Madrid’s Royal Changing of the Guard

Every Wednesday and a Saturday Madrid’s  Royal Palace is the scene   of a true spectacle: the biweekly Changing the Guard.

For almost an hour, lancers and cuirassiers parade with rifle companies, and soldiers in charge of artillery and ammunition carriages . In total, 400 soldiers and 100 horses take part in the ceremony as it was performed in the 19th century under the monarchies of King Alfonso XII and King Alfonso XIII, wearing the uniforms of the era.

The palace  is still the official residence of the Spanish royal family although it now used only for state ceremonies. The palace contains almost 3,500 rooms is the largest royal palace in Europe.

 It was built in the 18th century on the site of a Moorish alkazar which had been destroyed by fire and overlooks the picturesque Campo del Moro Gardens. so named because the Muslim leader Ali ben Yusuf allegedly camped here with his troops in 1109 during an attempted reconquest of Madrid.

The interior of the palace is notable for its wealth of art including paintings by artists such as Caravaggio , de Goya  and Velazquez.