(Madrid) I spent half a day yesterday exploring the Royal Palace of the Spanish monarchs, better known in the capital city as the Palacio Real de Madrid. This facility is the official royal residence, though King Juan Carlos and the royal family actually reside in the smaller Palacio de la Zarzuela, while the Palacio Real is most often used for official receptions.
This is an impressive collection of artwork, architecture, and armaments from almost a thousand years of Spanish history. Of course, one might quibble that this grand display of wealth and culture owed much to the massive importation of New World silver - and thus to the associated exploitation of the labor of indigenous Americans and African slaves - but that is the subject of a different discussion altogether.
I continue to be impressed with the temporal depth of European museums and archives, which make their equivalents in the United States look like young upstarts. The cities of this continent are steeped in history, and most make a conscious effort to preserve and integrate history into modern municipal life beyond what gets captured in books.