The Royal Chapel or Capilla Real is the final resting place of the Catholic Monarchs Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon. It was built between 1506 and 1521 by Enrique Egas. The monument contains great artistic value as a great combination of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. It has great historical value and deep religious meaning due to the transformation of the City of Granada. It is located next to the Cathedral of Granada and in its original construction both were connected.
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History of the Royal chapel
Granada had a great importance for the Catholic Monarchs Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon. The conquest of Granada covered them in glories through their lives and they seemed fit to choose Granada and the Royal Chapel as their final resting place.
The building of the chapel did not take long. It was built between 1506 and 1521 under the supervision of master builder Enrique Egas. The building is of Isabelline style – a variation of Gothic that incorporates decorative motifs. The plan of the chapel is a single nave, four side chapels and shallow transepts leading to a presbytery and finally elegant ribbed vaulting.
Your visit will start at the Exchange. This is a building with an open façade and a coffered ceiling with octagonal shapes. There is a copy of the painting The Surrender of Granada by Francisco padilla. The Exchange was built in 1518 and it was mainly used for commerce.
The nave is covered with Gothic vaults and the walls are decorated with motifs with the coats of arms of the Catholic Monarchs. The nave leads to the different chapels and the original access to the Cathedral
- St. Ildefonso’s chapel – Contains a Ecce homo by Bernardo de Mora.
- Former access to Cathedral – Contains two sculptures: The Holy Family by Bernabé de Gaviria and St. John of Capistrano, by José de Mora.
- Holy Cross Chapel – Contains a rich Baroque altarpiece and wo busts of the Ecce Homo and the Dolorosa by José de Risueño.
The tombs and the transept
On the right there are the tombs of the Catholic Kings and on the left the tombs of Philip the Handsome and Joanna I. The sculpture was made in Italy using marble of Carrara. The most original features of this funerary beds are the edges with griffons and the inclusion of complex iconographic elements with mythology and Christianity.The Crypt is under the tombs. The coffins of Isabel and Ferdinand lie in the centre and Philip and Joanna rest at each side.
In the transept there are two Baroque altars and several relics belonging to Queen Isabel. On the left wall of the transept there is a copy of Descent from the Cross by Van der Weyden. On the left-hand altar there are portraits of the Catholic Monarchs, Philip and Joanna and on the right-hand altar, of Charles V and Empress Isabel and Philip IV and his wife Isabel de Borbón.
The main altarpiece
The altarpiece is constructed upon the steps of the presbytery. It is a great example of the artistic expression containing all the spirituality and symbolism of the Royal Chapel. it was made between 1520 and 1521 by Felipe Vigarny. Several other artists participated in the carving, moulding and painting. The altarpiece has a complex iconography on religious and political levels.
The altarpiece consists of 2 basement stages followed by 2 upper tiers divided into 5 vertical sections. In the centre there is Christ on the cross. Above the cross there is the Father and the Holy Spirit. In a smaller size there is the Virgin Mary and St. Gabriel. On the sides of the cross there are a two representations of the passion. There are two praying statues on the sides of the altarpiece representing Ferdinand and Isabel by Diego de Siloé. A lot of the imagery represents the conquest of Granada and the baptism of the “moriscos”.
The Sacristy-museum contains two Royal Warrants signed by Ferdinand and Isabel and by Emperor Charles. These made possible the creation of the Chapel. You can also find a collection of fabrics: Flags and standards of the Castilian army, a tapestry of the Crucifixion and a tunic belonging to Empress Isabel. There is also a collection of silver work and Isabel’s chest mirror, sceptre and crown, along with Ferdinand’s sword. Finally, the Sacristy contains a collection of religious paintings from the 15th Century on wooden panels made by Flemish, Italian and Spanish authors. The main piece in the Sacristy is the Passion altarpiece, made by Jacobo Florentino. It includes a triptych representing the Crucifixion, the Descent from the Cross and the Lord’s Resurrection. The altarpiece is completed by other works from different authors. On each side of the altarpiece you can find two praying statues of Ferdinand and Isabel.
Opening times Royal Chapel
|Monday – Saturday||From 10:15 to 13:30 and 16:00 to 19:30|
|Sunday||From 11:00 to 13:30 and 14:30 to 18:30|
Contact Phone: +34 958 22 78 48
Tickets Royal Chapel
You can buy tickets at the ticket office of the Royal Chapel or book a tour in advance.
|Children (under 12)||Free|
Tours to the Royal Chapel are combined with Cathedral of Granada and have a duration of 2h.
Accessibility Royal Chapel
Most of the visit to the Royal Chapel is accessible by wheelchair, there are ramps and lifts provided. There is however limited access to some points of the visit and big chairs might have trouble moving around.
The principal entrance to the Royal chapel has two steps, but wheelchair visitors can access the Royal Chapel via the entrance from the Cathedral of Granada.