Palacio District, Madrid
Once the site for important events such as bullfights, executions of heretics and proclamations of new kings, Plaza Mayor is now a lively central square. Here, tourists can find quaint restaurants and cafes.
Real Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales
Housed within a Renaissance style Palace, the Church and convent of the Descalzas Reales are a reflection of splendid 16th century architecture. The interior is also impressive.
Convento de la Encarnación
Juan Gómez de Mora, a pupil of Herrera and architect of the Plaza Mayor, was commissioned by Margaret of Austria, the consort of Philip III, to build the Augustinian Convento de la Encarnación, which originally adjoined the royal Alcázar with which it is connected by a long passageway (the foundation stone was laid in 1611, the consecration taking place in 1616). After a fire the church was rebuilt in 1767 by Ventura Rodríguez and its interior completely redesigned. Today the visitor is likely to be a astonished by the contrast between the simple unadorned facade, reminiscent of El Escorial and very characteristic of the Habsburg style of architecture, and the overcharged Baroque style of the interior. Since 1965 part of the convent has been turned into a museum and opened to the public. Apart from the many paintings from the 17th century and items of furniture, the collection of relics is of particular note.
Address: Plaza de la Encarnación 1, Spain
Within the Convento de la Encarnación, which has been open to the public since 1965, ten rooms can be visited. In the very first room the visitor finds himself in the austere and yet attractive atmosphere of a 17th C. convent. The paneled doors, the exposed beams of the ceiling and the portraits of Habsburg kings recall the world of Lope de Vegas comedias. A landscape by Peter van der Meulen, "Entrega en el Bidasoa", commemorates the marriage between Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III, and Louis XIII of France on an island in the Bidasoa (the river marking the frontier between France and Spain).
Pictures and Sculpture
The pictures on show include notable works by 17th C. Madrid artists including Juan Carreño, Bartolomé Román, Carducho and Antonio de Pereda. Works by leading religious sculptors of the 17th C. such as Gregorio Hernández (Fernández), José de Mora and Pedro de Mena represent this typically Spanish field of art.
The choir has stalls dating from the original foundation (end of 16th C.) and pictures by Bartolomé Roldán. The walls are faced with Talavera tiles.
San Francisco el Grande
The Church of San Francisco el Grande was built for an old-established Franciscan friary. The design for the church, which was begun in 1761, was produced by Fray Francisco Cabezas, who took as his model Carlo Fontana's Church of Santa Maria in Campitel in Rome. In 1770 Francisco Sabatini, Charles III's favorite architect, took over the direction of the project, and the Neo-Classical facade is his work. The dome was added in 1770 by Antonio Pló.The interior - on a circular plan, with a dome and six chapels - has paintings by Maella, Francisco Bayeu, González Velázquez and Goya. In the first chapel on the left are Goya's "San Bernardino", González Velázquez's "St Bonaventure" and "The Appearance of the Virgin to St Anthony". The church also contains numerous other works of art, including a "St Bonaventure" ascribed to Zurbarán, a "St Francis" by Alonso Cano and stalls from the Convent of El Paular.
Address: Plaza de San Francisco el Grande, E-28005 Madrid, Spain
Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande
Picture gallery with 18th and 19th C. paintings
Address: Plaza de San Francisco el Grande, E-28005 Madrid, Spain
San Francisco el Grande - Museum
The church museum displays a variety of religous art and artifacts.
Plaza de Oriente
The splendid Royal Palace in Madrid is beautifully designed with elements of Baroque and Rococo style. The facade of the Palace was inspired by designs originally prepared for the French Louvre.
Statue of Philip IV
Plaza del Ramal
Adjoining the Plaza de Oriente is the little Plaza del Ramal, with a cross marking the site of the Church of San Juan, in which Velázquez was buried.
Plaza de la Villa
Allegory of Madrid
Goya's "Allegory of Madrid" can be viewed at the Town Hall.
Torre de los Lujanes
Casa de Cisneros
The Casa de Cisneros, now connected with the Town Hall by a covered bridge, was built in 1537 by Benito Jiménez de Cisneros, nephew of the great Cardinal Cisneros who founded the University of Alcalá. Its main front, one of the few examples of Plateresque (Late Gothic) decoration in Madrid, faces the Calle de Sacramento. In 1590 Antonio Pérez fled from here to escape Philip II. The house was acquired by the city in 1909 and is now the official residence of the Mayor as well as housing a beautiful collection of tapestries.
