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Spain: Aranjuez

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Aranjuez | Spain | Europe

[Visited: October 2004]

Aranjuez was established as a place for resting and relaxation for the royal family. Its palaces, and the way they were constructed, in harmony with the nature that surrounds them, and the parks that were designed around them, are still special places to visit, and because of their uniqueness, were declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 2001. Aranjuez is situated on the banks of the river Tajo, or Tagus, and this location was used to the advantage of the city and the development of extensive gardens and parks.

Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: Royal Palace

Actually, the Arabs were first to construct a village on this site in the 11th century, but it was only when the kings of Spain decided to make the site a relaxation area that it turned into an important place. Of course, apart from the local favourable circumstances, one of the main advantages of Aranjuez is its closeness to the capital Madrid. Nowadays, going to Aranjuez can easily be done by suburban train from the metropole. While the station is on the outskirts of town, a 10 minute walk will take you to the first palace.

Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: autumn colours on the central square

Most of the city is divided in square city blocks, which reminded me of the typical grid of cities and towns in the New World. Very convenient to explore a city. It is pleasant to walk around the city itself, but the main attractions lie in the enormous parks. The Jardín del Principe, or Garden of the Prince, is a huge area to explore, with hidden houses like the Real Casa del Labrador, with fountains, small lakes, pavillions, and a walking path along the bank of the river Tagus. Finally, Plaza San Antonio, the main square of the city and close to the royal palace, deserves special mention because of the royal chapel, the fountain, and the porticoes.

Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: sculpture in Jardín de la  Isla
Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: reflection of Royal Palace in pond
Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: Royal Chapel on Plaza San Antonio
Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: portico on Plaza San Antonio
Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: Plaza San Antonio with fountain and Royal Chapel
Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: Fountain on plaza San Antonio
Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: detail of Real Casa del Labrador
Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: Flowers in Jardín del Principe
Picture of Aranjuez (Spain): Aranjuez: Statue in Jardín del Principe

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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