Palacio de Cristal (Glass Palace)

The Palacio de Cristal is a late 19th century building located in the Retiro Park in Madrid. It is currently used for temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.

The construction of the Palacio de Cristal fits into the context of the great exhibitions held during the 19th and early 20th centuries. More precisely, it was built, in 1887, for the Philippine Islands Flora Exhibition.

Its architect was Ricardo Velázquez Bosco. He got the idea from the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, which was built for the Great Exhibition of 1851. On the other hand, Velázquez Bosco designed it as a kind of greenhouse that would house different tropical plants.

In 1936 it was used exceptionally as the inauguration setting of Manuel Azaña as president of the Second Republic. It took place there as the Spanish Parliament was too small for that many deputies.

At present, you can visit temporary exhibitions managed by the Reina Sofia Museum.

The Palacio de Cristal of Retiro is one of the most beautiful and important examples of iron architecture, not only in Madrid, but also in Spain. Its metallic structure is completely covered with glass. 

It is surrounded by chestnut and bald cypress trees. Just in front of it there is an artificial lake, with a staircase that emerges from it. When it comes to the building plan, it is organized as a central nave, from which two arms emerge at the sides. The centre is covered with a dome made entirely of glass and iron.

Pond and exterior of the Palacio de Cristal.

It has a classical facade, the only architectural element not made of metal and glass. Presented as a tetrastyle portico, it has two openings with round arches on both sides, flanked by modernist-style Ionian columns. Everything is finished off by a barrel vault roof, but with a triangular end on the facade.

The Palacio de Cristal has two levels of actual openings. The lower one is based on an arcade of round arches, supported by small columns. On the upper floor, the scheme is repeated, but with a lower height.

Interior of the Palacio de Cristal.

It is important to highlight the ceramic decorations of the friezes and the spandrels of the arches. This decoration was made by the important ceramist Daniel Zuloaga. Colourful vegetal decorative elements and grotesques with duck heads are pictured.

In 1975 a restoration was carried out to give the Palacio de Cristal its original appearance.

Details of the openings with the ceramics of Daniel Zuloaga.

Location: Paseo República de Cuba, 4, 28009 Madrid.
Phone: 917 74 10 00.

Here you will obtain information about your tickets, as well as the updated schedule of the Palacio de Cristal.

Moreover, if you want to stay longer in Madrid, we recommend you the best restaurants.

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