parallax background
Puerta de Alcalá
La Puerta de Alcalá
25 May 2016
Catedral de la Almudena
La Almudena Cathedral
25 May 2016

Madrid Crystal Palace – El Retiro


In the green lung of the city center, we find the Crystal Palace, which is undoubtedly the most beautiful monument in El Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro). It has become one of the most popular among visitors to the capital.

History of the Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace was built by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco in El Retiro  Park and its construction project was inspired on the Crystal Palace, designed by Paxton, which was built it in London in 1851. Velázquez Bosco was restorer of many important buildings such as the Leon Cathedral, Burgos Cathedral, the Mosque of Cordoba, the Alhambra or the Monastery of La Rábida in Huelva.

It is a metal and glass structure located in the Retiro Park and was built in 1887 because of the Philippines Exhibition, held on that year. It is one of the best examples of the so-called iron architecture in Madrid and possibly one of the most beautiful sights of the capital.

The building was erected on a temporary basis, in order to be dismantled at the end of the exhibition and send it to Manila, where it was going to hold a second one, but it was not carried out and the Crystal Palace remained forever in El Retiro Park.

So, initially, the Crystal Palace was planned as a greenhouse to house giant tropical plants, but is now an exhibition hall with art galleries and it is part of the Reina Sofia Museum installations.

Interior Palacio de Cristal


A curious historical fact? On 10th May 1936 the Crystal Palace was the scene of Manuel Azaña’s possession as the Republic president.

The structure of the Crystal Palace

Its structure is made of metal and completely covered by glass plates, where its name came from. The decoration used in small ceramic friezes and auctions is the work of Daniel Zuloaga.

At his feet we see a beautiful artificial lake, where there is a staircase that plunges into it, and where you can find several copies of cypress, whose main characteristic is that part of its trunk and its roots are under the water. The building is also surrounded by Buckeyes.

lago el retiro palacio de cristal

In 1975 he conducted a comprehensive repair of the Crystal Palace, which gave its current appearance. Today is co-managed by various entities (Madrid Town Hall and Reina Sofia Museum among others) where contemporary art exhibitions are held.

Opening schedules and price

  • From April to September (included), from Monday to Sunday and holidays from 10:00 to 22:00 h. May 1 and September 9 are closed.
  • From 1 to 24 October, from Monday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 19:00 h.
  • From October 25 to March (included), Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 h.
  • Closed on December 25, 1 and 6 January and rainy days.

Free entrance

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