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17 abril 2024

Palacio de la Real Maestranza: A renaissance treasure in the medieval heart of Zaragoza

Discover Zaragoza's best kept secret: the Palacio de la Real Maestranza, a beautiful Renaissance building full of history and artistic curiosities. Join us on a unique tour of this fascinating architectural treasure.

Welcome to the mysterious and splendorous Palacio de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Zaragoza, also known as Casa Donlope, an architectural jewel that has remained anonymous for centuries. Located on Dormer Street, near Plaza Santa Marta and the majestic Cathedral of La Seo, this Renaissance building is one of the best kept secrets of the city.

Built in the 16th century by the jurist Don Miguel Donlope, the Palacio de la Real Maestranza is a magnificently preserved example of the Aragonese Renaissance palace houses that once abounded in Zaragoza. Its strategic location next to the Cathedral of La Seo reflects the importance and power that Don Miguel wielded in his time.

During the visit, you will immerse yourself in the history of the house and learn about the artists who participated in its construction. Highlights include the exterior railings made in 1541 by Pedro Rebollo, the eaves of the main facade designed by Jaime Fanegas and the magnificent ceilings of the main floor and staircase created by Bernat Giner.

Entering the interior of the Palacio de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Zaragoza is like opening a book of history and art. Each step transports you to a bygone era, giving a glimpse of the grandeur and splendor of the Aragonese Renaissance.

After passing through the entrance door, you find yourself in the hallway of the palace, where you can purchase tickets for the guided tour. Here, stone walls and tall late Gothic columns welcome you.

The tour continues through a typical Aragonese courtyard, an oasis of tranquility with its arches and architectural details reflecting local tradition. Here, the guide gives you a brief introduction to the fascinating history of the house and its illustrious owners over the centuries.

The architectural jewel of the palace is revealed as you ascend the cloistered staircase, whose wooden cupola ceiling is a unique masterpiece of its kind. The combination of Mudejar and Renaissance elements in this ceiling is simply amazing and demonstrates the mastery of the artists who contributed to its construction.

On the second floor, you enter three meeting rooms that have remained virtually untouched over time. These rooms served as a meeting place for members of the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Zaragoza, a noble institution with a historical legacy dating back to the 12th century. The wooden ceilings that adorn these halls are a visual spectacle in themselves, with exquisite artistic details that add a touch of elegance to every corner.

In one of the halls, a true gem is on display: a tapestry of St. George fighting the dragon, an emblematic scene symbolizing the bravery and courage of the patron saint of Aragon. The rich colors and finely woven details of this tapestry capture the attention of visitors and transport them to an era of artistic splendor.

To close the visit, the palace stables await you, restored to show how they were in times past. These stables, located next to the cellars of the house, are a living testimony of the importance of the cavalry in the society of that time.

The interior of the Palacio de la Real Maestranza is a true time capsule, where the grandeur of the Renaissance merges with the history of Zaragoza. Every detail, every architectural and artistic element transports you to a golden era and leaves you in awe of the magnificence of this hidden treasure of the city. Without a doubt, a visit to this palace is an unforgettable journey into the past and an experience not to be missed on your tour of Zaragoza.

The Palacio de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Zaragoza has reached our days in a surprising state of preservation. Here, you can immerse yourself in the essence of the Renaissance era and appreciate what the more than 200 palaces that adorned the streets of the city were like in their splendor, when Zaragoza was known as “the Spanish Florence” due to its architectural wealth.

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