Palacio de Cristal

Palacio de Cristal

Palacio de Cristal is an exhibition pavilion located in Parque del Retiro. We must point out that it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Madrid. It is not an exaggeration if we say that when we go inside, we have the feeling of being transported to another world and to another reality: for a moment, one has the sensation of being away from Madrid, in a faraway and unreal place and maybe we can even imagine we are the main character of a story. Such is the architectural beauty of the palace.

Palacio de Cristal

The name Palacio de Cristal is due to the glass panes that completely cover its framework and thus create this aspect of fairytale palace which visitors like so much. It is located on a hill in Parque del Retiro and it does not only strike us because of its beautiful architecture but also because of its splendid views. This is why we think it is a must-visit. However, this magnificent space had to be restored completely in the past, so that at present, we can enjoy it to the full. This is the reason why we have chosen it for our section Restoring is Living. Some weeks ago, we visited another palace, the stunning Palacio de Linares.

Palacio de Cristal


Palacio de Cristal was designed and built by Ricardo Velazquez Bosco in order to host the Philippines Exhibition which took place in Parque del Retiro in 1887. The architect found inspiration in the London Crystal Palace which was located in Hyde Park. Undoubtedly, Palacio de Cristal stands out because of its framework which resembles a cathedral. The building is constructed with cast iron and glass and in such a way that there are no architectural elements and so light becomes the protagonist. As a matter of fact, this cost-efectiveness makes the architectural complex really marvellous.

Palacio de Cristal

In the palace, two naves intersect transversely creating a 22 metre transcept. Its different vaults and its splendid glass dome leaves the visitor flabbergasted. Thanks to this iron and glass framework, each angle offers a unique and interesting view, enticing the visitors to stroll in order to enjoy the sight of each corner.

Palacio de Cristal

The building is decorated with ceramics made by the Spanish ceramist and painter Daniel Zuloaga. Outside, there are classic-style flight of steps which lead to the entrance of the palace, adorned with columns and a balustrade. However, before entering, the visitor usually takes pleasure in the artificial lake which is next to the entrance of the palace. We might say that this landscape is perhaps the best in all Parque del Retiro.

Palacio de Cristal


All through the XX century, Palacio de Cristal was renovated several times and mostly without success. So much so that the building was greatly damaged and hence, in 1975 had to be completely renovated. Thanks to this total reform, the original aspect of the palace was recovered. Thus at present, we can view it as it was originally designed.


Since 1990, Palacio de Cristal is one of the venues of Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Reina Sofía: this is why it always exhibits some of its temporary exhibitions.

Picture 01: vpogarcia

Picture 02: Tiia Monto

Picture 03: Fred Romero

Picture 04: Sabri85

Picture 05: Mr. Tickle

Picture 06: Felipe Gabaldón

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