The origin of Plaza Mayor goes back to 1577 when Phelipe II asked Juan de Herrera, an architect, to discuss a plan to remodel the busy and inefficient area of the old Plaza del Arrabal. Construction did not start until Phelipe III’s reign fifty years later, when Juan Gomez de Mora continued the project. The Plaza Mayor has been the scene of many events such as bullfighting, public executions and the fearful auto-de-fé celebrations for heretics.
The Royal Alcázar of Madrid was a fortress originally built in the second half of the ninth century, then extended and enlarged over time. In the sixteenth Century, it was converted into a royal palace, and Madrid became the capital of Spain. The Alcázar’s first extension was commissioned by King Carlos I; with the exterior undertaken by the architect Juan Gomez de Mora in 1636 on a commission from King Phelipe IV. The Alcázar was the residence of the Spanish Royal Family where they held Court, until a fire destroyed it during the reign of King Phelipe V in 1734. Many artistic treasures were lost, including over 500 paintings, some of them being Velázquez. Las Meninas was saved.
Monasterio de El Escorial
The Escorial is a vast building complex Constructed between1563 and 1584, located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid. It is the most important architectural monument of the Spanish Renaissance. The project was conceived by King Phelipe II, who wanted a building to serve the multiple purposes of a burial place for his father, Holy Roman emperor Charles V, a Hieronymite Monastery, and a palace. The interior was decorated by many notable Spanish and Italian artists of the 16th and 17th Centuries.