Sacra Capilla del Salvador

Top choice in Andalucía

This famous chapel, built between 1536 and 1559, is the flagship of Úbeda Renaissance architecture. Commissioned by Francisco de los Cobos y Molina as his family's funerary chapel, it presents a marked contrast between the relatively sober proportions of the interior (by Diego de Siloé, architect of Granada's cathedral) and the more decorative western facade. The facade, a pre-eminent example of plateresque style, was designed by Andrés de Vandelvira, one of Siloé's stonemasons, who took over the project in 1540.

The chapel thus represents the first architectural commission obtained by Vandelvira, who went on to endow Úbeda, Baeza and Jaén with most of their outstanding Renaissance buildings. He worked in tandem with the French sculptor Esteban Jamete, who carved an orgy of classical sculpture depicting Greek gods on the underside of the facade arch, and scattered numerous skulls among the facade's decoration in a reminder that the building is a funerary chapel. Classical figures are also prominent in the sacristy (accessed from the northeast corner of the interior), another Vandelvira creation, but are absent from the main body of the chapel – where the Capilla Mayor sits beneath a stately dome painted in gold, blue and red, and features a grand 1560s altarpiece sculpture of the transfiguration by Alonso de Berruguete.

The Cobos family tombs lie beneath the floor of the chapel and aren't open to visitors. The chapel is still privately owned by the Seville-based Medinaceli ducal family, descendants of the Cobos. The audio guide is full of interesting information and anecdotes and well worth listening to as you go round the chapel.

Next to the chapel stands what was originally its chaplain's residence, the Palacio del Deán Ortega – another Vandelvira creation. The mansion is now Úbeda’s luxurious parador hotel.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Andalucía attractions

1. Palacio del Deán Ortega

0.03 MILES

Next to the Capilla de El Salvador stands what was originally its chaplain's house, the Palacio del Deán Ortega – now Úbeda’s luxurious parador hotel…

2. Plaza Vázquez de Molina

0.08 MILES

The lovely Plaza Vázquez de Molina is the monumental heart of Úbeda's old town and the perfect place to start exploring. An early case of Andalucian urban…

5. Palacio de Vázquez de Molina


Úbeda's ayuntamiento (town hall) is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful – if not the most beautiful – in Spain. It was built by Vandelvira in about 1562…

7. Plaza 1˚ de Mayo

0.11 MILES

Broad Plaza 1º de Mayo was originally Úbeda's market square and bullring. It was also the grisly site of Inquisition burnings, which local bigwigs used to…

8. Antiguo Ayuntamiento

0.11 MILES

Plaza 1˚ de Mayo, originally the town’s market square and bullring, was also the site of Inquisition burnings, which local bigwigs used to watch from the…