the Trescientos” (the Anarchy of the Three Hundred). This period lasted from 1037 to 1065, and it was characterized by civil wars and battles among various noble families and factions vying for power. During this period, several monarchs briefly held the throne, but none were able to establish a stable reign. Some of these monarchs were Vermudo III (1037-1043), Sancho III of Navarre (which ruled jointly with his wife, Mayor, as Sancho V and Mayor), who was elected by some nobles in opposition to Vermudo III (1043-1054), and Ferdinand I of Castile, who seized the throne in 1054 and ruled until his death in 1065. After Ferdinand I’s death, his son Sancho II of Castile became king, and he also claimed the throne of León. This led to the unification of the kingdoms of León and Castile under the rule of Sancho II.
Don Pelayo, Rei de Asturias (685-737) also known as Pelagius, was the first king of Asturias, reigning from 718 to 737. He was born into a noble family in the Kingdom of Asturias, which was that time a small Christian state in the north of the Iberian Peninsula that emerged in the aftermath of the Islamic conquest of Hispania. Pelayo is remembered for his leadership in the Battle of Covadonga, fought in 722, which was the first significant victory by Christian forces against the Islamic Moors. This battle is often considered the starting point of the centuries-long Reconquista, a period of Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. After his victory at Covadonga, Pelayo consolidated his power in Asturias and began the process of rebuilding the Christian kingdom. He was succeeded by his son Favila or directly his son-in-law Alfonso I (see below), who continued his work of expanding the kingdom and repelling the Moors.
Alfonso I, also known as Alfonso the Catholic (693-757), was the king of Asturias from 739 to 757. He was the son-in-law of the king Pelayo. King Pelayo had a son Favilla, who is believed to have died before he could succeed his father to the throne. While some historians believe that Pelayo was succeeded directly by Alfonso I, others suggest that Pelayo’s son Favila may have reigned briefly before his death, and that Alfonso I married Pelayo’s daughter and then took the throne. Alfonso I is known for his efforts to expand and consolidate the Christian kingdom of Asturias. He launched a number of military campaigns against the Muslims. He also oversaw the construction of a number of fortresses and other defensive structures throughout the kingdom. In addition to his military activities, Alfonso I is also known for his efforts to promote Christianity and strengthen the institutional foundations of the kingdom. He founded several monasteries and churches, including the monastery of San Vicente de Oviedo, which became an important center of learning and culture. He also supported the efforts of Visigothic refugees who had fled from the Muslim conquest to preserve and promote their cultural heritage. Alfonso I died in 757 and was succeeded by his son, Fruela I.
Alfonso II (791-842), also known as Alonso the Chaste was the son of Bermudo. During his reign, he continued the expansion of the Asturian kingdom by conquering Galicia from the Moors. He also established the city of Oviedo as the capital of Asturias. Alfonso II is credited with the construction of the Santa Maria del Naranco palace, which is located just outside of Oviedo. Alonso II is also known for his efforts to promote Christianity in his kingdom, including building churches and monasteries. He also oversaw the construction of defensive structures and fortifications throughout the kingdom, as well as the development of trade and commerce. He died in 842 and was succeeded by his brother, Ramiro I.
Ramiro I (?-850) was the son of Alfonso II, and the nephew of Bermudo I. Ramiro I’s reign was marked by some instability due to internal rebellions and external Viking attacks. The most notable of these was the Viking attack on Gijón in 844. The Vikings raided the town, plundered its wealth, and took many captives, including a number of nobles. To defend against these attacks, Ramiro I built a network of fortified towns and castles along the northern coast of the kingdom. These fortifications were designed to provide a defense against Viking raids and to allow the Asturians to launch counterattacks against the Vikings. Ramiro I managed to hold his grip on power and even expanded the territory of Asturias by taking control of the region of La Rioja. His reign is also notable for his efforts to promote Christianity, including the construction of several churches and monasteries. After his death in 850, he was succeeded by his son, Ordoño I.
Ordoño I, also known as Ordoño the Cursed (821-866), was a King of Asturias from 850 until his death in 866. He was the eldest son of King Alfonso II of Asturias and his wife, Queen Ermesinda, and succeeded his father’s brother. Ordoño I was a powerful and successful king, who expanded the territory of Asturias through a series of military campaigns against the Moors, who had occupied much of the Iberian Peninsula. He also strengthened the Asturian monarchy, consolidating its power and establishing a system of government that would endure for centuries. Despite his successes, Ordoño I was known for his cruel and violent temper, which earned him the nickname “the Cursed”. According to legend, he was cursed by a Moorish princess whom he had captured and taken as his concubine, and who predicted that he would meet a violent end. Whether or not this is true, Ordoño I did meet a violent end when he was assassinated in 866, possibly at the instigation of one of his many enemies. Despite his violent reputation, Ordoño I is remembered as one of the greatest kings of Asturias, whose reign marked a turning point in the struggle against Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula. He was suceeded by Alfonso III.
