Capilla Real

Top choice historic building in Granada

Image by Ingram Publishing Getty Images

The Royal Chapel is the last resting place of Spain’s Reyes Católicos (Catholic Monarchs), Isabel I de Castilla (1451–1504) and Fernando II de Aragón (1452–1516), who commissioned the elaborate Isabelline-Gothic-style mausoleum that was to house them. It wasn't completed until 1517, hence their interment in the Alhambra’s Convento de San Francisco until 1521.

Their monumental marble tombs (and those of their heirs) lie in the chancel behind a gilded wrought-iron screen, created by Bartolomé de Jaén in 1520.

However, the tombs are just for show as the monarchs actually lie in simple lead coffins in the crypt beneath the chancel. Also there are the coffins of Isabel and Fernando’s unfortunate daughter, Juana the Mad; her husband, Philip of Flanders; and Miguel, Prince of Asturias, who died as a boy.

The sacristy contains a small but impressive museum, with Fernando’s sword and Isabel’s sceptre, silver crown and personal art collection, which is mainly Flemish but also includes Botticelli’s Prayer in the Garden of Olives. Felipe de Vigarni’s two early-16th-century statues of the Catholic Monarchs at prayer are also here.