An old quarter which is a Historic-Artistic Site, royal palaces, and gardens on the banks of the Tagus form the layout of Aranjuez. The ideas of the Enlightenment, adapted to the urban development of cities, are embodied here in a balance between nature and man, the watercourses and the design of the gardens, between the woods and the palace architecture. This is why it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001. The Strawberry Train and the festival to commemorate the Revolt of Aranjuez, of National Tourist Interest, are some of the cultural musts awaiting the visitor to this town in the Madrid region.
The fertile plain of Aranjuez, between the Tagus and Jarama rivers, has been populated since distant times. The current layout dates back to the reign of Felipe II (16th century), who awarded this town the title of Royal Site. Felipe V (17th-18th centuries and Carlos III (18th century) transformed Aranjuez into a centre of the court where the palace architecture goes hand in hand with woods and gardens, all in line with the aesthetic taste of the Enlightenment. The networked layout of the streets of its historic quarter is a product of this rationalist thought.
One of the jewels of this town near Madrid, and the origin of its splendour, is its Royal Palace. The current appearance is the result of reconstructions and additions which began with the work of Juan Bautista de Toledo, architect to Felipe II. Over the course of time, other maestros also had a hand in the construction at the service of the Spanish kings, such as Juan de Herrera (designer of the monastery of El Escorial) and Francisco Sabatini (architect to Carlos III, who was responsible for numerous buildings in Madrid). Inside, there are abundant baroque pieces like those we can see in the clock, porcelain and painting rooms (Lucas Jordan, Vicente Lopez or Esquivel