The art of the Baroque style abounds in Spain and there are several buildings of this architectural style in Madrid. They are seen especially in surviving churches, which have become one of the most important tourist attractions and most visited during the year in Madrid. In this ShMadrid article, we will review some of the most beautiful Baroque churches in the city.
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Basílica San Miguel
Located next to the Archbishop’s Palace at Madrid de Los Austrias, this baroque Catholic basilica was built between 1739 and 1745 and was designed by the architect Santiago Bonavía. Declared a National Artistic Historical Monument in 1984 by Royal Decree, the San Miguel Basilica, set by the Plaza Mayor, is one of the most important Baroque buildings in Spain, despite its size. The unusual shape of the façade from its original plan and the Italian style makes it unique for its innovation at the time, contrasting with usual Baroque madrileño style. This temple opens its doors to the public from Monday to Friday from 9:45 to 13:30 and from 15:30 until 19:15, while weekends and holidays it opens from 9:45 to 14:15 and from 18:00 to 21:15.
Address: Calle de San Justo, 4; Opera House on Lines 2 and 5 via Metro
Church of Our Lady of Montserrat
Founded by King Felipe IV to welcome the Castilian monks from the monastery of Montserrat in Barcelona, this Baroque church was built between 1668 and 1740. The Church of Our Lady of Montserrat has some important works of art, among which include a large canvas from the eighteenth century of the titular Virgin, attributed to the artist Manuel Pereira. The facade of this church is considered to be the most complex and elaborate in the local Baroque style. This church, located in the neighborhood of Conde Duque, was built on being the largest and most majestic in Madrid, but it was only finished halfway without its planned large dome or second tower; only one was completed. After the ecclesiastical confiscations of Mendizábal in 1836, the church was converted into a women’s prison and then a dance hall before the Benedictines got it back in 1914. Still, it is one of the most important Baroque churches in the city and one of the most beautiful aesthetically speaking.
Address: Calle San Bernardo, 79; San Bernardo stop, Lines 2 and 4 of the Metro
Church of San José
Built between 1730 and 1748 by the architects Pedro de Ribera, José de Arredondo, and Fausto Manso, the Church of San José is a typical church of the Baroque style and was built on a Latin cross floor. In 1912, architect Juan Moya was commissioned to enlarge the original facade, extending the limafronte to the sides, as well as raising the height of the church. The free visiting times to the Church of San José are from Monday to Friday from 7:00 to 13:00 and from 18:00 to 21:00, on Saturdays from 9:30 to 13:00 and from 18:00 to 21:00, and on Sundays from 9:30 to 14:00 and 15:30 to 21:00. This church is located in the center of Madrid near Retiro Park.
Address: Calle de Alcalá, 43; Banco de España on Line 2 via Metro
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This Catholic church of the Franciscan Order is another beautiful Baroque church in Madrid. Located in the historical center of the city in the neighborhood of La Latina, the Royal Basilica of San Francisco El Grande replaced the medieval Franciscan monastery that stood in the 13th century and stands out above all for its large dome, considered the third largest circular plant, and its ostentatious interior. The dome itself is 108 ft in diameter and 190 feet in height. Listed as a Spanish Property of Cultural Interest in 1980, for €3, one may enter and marvel at its artful renderings on the dome and along the walls of this stunning church.
Address: Calle San Buenaventura, 1; Puerta de Toledo stop on Line 5 of Metro
If you are passionate about architecture and history, you can not miss these beautiful baroque churches.