Visit the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande in Madrid

One of the most beautiful religious temples in Madrid is undoubtedly the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, a neoclassical-style building that was built in the 18th century.

But it has not always been a religious temple, since it has had different uses throughout its history, such as a hospital in the time of José Bonaparte.

It has also been the National Pantheon housing the remains of Quevedo or Calderón de la Barca, among others. In 1926 it was used again for Catholic worship and Pope John XXIII declared it a minor basilica in 1962.

What to see in the Basilica of Saint Francis the Great

The third largest circular dome in Christendom

Madrid - Basilica San Francisco el GrandeFrom the exterior of the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, the element that we must highlight is an immense and spectacular dome.

It is 58 meters high and 33 meters in diameter and is considered the third largest circular dome in the Christian world.

It is second only to St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and the Pantheon in Rome.

Once we have admired its dome, it is time to admire its main façade. It is a spectacular and very peculiar convex façade, the work of the architect Sabatini.

On the pediment we can find the Jerusalem cross as well as 4 pillars crowned by statues. The 2 towers that crown the façade are also very interesting.

What to see inside San Francisco el Grande

Madrid - Basilica San Francisco el GrandeIf the exterior with its dome is spectacular, its interior no longer has words to describe since both the Main Chapel and the side chapels are really beautiful.

From the Main Chapel we can highlight the 5 wall paintings that are between 4 golden pillars.

The paintings are dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi and we also find 4 statues on black marble pedestals that represent the evangelists.

On the sides we can see 6 chapels. Each of them, which is located behind an iron gate, is crowned by a small dome.

Of the chapels, the ones that we must highlight are the Chapel of San Antonio where a great masterpiece by Maella, the Immaculate Conception, and the Chapel of San Bernardino, in which the Preaching of San Bernardino de Siena before Alfonso V is found. of Aragon, one of the great masterpieces of Francisco de Goya.

The Renaissance stalls, the choir and the museum of the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande are also other places of interest that we must visit. In the museum there are interesting works of Italian and Spanish baroque.

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