Alonso III, also known as Alonso the Great (848-910), was a King of Asturias and Galicia from 866 until 910, when he abdicated the throne and retired to a monastery. He succeeded his father, Ordoño I, as king at the age of 18. During his reign, Alonso III continued the Reconquista, the centuries-long Christian effort to recapture the Iberian Peninsula from Muslim rule. He led several successful military campaigns against the Moors, including the reconquest of the city of León in 910. Alonso III was also known for his administrative reforms, including the introduction of a written legal code. He is remembered as one of the most important and successful monarchs of the early Middle Ages in Spain. He was suceeded by his son Garcia I, who were then followed one by one by his younger brothers.
Ordoño II (873-924) was the King of León from 914 until his death, and also ruled Galicia during this time as a separate kingdom within the broader Astur-Leonese realm. He was the son of Alfonso III of Asturias and his queen, Jimena, and younger brother of Garcia I. During his reign, Ordoño II continued the process of reconquering the territories lost to the Muslims. He also strengthened the power of the monarchy by limiting the power of the nobles and by increasing his control over the church. Ordoño II was known for his military prowess and his patronage of the arts. He was a patron of the Mozarabic culture (the culture and traditions of the Christian communities that continued to exist in the region during this time, which included a mix of Roman, Visigothic, and Islamic influences) and was a prolific builder of churches and monasteries. He also supported the composition of poetry and music, and was himself a poet. Ordoño II died in 924, and was succeeded by his grandson, Fruela II.
Ramiro II, rei de Leon (900-951), also known as Ramiro the Great, was the son of King Alfonso III of Asturias and his queen consort Jimena of Pamplona. He became king of León in 931 after the death of his brother, Alfonso IV. Ramiro II was known as “the Devil” for his military tactics, which included attacking the enemy by surprise and with great force. He was also known for his piety, building several churches and monasteries during his reign. One of Ramiro’s most significant military campaigns was against the Muslims of Córdoba in 939. His victory at the Battle of Simancas effectively halted Muslim expansion into Christian territories and cemented his place in history as a great warrior king. In addition to his military accomplishments, Ramiro II was also known for his cultural patronage, supporting the arts and scholarship in his kingdom. He brought scholars from all over Europe to his court. Ramiro II died in 951 and was succeeded by his son, Ordoño III.
Alonso V, rei de Leon (999-1028) was the King of León from 999 until his death in 1028. He was the son of Bermudo II. When Bermudo II died in battle against the Muslims in 999, Alonso was only a child and so his mother, Elvira García, acted as regent until he came of age. Alonso V was known for his military campaigns against the Muslim kingdoms of al-Andalus, and during his reign, he conquered several territories and expanded the Kingdom of León’s borders. In addition to his military achievements, he was also known for his religious devotion and supported the establishment of several monasteries and convents. Alonso V was married to Elvira Menéndez, with whom he had three children. His eldest son, Bermudo III, succeeded him as king upon his death in 1028.
Fernando I, Rey de Castilla. Fernando I, also known as Ferdinand I of Castile (1017-1065), was a King of Castile and León, who ruled from 1037 (after the death of his elder brother García Sánchez III of Navarre) until his death in 1065. He was the son of Sancho III of Navarre and Mayor of Castile. He was married to Sancha of León. During his reign, Fernando I was a successful military leader and expanded the territories of Castile and León. One of his most significant military achievements was the conquest of the city of Coimbra in Portugal in 1064, which was an important center of the Muslim Taifa of Badajoz at the time. This victory helped to further establish Castile and León as powerful Christian kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula. Fernando I was also known for his support of the Church and his patronage of religious institutions and monasteries. He founded several monasteries and was a strong advocate for the independence of the Church from secular authorities. After his death in 1065, Fernando I was succeeded by his son, Sancho II. He was buried in the Royal Pantheon of the Monastery of San Isidoro in León, where many of the Kings of León and Castile are interred.
Sancha, Reina de Leon. Sancha of León, also known as Sancha of Castile (1013-1067), was a Spanish queen and the wife of King Ferdinand I of Castile and León. She was born in 1013, the daughter of Sancho García, the Count of Castile, and his wife, Urraca Fernández. She married Ferdinand I of León in 1032 and became Queen of León upon his accession to the throne in 1037. Sancha was a patron of the arts and literature, and she was known for her piety and her devotion to the Church. She and Ferdinand I had several children, including Sancho II, who succeeded his father as King of León. Sancha was also a great-grandmother of the famous medieval military leader El Cid. After Ferdinand I’s death in 1065, Sancha retired to a convent in Sahagún, where she lived for the rest of her life. She died in 1067 and was buried at the convent. She was later canonized by the Catholic Church and is venerated as a saint, with her feast day celebrated on November 29th.
