Royal Alcazar of Madrid
The Royal Alcázar of Madrid (Spanish: Real Alcázar de Madrid) was a Muslim fortress built in the second half of the ninth century, at the site of today's Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid, Spain. The structure was extended and enlarged over the centuries, particularly after 1560. It was at this time that the fortress was converted into a royal palace, and Madrid became the capital of the Spanish Empire. Despite being a palace, the great building kept its original title of Alcázar (English: ""fortress"").The first extension to the building was completed in 1537 and was commissioned by King Charles I. However, its exterior was constructed by the architect Juan Gómez de Mora in 1636, commissioned by King Philip IV.As famous for its artistic treasures as it is for its unusual architecture, it was the residence of the Spanish Royal Family and home of the Court, until its destruction by fire during the reign of King Philip V, on Christmas Eve 1734. Many artistic treasures were lost, including over 500 paintings. Other works, such as Las Meninas by Velázquez, were saved.