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How to visit the Bishop's Chapel of the 16th century in the Plaza de la Paja

Bishop's Chapel in the Plaza de la Paja in Madrid

One of the hidden artistic corners in Madrid is the rehabilitated Bishop's Chapel, whose existence most of the Madrid people themselves have no knowledge.

It is a 16th century Gothic architectural jewel, declared Historic Artistic Monument and Well of Cultural Interest, which has been closed for more than 30 years during which a profound reform has been carried out.

Open to worship and public visits since 2012, the Bishop's Chapel you find it in the very central straw square from Madrid, behind the St. Andrew's Church, with which conforms the Monumental complex of San Andrés.


Gothic ceiling of the Bishop's Chapel in the Plaza de la Paja

History of the Bishop's Chapel

In medieval times this area was a neighborhood Mozarabic which housed the archaeological remains of the eleventh century of the originalSt. Andrew's Churchwhere he was buriedSan Isidro, Patron of Madrid.

Behind theReconquest, the second wall of Madrid, the Christian wall, was built, and this neighborhood became an area of ​​palaces.

It was in the 16th century whenFrancisco de Vargas and Medina, deprived ofCatholic kings, decided to build a funeral chapel dedicated toSan Isidro.

This building was added to the St. Andrew's Church, and as his son finally finished itGutierre de Vargas and Carvajal, Bishop of Palencia, became known as theBishop's Chapel.


Altarpiece of the Bishop's Chapel in the Plaza de la Paja

During the 19th century, theBishop's Chapel became property of theAlba House, and thanks to its discreet facade and to be closed, during theCivil war it was saved from being destroyed, as happened to the neighboring church of San Andrés.

Finally,in 1980, theAlba House yielded to theDiocese of Madrid the property of the Bishop's Chapel, with the only requirement that it be opened to worship.

Now, after reforms that have lasted 30 years, theBishop's Chapel in Madrid Not only can it be visited by the public, but it also houses a French congregation of nuns, theLittle Sisters of the Lamb, celebrated at the same mass every day.

Visit of the Bishop's Chapel

This chapel, although at certain times it had direct access from theSt. Andrew's Church, has its own facade, which is what you now see in the straw square. and before which you will begin your visit.

Plateresque style, typical of the sixteenth century, it will seem more like the entrance to a palace than the access to a religious building.


Entrance of the Bishop's Chapel in the Plaza de la Paja

After passing through its original oak doors, you arrive at a small cloister, which has a distribution function, and is the interior connection with theSt. Andrew's Church since this one and theBishop's Chapel they separated with a wall.

TheBishop's Chapel it was built between 1520 and 1525, and when the arch that linked it with the St. Andrew's Church, the area where venerated to San Isidro It was accessible from both sides.

This can now be seen by showing the archaeological remains through a window on the ground.

When accessing the interior of the Bishop's Chapel The gothic style of the restored ceiling will catch your attention.

There are two elements that will impress you the most: the spectacular wooden altarpiece topped with gold leaf, and the impressivealabaster grave of the bishop Gutierre de Vargas and Carvajal.

The spectacular and artistic beauty of both elements will force you to a prolonged visual review of each of them.


Sepulcher of Gutierre de Vargas and Carvajal in the Bishop's Chapel in Madrid

You can also see two minor altarpieces and the graves of Francisco de Vargas e Inés de Carvajal, all made by the Renaissance sculptor Francisco Giralte.

Schedules and prices visit Bishop's Chapel

This very little known monument of Madrid can only be visited on very specific days, and always on guided tours.

Specifically, the Visiting schedules of the Bishop's Chapel are every Tuesday in three successive shifts, at 10, 10.45 and 11.30 hours.

In addition you can also visit on Thursday afternoons in two shifts, at 4:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.

These visits are made in groups with a maximum of 30 people, and to participate in them you must reserve beforehand in the Almudena Cathedral Museum,


Archaeological remains in the Bishop's Chapel in the Plaza de la Paja in Madrid

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You can make reservations by email ([email protected]), calling 915.592.874, or introducing yourself directly to it (Almudena square, next to the main entrance of the cathedral) to get the entrance before the visit.

He entry price for the visit of the Bishop's Chapel of Madrid It is 3 euros, and you have to pay the tickets directly at the museum, where they will give you the tickets to be able to access the guided tour on the day and time you have selected.

If these days and hours are difficult to visit, you have another option to access the monument and get to know it on your own.

Half an hour before Mass hours and liturgical offices in the Bishop's Chapel that take place in it every day, you can enter and see it, yes, with proper respect for a place of worship.

I tell you that if you are fond of photography, you can take photos during the visit, yes, without using flash.

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