Fernan Gonzales, conde independient de Castilla. Fernán González (910–970) was a nobleman and the first independent count of Castile, a region in the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula. He was born in the second half of the 9th century into a noble family that was part of the Leonese aristocracy. Fernán González’s rule is characterized by his fight for independence against the Kingdom of León, which at the time was ruled by Sancho I. In 931, Fernán González was named count of Castile, which at the time was a frontier zone between León and the Muslim territories to the south. He consolidated his power and gained the loyalty of his vassals by fighting against the Moors and by granting land and privileges to his followers. Despite being a vassal of the Kingdom of León, Fernán González acted independently and eventually became de facto ruler of Castile. He created a network of alliances and intermarriages with other noble families, which helped him maintain his independence and expand his territories. Fernán González was succeeded by his son, García Fernández, who continued the fight for Castilian independence. The House of Castile, founded by Fernán González, would eventually become one of the most important noble families in medieval Spain, and Castile would emerge as a powerful kingdom in its own right.
Among the Gothic Kings I found also three representing the North.
The Kingdom of Navarre originated in the 9th century when a Basque chieftain named Íñigo Arista was elected as the first king of Pamplona in 824. Over time, the kingdom expanded its territory and power, eventually becoming known as the Kingdom of Navarre. In 1137, the County of Barcelona merged with the Kingdom of Aragon forming the Crown of Aragon. Navarre remained an independent kingdom until it was conquered by Castile in 1512.
Íñigo Arista, also known as Enneco or Íñigo I (?-851), was the first known king of Pamplona and the founder of the Arista dynasty. He ruled from approximately 824 to 851 and is credited with laying the foundations for the Kingdom of Navarre. According to legend, he was elected by a group of Navarrese nobles in the aftermath of a battle against the Moors, in which Íñigo played a crucial role. His reign was marked by the expansion of Navarre’s territory and influence, particularly towards the east.
Ramiro I, rei de Aragon (1007-1063) also known as Ramiro I of Aragon, also known as Ramiro I of Navarre, was the first king of Aragon, reigning from 1035 to 1063. He was the second son of Sancho III of Navarre, and upon his father’s death in 1035, he inherited the County of Aragon, which he turned into a kingdom. During his reign, he expanded the territory of Aragon through conquests and alliances, and was known for his military prowess and political acumen. He was succeeded by his son Sancho Ramírez (1063-1094) with the following line of sucession: Peter I (1094-1104), Alfonso I (1104-1134), Ramiro II (1134-1137), Petronilla (1137-1164), who abdicated in favor of her son, Alfonso II of Aragon (1164-1196).
Wilfredo el Belloso, as written on the statue. Wilfredo el Velloso, , which means “Wilfred the Hairy” in English, also known as Guifré el Pelós in Catalan (840-897), was a Count of Barcelona and Girona in the early 9th century. He is known for his efforts to expand the territory under his control and for his role in the establishment of the Marca Hispanica, a buffer zone created by Charlemagne along the Pyrenees to defend against Muslim invasions. Under Wilfredo’s leadership, the County of Barcelona became one of the most powerful regions in the Iberian Peninsula. He also played an important role in the development of the Catalan language and culture, and is considered one of the founders of Catalonia. Wilfredo was succeeded by his son, Wilfredo II el Velloso.
Making a close-up photo of the Spanish coat of arms you can see on the Palace’s Balustrade from Plaza de Oriente I found statues of two further Visigotic Kings.
There are two statues above the plaza that still decorate the balustrade: Reccared II and Liuva II, who were the Visigoth kings.
Liuva II (583-603) was a Visigothic king, who ruled over the Iberian Peninsula from 601 to 603. He was the son of King Recared I and his wife Bado. Liuva II’s reign was marked by turmoil and instability, as he faced challenges from both within and outside his kingdom. One of the major challenges Liuva II faced was a rebellion by a noble named Hermenegild, son of King Liuvigild and brother of King Reccared I. Hermenegild rebelled againts Liuva II because he had converted to Catholicism and wanted to overthrow Liuva II, who was an Arian Christian. Liuva II also faced external threats, as the Byzantine Empire and the Franks both sought to expand their territories into Hispania. Liuva II was able to fend off these challenges and maintain his position as king until he was deposed by his brother, Witteric, who then became the new king of the Visigothic Kingdom.
Reccared II (?-621), was a Visigothic king, who ruled in 621 until his death. He was the son of Swinthila, a previous king of the Visigoths. Reccared II’s reign was brief and little is known about his accomplishments or legacy
And yet another look at the Royal Palace from the Sabatini Gardens, a location of other statues of Spanish kings initially designated to decorate the Palace. The gardens are named after the Italian architect Francesco Sabatini, the major contributor to the Place design.
The Sabatini Gardens, at the opposite side to the Plaza de Oriente
The royal palace is the official residence of the Spanish royal family. It is, however, only used for state ceremonies. The royal family neither owns the place nor lives there. The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional.