Royal chapel of Granada



Granada Only offers you an exciting trip to the 16th century, to get to know some of our history’s characters in depth, such as Isabel, Queen of Castile and Fernando, King of Aragon.

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In this article, I give you part of the wonderful history of this royal building: the funerary chapel of the Catholic Monarchs.

Read it and write down your comments and impressions, they will help us improve day by day.


I would like to start by mentioning that this building is a royal foundation of the Catholic Monarchs, therefore the name of the Royal Chapel.

Above I have provided the link to the official website of the building.

Through the link  you have access to all the schedules, prices, additional wonderful information about the building, its architecture, its architect, its sculptures, its wonderful paintings and also, a wonderful photographic repertoire.


The Royal Chapel is a funeral chapel built in the early sixteenth century and shows us one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in Granada.

Also known as Elizabethan Gothic.

Within it we find the coffins of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile.

And also rest, the remains of one of her daughters, the famous Juana de Castilla.

And her husband Felipe of Austria, better known as Joan the mad and Philippe the handsome.

A lot has been written about the Catholic Queen, of whom Granada Only has been thoroughly learning about to offer the visitors a proper and backed up vision adjusted to the reality of their personality and the time they had to live.

The Royal Chapel access is through the old market, then, we enter the fabulous Gothic chapel, with a single nave and a Latin cross plan.

And, this old market was an important place of commerce and transaction, since the Alcaicería, souk or muslim market, was close.

In the Muslim era, the market was vast.

And its most sought-after product was silk, of excellent quality and for which significant sums were paid, leaving much-needed dividends.


As I have indicated, the alcaicería was the Muslim silk market in Granada.

Many merchants, especially Genoese and Catalans came attracted by the quality of their silk to do business with it, since it was considered one of the best in the world.

A great visionary was the Granada sultan Yusuf I who created this business in the city, which will feed many subsequent generations.

And a sultan who will create a network of accommodation for merchants, such as the Corral del Carbon, which today is the caravanserai best preserved in Spain.

With the large dividends of the prosperous silk, large buildings can be made, such as the Comares Palace in the Alhambra in Granada. 

And other buildings were built such us the Madraza al-Yusufiyya or Muslim university, a building that is next to the entrance of the Royal Chapel.


The nave of the church is closed by a magnificent iron gate decorated on both sides, a work of Bartolomé de Jaén.

After making the gate, the master Bartolomé has lost his sight, since this artisian work seriously damaged his eyes, becoming blind.

This wonderful gate separates the public space from the private one, where the gleaming mausoleums of white Italian Carrara marble appear.

The one of the Catholic Monarchs appears to our right, and was made by the Italian artist Domenico Alexandre Fancelli.

And, the one on the right is Juana de Castilla and her husband Felipe de Austria, made by the Spanish Bartolomé Ordoñez.

Both cenotaphs are full of allegories and characters that refer to the virtues and qualities of monarchs.

The twelve apostles, the holy doctors of the church, and the seven liberal arts, as well as many other allegories are represented on these tombs.


The most important parts inside the temple are the main fence, the mail altar and the crypt where the coffins are found.

The stairs behind the mausoleums lead us to the sober crypt, since the will of Queen Elizabeth was to be buried with all the Franciscan austerity.

And where the five sarcophagus are shown to us: the Catholic Monarchs in the center and surrounding them Joan of Castile and Philipe of Austria, and the infant Miguel who died at the young age of two.


The magnificent altarpiece is by Felipe de Vigarny, a wonderful example of polychrome wood.

It shows in its central area the two patron saints of the Royal Chapel, Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, in different episodes of their lives and martyrdoms, along with a set of evangelists, parents of the Catholic Church and in the auction, the climax, the crucifixion of Jesus.

The altarpiece has a political as well as a religious message, since the presence of the two Holy Johns also represents the union of the crowns of Castile and Aragon.

Juan, John has always been a name linked to the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel’s father was John II de Castile, Fernando’s father was John II de Aragón, the only male child they have will be called Juan and their third daughter, Juana.

A very symbolic name in their corresponding reigns.


We end our visit with the sacristy-museum, which houses an excellent collection of objects belonging to Queen Elizabeth.

Such as her austere silver crown, scepter, jeweler, missal and her hand-held hope, converted into custody.

For me, the most fascinating part is the second section of the sacristy, which has a collection of priceless paintings, which are the famous oil paintings on board that Queen Elizabeth donated for the Royal Chapel, highlighting painters of the stature of Van der Weyden and Hans Memling.

The most valued section is the Flemish paintings although we have a discreet Spanish and Italian selection, where is the famous Praying in the Orchyard  by Sandro Boticelli can be found.

That is way, in this section we will tell you many secrets of pigments, how they were obtained, where they came from and where they were used, which is one of the wonderful mysteries of these works of art.

If you want to know more about the life of Queen Elizabeth, her misfortunes, sufferings, achievements and misadventures, along with the historical context of this golden age in Granada, Granada Only offers you her tour in the Royal Chapel.

Do not hesitate, come with us and Granada Only will make you discover a different and unknown history.

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