Originally the Dukes of Alba’s residence, the Buenavista Palace is a large building located on an outcrop with gardens near the Plaza de Cibeles. It was built in 1767 on the royal estate known as Altillo de Buenavista, purchased by the twelfth Duke of Alba in 1769.
It was the thirteenth Duchess of Alba who had the existing building knocked down and had the architect Pedro de Arnal design the current palace – more sumptuous and fitting for the rank of the Alba. The Arnal project, built in 1777, synthesises Italian and French designs, with an urban façade facing the North.
Numerous works of art were housed in this palace, such as Venus at her mirror by Velázquez (National Gallery of London) or The Alba Madonna by Raphael. At the time of Fernando VII, it was wanted as the premises for the Royal Museum of Paintings (current Prado Museum), but in the end, the army got it.
When the Alba title passed into the hands of the Berwick lineage, the Alba’s Madrid residence moved to the Liria Palace and this building became the headquarters for the Ministry of War in 1847. Since then, it has undergone numerous renovations and extensions and become what it is today: the General Headquarters of the Army.
Changing of the guard:
Last Friday of every month: 11am (except July, August and December).
One of the world’s leading art galleries with works by Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, Titian, Rubens and Hieronymus Bosch.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum takes you on a incredible journey through seven centuries of European painting.
Make your way up to the observation deck for stunning views of the city.
Climb on board and discover the city in a panoramic format.
Visit more than 50 museums and enjoy numerous discounts.