Aranjuez Cultural Landscape (2001)

Back to index

The Aranjuez cultural landscape is an entity of complex relationships: between nature and human activity, between sinuous watercourses and geometric landscape design, between the rural and the urban, between forest landscape and the delicately modulated architecture of its palatial buildings. 

Three hundred years of royal attention to the development and care of this landscape have seen it express an evolution of concepts from humanism and political centralization, to characteristics such as those found in its 18th century French-style Baroque garden, to the urban lifestyle which developed alongside the sciences of plant acclimatization and stock-breeding during the Age of Enlightenment. 

Spain 1978. King Carlos III, King of the Enlightenment, of the Bourbon Line.

 Spain 1989. The Raoyal Castle of Aranjuez.

Aranjuez is a city in central Spain, in the province of Madrid. Noted for its royal palace and park (see the stamp above right) Aranjuez lies in a fertile plain, 45 km (28 mi) south of the capital city of Madrid, on the left bank of the Tajo (Tagus) River. Aranjuez was once a favored springtime residence for the Spanish royal family and is now a popular resort for Madrid residents.  

The city’s principal monument is the royal palace, which was begun in the late 14th century by the Grand Master of the Order of Santiago. Queen Isabella of Castile (called “the Catholic”) favored the castle, and during the reign of Spanish King Philip II it was enlarged and made a royal residence. 

Spain 1979. King Philipp II, of the Habsburg Line.

  • Spain 1979. King Philipp II, of the Habsburg Line. 
  • Spain 2002. Tower at the royal Castle of Aranjuez. The stamp is part of a souvenir sheet, which you can see on the page about the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragón

Spain 2002. Tower at the Royal Castle of Aranjuez.

Spain 2001. The Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999).

Most of all Aranjuez is known to the grand public through the works of the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999), particularly his "Concierto de Aranjuez" (1939), which has immortalized this quiet and peaceful spot of Spain. 

His works are filled with Spanish folklore and colour, and his compositions are marked by a lucid neoclassical style full of rhythmic vitality. 

Particularly his compositions for the guitar are popular. Blind from the age of three, he studied in Paris, France, and was later based in Madrid.  

  • Spain 2001. The composer Joaquín Rodrigo. 

Badly damaged by fire in 1660, 1665, and 1748, the castle was rebuilt and refurbished, with new wings being added during the reign of King Charles III. After the reign of King Charles IV, who ordered additions built to the palace, the building and grounds fell into neglect. The castle’s extensive gardens occupy both banks of the Tajo River and the island of Isla. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Spain (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Spain-section, for further information on the individual properties. 

Back to index

Revised 19 jul 2007  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus 
All Rights Reserved