Tourists in glass houses. Madrid’s Palacio de cristal

On a recent trip to Spain’s capital, I visited the Palacio de cristal – the Crystal Palace.

As you can see from the photos, I was lucky enough to have a clear December day with blue skies in which to visit the structure.

Palacio de cristal, Madrid/Sullivan

Situated as it is in the Parque del buen retiro, it’s a wonder I had never seen it before on an earlier visit.

The elegant park itself was built under the reign of Felipe IV, and was a beloved escape of the Spanish nobility in the 17th century.

This lovely Crystal Palace was a later addition, built in 1887 to host the Philippines Exhibition, filled with tropical plants from that island nation, on display that year.

Palacio de cristal, Madrid/Sullivan

It was designed by Ricardo Velazquez Bosco, and boasts the era’s art deco style I so love. It was modelled after London’s Crystal Palace, built 36 years earlier.

Not surprisingly, it was originally intended to continue as a giant greenhouse after the Philippines Exhibition, and to house tropical flora and fauna. Honestly, I wish they could go back to the original idea. It would be such an oasis in this beautiful park.

However, it is now used mostly for exhibitions.

Don’t miss out on the Crystal Palace when you’re next in Madrid! And be thankful (as I was) that you don’t have to clean all that glass!

Palacio de cristal, Madrid/Sullivan
Palacio de cristal, Madrid/Sullivan

Leave a Comment