The Buenavista Palace is located on the hill of the same name and overlooks Cibeles Square. It fits in with the architecture of the Linares Palace, the Telecommunications Palace and the Bank of Spain Building.
View of the Palace
Front of the Buenavista Palace.
The first building dates from the 16th Century, when the Archbishop of Toledo, Gaspar de Quiroga, donated the property to King Felipe II, and the Royal Court moved from Valladolid to Madrid. Later on, the King’s sister, the Empress María of Austria, resided in it.
King Felipe II inherited the palace from his father, dwelling in it occasionally, but he eventually sold the property. Since then, it has had several owners, such as the Duke of Francavilla, the Congregation of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Marquis of Ensenada and the Queen, widow of Felipe V and mother of Carlos III, Isabel of Farnesio, who resided in it when she moved from Segovia, living in it from 1759 until her death in 1766.
In 1777, the 12th Duke of Alba, Fernando de Silva and Alvárez de Toledo, commended the design and construction of the present building to Pedro Arnal, and it was later inherited by his granddaughter, the 13th Duchess of Alba, Cayetana.
The Duchess died without leaving any descendants and bequeathed the place to her relatives. Several years later, the City Council purchased the property, only to give it to Manuel Godoy, the Royal Favourite of King Carlos IV. He spent large amounts of money on restoring and decorating the Palace but never had the chance to move into it, as he fell out of favour with the King after the 1808 Aranjuez Mutiny.
Closely associated with the Army since 1816, first as a Military Museum and Artillery and Engineering Depot, the palace became the seat of the Ministry of War in 1847 and, later on, the Ministry of the Army.
Having been a witness to a long period of Spain's history since the XVI century, the Buenavista Palace has been inhabited by many leading figures from that period, including the aforementioned monarchs and nobles, and General Espartero (the kingdom's regent), General Prim (who died inside it after an attack), Don Miguel Primo de Rivera (President of the Military Board) and Don Manuel Azaña, (who was Minister of War and later President of the Second Republic).
The Buenavista Palace, present seat of the Army Headquarters, is made up of a number of historic halls that are reminiscent of the leading figures that once dwelt in it. The works of art that adorn its walls include a rich series of tapestries and rugs from the Royal Factory of Santa Barbara, paintings by the great masters, lamps from the Royal Factory of La Granja, porcelain statues and clocks, as well as a notable collection of pieces of furniture in the Luis XV and Luis XVI styles, made in the 19th century.
A single flight main staircase connects the ground floor to the first floor, which is formed of four Tuscan granite pillars that contrast with the spectacular grey jasper balustrade, and leads to the hall of the floor above.