Prado Museum in Madrid The Prado Museum is Madrid's top cultural sight, and one of the world's greatest art galleries. Located in the eponymous street, El Paseo del Prado, its dazzling display of works by the great European masters such as Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens, and Bosch (among other major Italian and Flemish artists), is housed in an 18th-century Neo-Classical building that opened as a museum in 1819. Its name derives from the district where it is located, formerly an area of market gardens known as the "prado" or meadow. The Spanish queen at the time had been impressed with the Louvre in Paris and wanted to showcase an enormous collection in her own country. The result is several thousand works at the present time, with a recent modern extension allowing more of them to be displayed. The sheer scale of the collection can make it daunting, so it is important to arrive with a few of the highlights in mind and concentrate on those. Perhaps the collection's most famous painting is Velazquez's "Las Meninas," showing princess Margarita and her two ladies-in-waiting as well as the artist himself with paintbrush and palette in hand. Another of his famous works, "The Triumph of Bacchus," shows the god of wine with a group of drunkards. The other major artist of the collection is Goya, whose depiction of nudity in the painting "The Naked Maja" led him to be accused of obscenity. His works make up such a large part of the museum, that his statue stands outside the main entrance. Another outstanding painting in the history of art is "The Garden of Delights" by Bosch, whose several other works are also represented at the Prado, as he was one of King Filipe II's favourite artists. Also look out for Rubens' "The Adoration of the Magi" and "The Three Graces," depicting three women (the Graces or the daughters of Zeus), dancing and representing Love, Joy, and Revelry.turkeyarena.com Rembrandt is also present with his fine self-portrait and "Artemisia," the subject of which is still unclear. Another self-portrait is that of Albrecht Dürer, who painted it at the age of 26. The Prado is worthy of repeat visits, but if you are able to only visit it once, these are the major works you should not miss. Devote most of your remaining time to admiring the Spanish works of the 17th century. For a break or light meal, the museum offers a cafeteria. The museum shop is also worthy of a stop, as is acquiring an "Art Walk" ticket ("El Paseo del Arte") that also allows entrance to the Thyssen Bornemisza and Reina Sofia museums. This area is a good location as a base for your stay in Madrid, since it is right alongside the top three museums and within walking distance of all major sights and attractions.turkeyarena.com There are plenty of hotels, self-catering apartments, and small, family-run hostels within 1Km of the Prado. The Madrid Tourist Card offers free entrance to the Prado, priority access with no queueing, and free entrance to more than 50 other Madrid museums, amongst a myriad of other free services (see link below). For a half-day excursion with English-speaking guide to the the Prado museum and Royal Palace, check out our Privately-Guided Tour. Practical Information Opening hours of the Prado Museum: - Tuesdays to Sundays and on Public Holidays: 9am to 8pm - 24th December, 31st December & 6th January: 9am to 2pm - no entrance is allowed from 30 minutes before closing time. - visitors must leave all galleries 10 minutes before closing time. - Museum closed on Mondays, 25th December, 1st January, Good Friday and 1st May.