Aranjuez, Spain

General Information

Regional secretariat

Administrative status

City of the Community of Madrid

Aranjuez Cultural Landscape

Registration Year


Historical function

Landscape architecture and multiculturalism

Location and site

The Aranjuez cultural landscape is an entity of complex relationships: between nature and human activity, between sinuous watercourses and geometric landscape design, between the rural and the urban, and between forest landscape and the delicately modulated architecture of its palatial buildings. Three hundred years of royal attention to the development and care of this landscape have seen it express an evolution of concepts from humanism and political centralization, to characteristics such as those found in its 18th century French-style Baroque garden, to the urban lifestyle which developed alongside the sciences of plant acclimatization and stock-breeding during the Age of Enlightenment.

Urban Morphology

The Aranjuez Cultural Landscape is a singular entity of complex and historic relationships between nature and human activity, the sinuous watercourses of the rivers and the geometrical design of the landscape, urban and rural life, and between the forest wildlife and the refined architecture. The Tagus and Jarama rivers are the two main arteries of the Aranjuez Cultural Landscape, an extensive area (2,047.56 ha) in the south of the Autonomous Community of Madrid. The surrounding buffer zone is located within the municipal boundaries of Aranjuez (16,604.56 ha).

The property comprises diverse elements that make up the different zones: historic vegetable gardens, tree-lined avenues and groves (Legamarejo, Picotajo, El Rebollo), the Palace and ornamental gardens (the Prince’s, the Island, the Parterre, the King’s and Isabella II’s gardens) and the 18th century historic town center. The conceptual combination of these zones creates a series of landscapes that, together, comprise the Aranjuez Cultural Landscape. These include the water landscape (rivers, ponds, dams, and ditches), the agricultural landscape (orchards and nurseries, stock-breeding farms, and meadows), the delectable landscape for leisure (ornamental gardens), the ordered landscape (the geometry of the streets and squares that shape the natural terrain), and the constructed landscape (the palace, the planned town, the roads, and agricultural buildings).

Registration Criteria

Criterion (ii): Aranjuez represents the coming together of diverse cultural influences to create a cultural landscape that had a formative influence on further developments in this field.

Criterion (iv): The complex designed cultural landscape of Aranjuez, derived from a variety of sources, marks a seminal stage in the development of landscape design.

Historical Reference

  • Aranjuez bears witness to various cultural exchanges over a span of time that had a significant influence on the development of its landmarks and the creation of its landscape, thereby becoming a model for its culture’s use of its territory.
  • The process of transformation dates back to the reign of Philip II when, with the influence of the Crown and the wealth of nature as the determining elements, Aranjuez was established as a Real Sitio (Royal Site) in the sixteenth century. The Royal Commands of Ferdinand VI, Charles II, and Isabella II marked its evolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • This landscape survived during the 20th century when it was opened for the enjoyment of the public.





D. Miguel Gómez Herrero

Alcalde Presidente
Ayuntamiento de Aranjuez

calle STUART, 91
Aranjuez, Madrid, España

[email protected]

Sra. María Magdalena Merlos Romero

Responsable técnico del Área de Patrimonio Histórico
Ayuntamiento de Aranjuez

calle STUART, 91
Aranjuez, Madrid, España

[email protected]