The Royal Glass Factory in La Granja is just down the road from the Paradore. It dates from the 18th century and it is absolutely fascinating – do visit if you are in the area.
The factory was set up in 1727 to manufacture items for the Royal Palaces and residences. Expert glassblowers came from France, Germany and Norway to work in the factory. They produced huge and magnificent mirrors, chandeliers, luxury tableware and utilitarian items. La Granja provided ample supplies of wood, raw materials and water.
In 1833 the factory closed down and the building was rented out until 1972. In 1982 the National Glass Centre Foundation was set up, with a museum, glass school and a production centre for traditional items. And of course it is a tourist attraction.
The process in the glassblowing workshop
There are daily glassmaking demonstrations at the factory. It was fascinating to watch but we did also notice the mainly bare arms, unprotected feet, and wonky seats and steps. Glassblowing is done at temperatures between 800C and 1000C and so it was rather scary to watch – Health and Safety Regs in the UK would have been horrified!
Engraving and polishing workshop
Another fascinating part of the building, and the process!
In the shop
The small shop offers various items for sale. I loved the delicate leaf engravings on the glasses! Now I proudly own a La Granja whisky glass which is reserved for Talisker!
The Royal Glass Factory in La Granja is fascinating, and scary but a must-visit if you are in the area.