Royal Factory of San Ildefonso's Crystals / Museum of the Glass
All year: Tues-Sat: 10 to 18. Sun and hol: 10 to 15. Mon: closed.
Groups must book by telephone.
To see the craftsmen working the glass:
Tues-Friday: 10 to 14.30. Sat: 11 to 14 / 16 to 18. Sun and hol: 11 to 15. Mon: closed.
Nowadays it goes under the name of centro nacional del vidrio (national glass centre). It is a grandiose rectangular building which in its interior contains a host of buildings of clean and sombre lines, a characteristic of 18th century architecture.
This building was erected in 1770 by Carlos III, following the plans of the royal maestro José Díaz Gamones, with contributions from the architect Juan de Villanueva, the walls and the factory are built with granite masonry work and the vaults and domes of brick. The Nave de Hornos (Oven Room) with two domes on triangular supports and open ended arches, is noteworthy.
The products created here, such as oil lamps, chandeliers, hanging objects and even optical products, are known the world over.
-Glass from the Farm, 18th and 19th centuries:
Several rooms make up this exhibition, which has more than 350 pieces of different types and decorations.
-European glass, 16th to 19th centuries:
Collection of European bottles and containers, some with an identification seal of the proprietor, the manufacturer or the merchant, with some contributions from other continents, destined for all different types of uses.
-Contempory artistic glass:
Glass pieces carried out by artists from our times, using different creative and technical conceptions with work by creators from other countries.
Exhibitions on historic and contemporary glass from different countries and cultures are organised.
Pieces from laboratories and chemists, in varied forms designed for a whole host of uses are on show.
The Nave de Hornos and the Central Patio contain a technological exhibition. There are three concepts: the shape, the material and the use.
Different types of machinery from the 18th to 20th centuries, instruments, raw materials, materials, pieces and casts can be seen in varied stages and when transformed into glass. In the Pirámide de Cristal of the Cúpula Oeste there is a sample of the historic casts which complete the collection
In the interior there are triangular mirrors, in the centre there is an historic amphora of the Real Fábrica.
-Ovens workshops audiovisual:
The craftsmen and glassmakers can be seen at work in the ovens and workshops. In the audiovisual room films are shown about different themes related to the world of glass.
Standard: 3 Euros; Reduced (students, over 65s and groups over 15 pers.): 1.8 Euros; Children under 10: Free.