Capilla Real – Royal Chapel for Spain’s Catholic Monarchs:
Located next to Granada Cathedral is the Capilla Real or Royal Chapel. The Capilla Real houses the remains of the Catholic monarchs of Spain.
The Creation of Capilla Real
In September 1504, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand (referred to as the Catholic Monarchs) decided that Granada was to be their final resting place and signed a Royal Warrant for a royal chapel to be built. The monarchs were the main sponsors of the architecture and art in Christian Granada, so when it came to erecting a building for a tomb for royalty, the result was a masterpiece of Gothic art by Enrique de Egas. However, it was Carlos V who was determined to lavish wealth and distinction on his grandparents’ chapel.
As the Royal Chapel was not completed at the time of Queen Isabella’s death, her remains were temporarily placed in the Franciscan convent of the Alhambra and later moved to the Chapel. Similarly King Ferdinand’s remains were held at the Franciscan convent and later moved to the Royal Chapel Crypt. In addition to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand V of Aragon, the Royal Chapel also houses the remains of their daughter Juana and her husband Felipe el Hermoso and Prince Michael.
What to See at the Capilla Real
The royal mausoleums in Capilla Real include the marble figures of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and those of Juana and her husband Felipe. Under the tombs there is a small austere-looking crypt. Through a glass frame you can see the royal coffins.The Main Altarpiece is one of the first and biggest Plateresque altarpieces carved in Spain. The carvings reflect three themes: scenes of the life of Christ, St. John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist to whom Capilla Real is dedicated and iconography showing the Catholic Kings and their work.
In the next hall is the Sacristy Museum which has a rich collection of royal symbols, including the crown, the royal robes and a treasure chest. The last room before you exit the building has paintings from Flemish, Spanish and Italian artists.
To this day, commemoration prayers are said on the anniversary of the death King Ferdinand (January 23) and Queen Isabella (November 26). Capilla Real is a functioning church so no tourists are allowed when there is mass on (09:00 – 10:15 on weekdays and 09:00 – 10:45 on Sundays and public holidays.) Check their website before visiting.
Capilla Real de Canada
c/ Oficios, s/n. 18001 Granada
Tel: +34 958 227 848
Map of Granada: