Capilla Real, Royal Chapel, Granada, Spain.

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Capilla Real

Top choice in Granada

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. Commenced in 1505, it wasn't completed until 1517, hence the royals' interment in the Alhambra’s Convento de San Francisco until 1521. Their monumental marble tombs (and those of their heirs) lie behind a 1520 gilded wrought-iron screen by Bartolomé de Jaén.

The tombs are just for show, however, as the monarchs actually lie in simple lead coffins in the crypt beneath the chancel. Also here are the coffins of Isabel and Fernando’s unfortunate daughter, Juana La Loca (Juana the Mad); her husband Felipe El Hermoso (Philip the Handsome); 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 silver sceptre, silver crown and personal art collection, which is mainly Flemish but also includes Botticelli’s Prayer in the Garden. Felipe Vigarny’s two early-16th-century wood-carved statues of the Catholic Monarchs at prayer are also here. Audioguides are included.

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