Aranjuez is a town in the southern part of the Autonomous Community of Madrid in central Spain and lies 48 km south of the city of Madrid. It is located at the confluence of the Tagus and Jarama rivers. The municipality of Aranjuez has a population of 48,139 (February 2005), 23,545 are males and 24,594 are females. It is located 48 km from Toledo.
Aranjuez is known for the Palacio Real de Aranjuez, one of the Spanish royal sites, and its vast gardens.
The Tagus valley has been intensively farmed since medieval times and the strawberries of Aranjuez are famous throughout Spain. Internationally, Aranjuez has become known through the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo. Upon his death he was buried in the town's cemetery.
- 2002: 40,928
- 2004: 46,891
- 2005: 48,139
- May 2007: 52,873
Government and administration
The city of Aranjuez is divided into the following districts: Centro, Vergel, Olivas, Las Aves, Nuevo Aranjuez, Foso, Moreras and La Montaña. Since 2003, Aranjuez has been governed by Mayor Jesús Miguel Dionisio Ballesteros
, of the Socialist Party
The main pillars of the local economy are hotels
. Aranjuez has always been an attractive city for tourists
due to, among other reasons, to the Royal Palace
, the gardens
, the Tagus
river and the landscapes. In 2001 this city was designated as a World Heritage Cultural landscape
, and since then, tourism has kept on increasing. Much money was spent in order to beautify Aranjuez and many pubs and restaurants were opened (from 2001 to 2004 their number increased 22%). In 2005 a large casino
was opened in the city and in March 2008 the Tagus Hospital
Aranjuez is located on the fertile plain of the Tagus
river, and its soil is suitable for growing wheat
and other cereals
. There are also horticulture plantations
), both irrigated
and dry products, vines
, which are also typical of the neighbouring region of Castilla-La Mancha
The proximity to Madrid
and the good communications by road and rail made Aranjuez a suitable location for industry
, mechanical construction
refineries, and oil
In recent decades, the sugar refinery and the Agfa photographic factory have closed. Cortefiel, a garment company, plans to build a factory in Aranjuez in the next few years.
The majority of the industries are located to the west of the railway station or in the "Gonzalo Chacón" industrial park, in the south. The main existing industries are:
- Important roads:
- Railways (Renfe):
- Onda Aranjuez, 107.8 FM.
- Cadena Ser Aranjuez, 89.3 FM.
- Onda Cero Aranjuez, 90.7 FM.
- Radio Fuga, 92.1 FM.
- The city has always been connected to the Tagus river, with the result that there is a long tradition of water sports, such as canoeing or rowing. In the Olympic candidature of Madrid for the 2012 Olympics, which will be held finally in London, Aranjuez was the selected site for these sports. Anyhow, there are plans to continue the construction of the necessary sport facilities, which should be finished by 2010.
- Aranjuez has a football team, Real Aranjuez C.F., which plays in the Local Stadium, called "El Deleite".
- Nearby Ocaña has a skydiving and gliding centre at the Aerodrome, and most of the skydivers there base themselves in Aranjuez.
- There are several theories about the origin of the name. The most accepted one states that it comes from the Basque language. It is derived from Arantza (hawthorn in English), Aran (meaning valley or plum in English). The old name of the city was Aranz. During the Middle Ages, the city was known as Aranzueque or Arançuex until it became Aranjuez. Other theories say that it comes from Latin Ara Jovis or Ara Iovia, which means Jupiter's Altar, but currently the Pre-Roman name is preferred.
- Middle Ages: incorporation into Saint James' Order.
- Ferdinand and Isabella, the "Catholic kings", converted Aranjuez into a Royal Site. It has been the spring residence of the kings of Spain since the late 19th century.
- Philip II of Spain: Construction of the Royal Palace (Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera).
- 1752: During the kingdom of Ferdinand VI, the city of Aranjuez was born, as only people related to the monarch could live there up to that time.
- 1808: Mutiny of Aranjuez, by which Charles IV of Spain was forced to abdicate in favour of his son Ferdinand VII of Spain.
- 1851: Opening of the railway line between Madrid and Aranjuez, the so-called Strawberry Train. This was the second railway line in Spain, after that of Barcelona-Mataró (1848).
- 1939: Joaquín Rodrigo composes the Concierto de Aranjuez, which would make Aranjuez famous all over the world.
- 1983: Aranjuez is declared Conjunto Histórico Artístico, literally Historic Artistic Junction.
- 2001: UNESCO lists the Aranjuez Cultural Landscape as a World Heritage Site.
Notable people connected with Aranjuez
- Francisco de Asís of Bourbon, husband of queen Isabella II of Spain.
- Francisco Agustín Silvela, Minister of Gobernación and Gracia y Justicia. Vice-President of the Congress of Deputies and Magistrate of the Supreme Court.
- Santiago Rusiñol, painter.
- Joaquín Rodrigo, musician.
- Alicia Hermida, Spanish actress.
- Jose Luis Sampedro, writer.
- Juan Luis Mora Palacios, football player.
- Javier García Portillo, football player.
- Iván Sánchez-Rico Soto alias Riki, football player.
- Pato Clavet, tennis player.
- Ángel Parra (judo), judoka.
- Jesús Hernández, hockey player.
Monuments and places of interest
- Royal Palace.
- Isle Garden.
- Parterre Garden.
- Prince's Garden.
- Isabella II's Garden.
- House of Trades and Knights.
- House of Infantes and Atarfe.
- Pleasure craft Museum.
- Farmhand's House.
- Saint Anthony Square and Royal Chapel.
- House of Employees (currently Town Hall).
- Alpajes Church.
- Saint Pascual's Royal Convent.
- Old Saint Charles' Hospital (to be restored).
- Charles III's Royal Theatre (to be restored, currently in ruins).
- Supply Market.
- Plaza de Toros and Bullfighting Museum "Una Gran Fiesta".
- Medinaceli Palace.
- Governor's House (currently University of High Studies Centre Phillip II).
- Mother Queen's old garage, today cultural centre "Isabel de Farnesio".
- Typical corralas.
- Godoy and Osuna's Palaces.
- Silvela's Palace (also known as Bavaria's Palace).
- Centre of Interpretation of the Natural Reserve "El Regajal-Mar de Ontígola".
- Historical sotos.
- Royal Country Estate of Saint Isidro.
- In summer it is traditional to have dinner in the picnic areas next to the Tagus river. These places are called gangos, a Spanish word used only in Aranjuez.