To the east of Hapsburg Madrid was the area of the orchards, known as El Prado. The Count Duke of Olivares undertook the construction of a palace for Philip IV, of which today only a few pavilions and the gardens of the Retiro remain. In the 18th century, Charles III enlarged the city in this area, a gate was erected and the foundations of what would later become the Prado Museum were laid.
The Prado Museum
It houses an extraordinary collection of Spanish paintings from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The works of Velázquez and Goya stand out. It is housed in a neoclassical building that was commissioned by Charles III in 1785 as a cabinet of Natural Sciences.
This museum was installed in the Villahermosa Palace in 1992. The following year it was donated to Spain. It houses the works of art collected by Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and his son Hans Heinrich.
Reina Sofía Art Centre
Formerly the hospital of San Carlos, today converted into a museum, it houses a large collection of more than 21,000 works of art, mainly from the 20th century. The museum also organises different exhibitions and activities. It also has a prestigious library and a documentation centre with an extensive catalogue.
Named after the old palace of which it was a part, of which only the Casón del Buen Retiro and the Salón de Reinas (Queens' Hall) remain. Until the 18th century it was exclusively for royal use. Bullfights and even naval battles were organised here.
This is the most representative monument of the reign of Charles III. It replaced an old Baroque gate that Philip III had built to welcome his wife Margaret of Austria. Its construction began in 1769 and lasted nine years.
Church of San Jerónimo el Real
Gothic in style, but restored in the 19th century. The royal wedding of Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia de Battenberg was held here in 1906. In 1975 the coronation of King Juan Carlos I was held here.