The palace is a tourist attraction in its own right, but we were particularly interested because it also played an important role in the 1808 siege. Prior to the siege it contained a garrison and the military stores of the city. The civilian population rose against the pro French governor, captured the palace and the military stores.
This rather strict security guard seems to think today’s tourists might also be a threat to the security of the palace. He was determined to make each party form in small groups ready to be sent forward to the cash desk!
Jan, Les and Jen seem to be particularly unimpressed by the security guard and his orders
The palace has been rebuilt since the siege and is one of the most popular tourist attractions. It also seems to be popular with local art students. As students often do, they just spread out and take over the place.
We had a guide for the visit, which made it all much more interesting. She did not know much about the siege of 1808, but she did point out the floor at one end of this room. Apparently this had been the armoury for the French garrison. They loaded their muskets by banging the butt on the floor, causing much damage. At one end was a large cabinet where the muskets were locked up. This was the only section of the floor not damaged.
In one room there was a collection of black and white photographs taken in 1908, to celebrate the anniversary of the siege. This is the Puerta del Carmen gate which is now a roundabout and featured in the previous blog.