Address: Plaza de la Villa 4, E-28005 Madrid, Spain
Address: Calle de Bailén 8-10, Spain
Address: Carlos III, E-28013 Madrid, Spain
The Monasterio de San Plácido, a convent of Benedictine nuns, is situated in one of the oldest parts of Madrid, to the north of the Gran Vía. It is one of a group of churches - San Antonio de los Alemanes, San Martin and the Immaculada Concepción - characteristic of the Late Baroque architecture of Madrid. San Plácido was founded in 1623 by Doña Teresa Valle de la Cerda, who became its first Abbess; the architect was Fray Lorenzo de San Nicolás, a native of Madrid.The church, which is excellently preserved, has the restrained simplicity characteristic of Madrid Baroque. The High Altar, with a large "Annunciation", was the work of Claudio Coello, who was also responsible for the two side-altars in the transepts, dedicated respectively to St Gertrude (right) and saints Scholastica and Benedict (left). Velázquez's famous "Christ on the Cross", now in the Prado, was painted for San Plácido.
The Palacio de Santa Cruz, now occupied by the Foreign Ministry (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores), was originally built in the 17th C. as a prison. Together with the Plaza Mayor and the Casa de la Villa it forms part of the "Government quarter" which grew up round the old Alcázar of the Habsburgs. This substantial and well-proportioned building, with two stories flanked by towers, is believed to have been designed either by Juan Bautista Crescenci or by Juan Gómez de Mora, the architect responsible for the Plaza Mayor. In 1786, during the reign of Charles III, the palace was converted into a Law Court by Juan de Villanueva; from 1834 to 1877 it was occupied by the Madrid courts; and since 1931 it has housed the Foreign Ministry.
Address: Calle de San Justo 4, E-28005 Madrid, Spain
The Church of San Pedro, known as San Pedro el Viejo (Old St Peter's), is situated in the oldest part of Madrid, the area round the Plaza Puerta Cerrada and Calle de Segovia. Its square brick tower, dating from the mid 14th C., is one of the few remnants of medieval architecture in Madrid. Typical features of the Mudéjar style of the Moorish builders working in Christian Spain are the use of red brick, the sparing decoration and the horseshoe arches taken over from Moorish architecture.The church itself was built in the 17th C. Like many churches in the older part of Madrid, it fell on evil days in later centuries; and a succession of robberies, most recently in 1936, reduced it to its present rather desolate condition.
Mercado de San Miguel
In the converted royal stables in the Campo del Moro behind the Palacio Real and opened in 1967 is a noteworthy collection of sedan-chairs and carriages. The entrance is situated on the Paseo Virgen del Puerto, the main section of a popular promenade for strollers in the 18th C. The oldest exhibit is Charles V's sedan chair, dating from the 16th C. and in the style of a covered traveling trunk. Also on display is the carriage of Juana la Loca, as well as some magnificent coaches used in the 19th C. by parliamentary representatives.
Address: Virgen del Puerto, E-28005 Madrid, Spain
Address: Calle de Alcalá 237, E-28028 Madrid, Spain
The Bullfighting Museum displays paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and posters on bullfighting, as well as costumes and historical items.
Address: Plaza de Toros de las Ventas, E-28028 Madrid, Spain
San Nicolás is Madrid's oldest church, though only the brick tower survives from the original structure - one of the few examples of Mudéjar architecture in the city. The horseshoe arches at the entrance to the choir and the stucco decoration are also in Mudéjar style.The reredos on the High Altar was the work of Juan de Herrera, the architect of the Escorial, who was buried in San Nicolás; his remains were later removed to his native town of Santander.
Address: Calle San Nicolás 1, Spain
Arco de Cuchilleros
Mayor and Arenal
These two streets have always been especially lively and popular shopping thoroughfares. Among the long-established firms there have traditionally been many textile and cloth dealers, jewelers and clockmakers and above all dealers in militaria, stamps and coins. More recently music shops have become established.
Convent of the Reparadoras
This Convent of the Reparadoras was designed in 1782 by Ventura Rodriguez and dates to about the 19th century. The church was built for the purpose of installing the Court of the Inquisition.
El Campo del Moro
Church of St Peter the Old
In the 15th century the Church of St Peter the Old was built with a 14th century mudejar tower built over the minaret of a former mosque.
Palace of the Marquis Grimaldi
The Palace of the Marquis Grimaldi was designed by Sabatini in 1776 and it adjoins the Senate Palace.
The current seat of the Spanish Senate, the Senate Palace was originally built in the 16th century for a community of Agustinian friars.
Casa de la Carnicería
Formerly a butcher shop, Casa de la Carnicería now houses municipal offices.
Convent of the Carboneras
The convent was built in 1607 and currently houses a collection of paintings.
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