Palacio de Cristal, Madrid Built in 1887 by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco after the Crystal Palace in London, it was initially used to house exotic plants brought over from the Philippines. It is now mainly used for temporary exhibitions. Nearby is another pavilion, the Palacio de Velázquez, designed in 1884 by the same architect. Now also used Palacio de Velázquezfor temporary exhibitions, it originally served as a pavilion for the national exhibition of the mining, metal, glass and ceramics industry. The Palacio de Cristal, in the shape of a Greek cross, is made almost entirely of glass set in an iron framework on a brick base, which is decorated with ceramics. Its domed roofs makes the structure over 22 metres high. The glass palace was created in 1887 to house exotic flora and fauna as part of an exhibition on the Philippines, which was then still a Spanish colony. The exhibition spilled out into the park itself, and included a reconstruction of a native Philippino village.turkeyarena.com The palace is used today for contemporary art exhibitions organised through the Reina Sofia Museum. In front of the entrance to the palace are steps leading down into the large artificial lake of the Retiro Park. The lake contains ducks. geese, black swans and terrapins, who will swim close to the steps, or you can hire boats on the lake for a closer view.