Palace of Zarzuela
Zarzuela Palace (Spanish: Palacio de la Zarzuela, [paˈlaθjo ðe la θaɾˈθwela]) is the residence of former King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia and their family. The palace is on the outskirts of Madrid, near the Royal Palace of El Pardo. The complex also houses the official residence of the current King and Queen in a nearby mansion. The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by a state agency called Patrimonio Nacional (National Heritage).
During the 17th century, King Philip IV ordered a country palace or hunting lodge to be built at La Zarzuela near Madrid. It was a rectangular, slate-roofed building with two lateral arcades. Carlos IV carried out alterations to the building to adapt it to 18th century taste, and adorned it with tapestries and porcelain, as well as furniture and his much-loved clocks.
Juan Carlos and his wife have lived in the palace since their marriage in 1962. After the death of Francisco Franco in 1975, the King and Queen decided not to occupy his El Pardo Palace, leaving it for foreign state guests, designating the Moncloa Palace as the residence of the President of the Spanish Government, while they remained at Zarzuela. The Royal Palace in the centre of Madrid, the former principal residence of the Spanish kings, is the official residence of the King, although it is only used for state occasions.
The palace theatre was the birthplace of the Spanish operetta style, zarzuela. "Zarzuela" is thought to be derived from "zarzas" meaning brambles, due to its function as a hunting lodge meaning that it is situated amongst the brambles of the King's Hunting Grounds.
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