Royal Chapel of Granada

Royal Chapel of Granada

The Royal Chapel of Granada (Spanish: Capilla Real de Granada) is a Isabelline style building located in the heart of Granada (in Andalusia, Spain), next to the Cathedral. There are buried the Catholic Monarchs, their daughter Joanna of Castile "the Mad" and her husband, Philip I of Castile "the Handsome".


The Nasrid dynasty of Granada was the last Moorish dominion of Al-Andalus to fall in the Reconquista (Reconquest). It occurred in 1492 during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs, with the city an important step in their successful reign. On September 13, 1504, they decided they wanted their remains to be taken to Granada, and for this purpose a Royal Warrant was issued at Medina del Campo, Castile-León, for a Royal Chapel to be built.

The Catholic Monarchs chosen as burial site, Granada, created by Royal decree dated September 13 of 1504, the Royal Chapel. It was built between 1505 and 1517 in Isabelline Gothic style and dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.

Construction began in the year 1505 by Enrique Egas in Gothic. They were involved in its construction also Juan Gil de Hontañón, Juan de Badajoz the Elder and Lorenzo Vázquez de Segovia.

Privilege Charter of the Catholic Monarchs: "First we ordain that in the Cathedral of the city of Granada it made an honest chapel in which are, when the will of Our Lord be, our bodies buried. This chapel will be called of the Kings under the invocation of Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist".

Testament of King Ferdinand II: "And therefore we want that our bones are there forever, which must also be buried those of the bliss most serene lady to, together, them praise and bless her holy name."[1]

The 16th century is the century of the fullness of the Royal Chapel; in it there are three steps: Its birthwith the creation in life of the Queen and the construction in life of the King. the medieval spirit breathes, highlighting the sobriety of the building and the entire institution underlined by the desire of the Queen who wanted to be buried "dressed in the habit of the blessed poor of Jesus Christ Saint Francis." Continues to flourish with the Emperor Carlos I. The temple is decorated, the institution is enhanced.

The late 18th and early 19th century brings new embarrassments to the institution. They are linked to political changes, economic difficulties and the profound change in church-state relations. The liberal regime ended with the Patronage regime and the original foundations of the institution becomes a fully ecclesiastical entity.

Some stability brought the Concordat of 1851 which was followed by a Royal decree of reorganization of the Royal Chapels. Isabel II, who visited the Chapel in 1862, promotes a new organization. With the Restoration a new balance is achieved, is manifested from the years of the fourth centenary of the capitulation of Granada and the discovery of America. Are as a result of this period the first scientific publications on the Chapel and its art collection.

19th-century drawings of the Royal Chapel of Granada

In the 20th century grows the historical and artistic, archival and musical interest in the Chapel. The capitulate museum was created by Royal decree in the year 1913. With the development of the tourism in Spain in the second half of 20th century it became one of the centers of tourist attraction of the city of Granada. Recently there has been a restoration with the collaboration of the Ministry of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía and the Foundation Caja Madrid, along with other public and private contributions.

Artistic description

The exterior of the chapel follows the same model as the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes. It has side chapels, a nave in Gothic ribbed vault. The choir is to feet with centered arch and sotochoir.

On the way to the presbytery it is created a luminous effect preconceived as idea to symbolize the sun and the light with the justice (Alberti-Neo-Platonic sense). There is a hierarchy of the transept dedicated to mausoleum separated by a monumental decorated fence forged by Master Bartolomé.

In the center of the transept the tombs of Isabella and Ferdinand by Domenico Francelli and Joanna and Philip made by Bartolomé Ordoñez. The graves are high and marked priority and almost at the height of the tabernacle (symbolizes the closeness of the kings to God).


Tomb of the Catholic Monarchs, Royal Chapel of Granada, made in 1517 by Domenico Fancelli.

Can be seen in the Royal Chapel the graves of:

The tomb is work by Domenico Fancelli.

In another tomb, work by Bartolomé Ordóñez, are represented:

In the crypt is also the sarcophagus of the infante Miguel da Paz, Prince of Portugal, grandson of the Catholic Monarchs, dead child.

The most important parts inside the temple are its main altar, the main fence and the crypt with the five lead coffins containing the remains of kings and the little infante, each recognizable by the initial of their names. However, since it still dedicated to Catholic worship, at certain times can not be visited by tourists.

It can also visit the Sacristy-Museum, with the legacy of the Catholic Monarchs. Highlights its gallery of paintings with works of the Flemish, Italian and Spanish schools, with paintings by authors like Juan de Flandes and Hans Memling as well as a rare example by Sandro Botticelli (Agony in the Garden) and other 15th century painters like Rogier van der Weyden, Dirk Bouts, Perugino and Bartolomé Bermejo. There's goldsmith, as the crown and the scepter of the Catholic Monarchs; tissues and books of the Queen.

In the angle between the Royal Chapel with the Sagrario it was constructed in the year 1518, the Lonja, dedicated to banking and commerce. It has recently been restored and can be visited, both for its architectural interest (the facade, the coffereds) as objects exposed inside (paintings, furniture).

Chapel Masters

Since its founding and for centuries, the Royal Chapel had masters who were in charge of the composing of music for liturgical functions, and direction of all matters relating to its interpretation. Between the functions of these musicians also found the education of the voices of the infantillos (or sixes) and care of the archive. To access to charge, applicants had to submit a public competition with ordeals of composition and musical knowledge, the result could only be the granting of the charges to genuine artists. Among the files that make up the music catalog of this institution stand out for their number and their extraordinary chronological extension, the corresponding to the work of Antonio Cavallero, who was appointed to the charge in 1757, replacing Pedro Furió and officially it leaves to die around 1822, closing an interesting relationship of tenured masters.

Other notable chapel masters of the Royal Chapel included:



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Coordinates: 37°10′33.55″N 3°35′56.53″W / 37.1759861°N 3.5990361°W / 37.1759861; -3.5990361

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