Naval Museum

The Naval Museum is located at the Paseo del Prado, 5. To enter the museum, Spanish citizens need to show their DNI, the national id card. Foreigners need to show their passports. The numbers are written on the log by the guards. The reason for this is that the museum is located in a government building and this is the standard procedure.

The Naval Museum is a national museum that describes the maritime history of Spain and to safeguard its traditions. In 1792 Antonio Valdes, the Secretary of the Navy, tried to start this type of museum in Cadiz, but national politics at that time prevented his effort. However in 1843 the Naval Museum was started in Madrid and used different sites before arriving at the present site in 1932.

There are 24 salons that show the maritime history of Spain, starting with the reign of the Catholic Kings until the present. In the first salon there are large portraits of King Alfonso XIII and his wife Maria Cristina. There is also a large painting called “First Tribute to Columbus”, painted in 1892 by Jose Santiago Garnelo y Alda. There are many scale models of famous ships, sculptures used in the prows of ships, maps, navigational instruments, astronomical instruments, naval uniforms, descriptions of Spanish naval expeditions from the 15th to the 18th centuries, and two models of captain’s rooms found on navy ships. There are a total of 10,700 museum pieces.

The most important piece is a map and letter constructed by Juan de la Cosa in 1500 showing the American continent. There is also a flag used by King Jose I (brother of Napoleon) from his regiment in Malaga, and this is the only flag of this king in existence in Spain because the Courts of Cadiz ordered in 1812 that all the flags of this king be destroyed. Jose I was hated by the Spanish and caused much destruction throughout Spain with his troops, before they were thrown during the War of Independence. There is a scale model of the ship Real Carlos that was constructed in 1766. The original ship was constructed by the naval engineer Mateo Mullan and became the model for future ships of the Spanish Armada. This museum is one of the best military museums in Spain.