Iglesia de las Calatravas - Madrid, Spain
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 40° 25.089 W 003° 41.937
30T E 440703 N 4474403
Quick Description: The Iglesia de las Calatravas is a Catholic church and a Cultural Heritage site in Madrid, Spain.
Location: Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
Date Posted: 2/24/2013 5:28:17 PM
Waymark Code: WMGF4M
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member razalas
Views: 1

Long Description:
"The church now known as the Calatravas is a Catholic church located in Madrid (Spain). It is the only remaining part of the former Royal Convent of the Conception of the nuns Comendadoras the Order of Calatrava, located at the beginning of one of the most important roads in Madrid, Alcala Street, a short walk from the Puerta del Sol.

This privileged location, coupled with the sponsorship of royalty and important personalities, the convent became one of the largest in the capital, following its establishment in the same in the seventeenth century, which is why the present church preserves a rich artistic heritage.


The history of the convent is inseparably linked to that of the Military Order of Calatrava, founded in the twelfth century to defend the Christian possessions southern peninsula Muslim attacks as part of the Reconquista.

Military orders, despite their warrior, masculine, feminine equivalents were soon, monastic character, in order to host the monasteries to the wives and daughters of those who were away at war, and the vocation to help through prayer and penance to the mission of the Christian knights. Thus arose the religious Comendadoras Calatrava, as female branch of the Order of the same name. By its nature, the convents of Comendadoras ultimately became prestigious schools for daughters of the nobility, and thus favored by potentates of all kinds.

Nuns of Calatrava had occupied Madrid first a convent in Almonacid de Zorita (Guadalajara), locality closely linked to the history of the Order, but in 1623 , seeking closeness of the Court, the house moved to the capital by order of Felipe IV. The buildings of the convent and church were built at that time, soon becoming one of the most popular religious centers and popular in Madrid. As narrated by journalist Ricardo Sepúlveda in the Spanish and American Illustration in 1888:

The convent Calatravas (for so they call the people), was soon a palace of the Court, if not a sumptuous of greatness, which were discussed in chapters of Knights, the affairs of the Order and were resolved secular issues that had more to do with the intrigues of the people that religion needs. The parlor became the first hall of the Court, and the first ladies Calatravas knew fine manners receive with your friends. The deal was honest and aristocratic. It smelled of incense and clothes clean, without losing touch of the perfumes of the noble houses.

All this splendor lasted only two centuries. During the Democratic Presidential term (1868 - 1874), was proposed demolish convent and church, since from the confiscation of Mendizabal (1836) most religious houses were left empty. Finally, although the convent building was destroyed, it was decided to retain the church, it seems that through the intervention of Manuel Silvela, although confusing headlines about this episode, because there are some who attributed the action to the Duchess of Prim or even a military knight of the Order, who commanded halt the demolition. Despite the romantic content of the other versions, there is only reliable record of the session of Parliament dated March 9, 1870 in which, after a bitter debate, Manuel Silvela government managed to get the resolution to respect the church.

The truth is that in this way, they managed to save one of the most important Baroque churches of Madrid seventeenth century, although, after the disappearance of the adjacent convent, the building was stuffed into a cluster of buildings that break after aesthetic harmony outside.

Converted convent church and parish, as luck would have not suffered too the vicissitudes of the Civil War, preserving almost intact inside. However, the lack of maintenance and institutional neglect led to the monument to a state of serious decline during the last decades of the twentieth century. Finally, recently launched the XXI century, was undertaken an ambitious program that included the intervention both on the outside of the building (renovation of roofs, facade cleaning and restoration of the original plaster) and in the interior, which was completely restored.

Currently, the church is open to visitors after hours liturgical celebrations.

The building

The church responds to the type of Spanish baroque convent, characterized by simplicity and decorative volumetric. It seems that the traces were the work of Fray Lorenzo de San Nicolas, one of the leading architects of the seventeenth century baroque courtier. The building was conceived as part of a group of buildings, highlighting the same volumes of the dome and the cruise, this little ledge. The destruction of the adjoining rooms has deprived us of a comprehensive reading of the building, and so the church today appears dwarfed and almost overturned by the environment, far from the original design which was expected to stand out powerfully in the dome Alcalá Street perspective, as shown by some old photographs.

In plan, the building presents a compromise solution between the basilica and the central plan. This is because the transept is greatly developed in width (though hardly trasdose abroad) and height (by the prominent presence of the dome), thus dominating the interior, which is organized according to the scheme of craft transept and chapels. A notable preference for military orders centralized spaces, perhaps as demand or need for certain rites or ceremonies on record, as the investiture of new Knights. Exterior

It is clear the influence of escurialenses models in general sobriety of the building outside the original severity, broken only by simple moldings and decorative plating, was radically transformed in the nineteenth century, when King Consort Francis sent decorate the entire outside the church to fashion romantic, according to designs by the architect Juan de Madrazo y Kuntz. Thus, the main facade to the street recayente Alcalá, today an ornate appearance, with pilasters agrutescadas, scallops, padding, graffiti, and a curious tenantes entablature with taps, all style neoplateresque so shocking contrast with the architecture. Very striking is also the crimson plaster covering the walls, spare after the last resetting. Omnipresent both the exterior and interior of the church shows the Cross of Calatrava , very visible in the rosette that crowns the entrance, it formed a round arch flanked by pilasters grutestos very flat, finishing the set with a niche statue of the Virgin."

-- Source (English translation by Google)

Bien:: Iglesia de las Calatravas

Comunidad Autónoma:: C. Madrid

Provincia:: Madrid

Municipio:: Madrid

Categoría:: Monumento

Website with information about the BIC:: [Web Link]

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