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The Retiro is perhaps Madrid's best known park. It occupies 120 hectares (300 acres) of land in the very centre of Madrid in very stylish Jerónimos district. (By comparison Central Park in New York City occupies about 340 hectares of land.) It originated as the gardens of the Palace of the Buen Retiro and was opened to the public by decree of the First Spanish Republic in 1868. The Retiro includes the Rosaleda (a rose garden) and a boating lake, around which there is always a large variety of shows and street theatre during the weekends. The pictures above show the Palacio de Cristal (the Crystal Palace).  It is located on the south side of the park.

The Parque del Retiro was were Felipe IV's royal palace stood.  Now all that remains is the Casón Del Buen Retiro and the Museo del Ejército. (The Museo del Ejército is Spain's Army museum.  Its most famous exhibit is the sword of El Cid.) The park began in 1632, but its use was limited to the Royal Family.  In the 18th century it was partially opened to the public and in 1869 it was fully opened to the public.

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