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GRANADA ROYAL CHAPEL - History

GRANADA ROYAL CHAPEL - c/ Oficios, s/n. 18001. Granada.

The Catholic kings decided on September 13th 1504 that when they died they should be buried in Granada. For this reason, they built the Royal Chapel. This new royal burial building had to be constructed, decorated and furnished, also they had to create an institution and provide it with sufficient resources. All these aspects had to have the legal guarantees for their conservation. The Royal Chapel built in Gothic style during 1505 and 1517 is also dedicated to the Saints “Juan”, “Bautista” and “Evangelista”.

The story of this chapel is a reflection of the great history of Spain, historical place for the Church and a mirror of the artistic and cultural evolution. The building was built in a Gothic style between 1505 and 1517. One year before the construction was started, the Queen died, and the King died one year before it was finished. During this period, the institution of the Royal Chapel already existed, with twelve chaplains and a Major Chaplain. The Chapel received the precious legacy of the Founder Kings: paintings, relics, books, tapestries and textiles, ornaments and liturgical cups.

The 16th century was the period of maximum splendour of the Royal Chapel, divided into three stages: the “birth” and creation of the chapel while the Queen was still alive, and its construction during the last years of the King’s life. The mediaeval spirit was in the air, and the moderation of the building and the whole Institution was notable, emphasized by the desire of the Queen who wanted to be buried <>. With the Emperor Carlos I it continued flourishing. The temple was adorned and the Institution was exalted. It was the burial of a dynasty, the beginning of the Renaissance and an example of the grandeur of the historic gest.

It finished with “Felipe II”: the legacy was maintained and affirmed, but it lost importance. The “Escorial” and “Simancas” were the future projects, and by order of the King, some of the royal remains as well as the rich library of the Chapel were taken to these new places. The first fifty years of the 17th century did not mean any change in the Chapel and there were signs of a decline which lasted all through the second half of this century and the first half of the 18th century. When we see the Chapel today, we find new treasures of those two periods. The temple was adorned according to the Baroque style, and to the artistic changes we have to add the important economical crisis that the Institution suffered, with constant reductions in the personnel, not only of chaplains but also of the staff of the chapel.

Towards the mid 18th century the Chapel receives a new impulse. “Fernando VI” wanted to recuperate the original meaning of the Foundation with which he identified himself. For this purpose, he ordered: <>

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