Dirección General de Patrimonio Cultural del Ayuntamiento de Madrid
From Madrid to the sky, and to the stars
The Royal Observatory of Astronomy was created according to a proposal by the famous naval engineer and humanist Jorge Juan Santacilia to round off the illustrated scientific program sponsored by Carlos III. Today it still crowns one of the unique points between the Retiro park and the Paseo del Prado, the Cerrillo de San Blas, as an outstanding milestone in neoclassical architecture. It was one of the exemplary works of the architect Juan de Villanueva, begun in 1790.
The building should have been almost completed in 1808 when it suffered the consequences of the War of Independence. Following its restoration post 1813, it still underwent small alterations late in the 19th century, when an Elizabethan railing was added to its cornice and four small domes to the corners of the central body, according to a project by the architect Narciso Pascual y Colomer.
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