HISTORICAL CONTEXT: After the conquest of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, the city underwent considerable developments both in the Medina and Muslim quarters as well as the outskirts of the city. The introduction of new culture brought with it new buildings either on new plots or on the site of pre-existing buildings which were demolished. Muslim buildings were also used for the same purposes or altered. A series of royal works were commissioned during the first decade of the 16th century, which made this city the last great centre of Spanish gothic architecture (Royal Chapel, Lonja, Hospital Real, Santa Cruz la Real...) highlighting the Hospital Real and the Royal Chapel.



This palace stands within the grounds of the Alhambra between the Casa Real and the Church of Santa María of the Alhambra. Several rooms were demolished that surrounded the Patio de los Arrayanes to accommodate it construction.

Charles V initiated its construction with the desire to continue the works of his grandparents – the Catholic Monarchs – and convert it into a court centre of the Empire, helped by the Count of Tendillas, Luis Hurtado de Mendoza, who raised funds for the project.

The project was led by Pedro Machuca, starting in 1533 and ending in 1957.– other artists took part such as: Juan de Orea, Juan de Herrera and more recently Leopoldo Torres Balbás and Francisco Prieto Moreno.

It is a two-storey square building structured around a circular interior patio. The octagonal chapel remained unfinished. The cellar has a vaulted ceiling with wide windows.

The gallery of the upper floor was covered in 1957 with wooden coffered ceiling.

The external four façades are dominated by the main one (only one finished) that was carried out by Juan de Herrera, modifying the model of P. Machuca. It is structured on three vertical and two horizontal sections where there are different decorative motifs alluding to imperial power.


This was commissioned by the Count of Tendillas, Luis Hurtado de Mendoza. Located close to the Puerta de La Justicia.

It was designed by P. Machuca and executed by Nicolao da Corte. It comprises two bodies and a rectangular parapet where a complex and representative Renaissance ornamental programme is developed.


The palace of the Royal Chancellery of Granada stands in Plaza Nueva, where they used to hold bull fights, jousting and celebrated tournaments. Together with the nearby Church of Santa Ana and the Hospital Mayor de la Encarnación established by the archbishop Fray Hernando de Talavera, this space constitutes one of the most important centres of the city.

The legal system established by the Catholic Monarchs was last established in two chancelleries, one in Valladolid and another in Ciudad Real which in 1505 passed to Granada and had jurisdiction in half of Spain. The façade has some details that are reminiscent of Roman palaces by the alternating curved and triangular shapes on the window sills. Two ‘cushioned’ horizontal sections adorn both storeys and on the ground floor there are three trabeated doors crowned with curved pediments, the side doors have windows and the central doors have semicircular arch and framed by two Corinthian columns that support an entablature with broken triangular pediment.

The first patio could have been carried out under the direction of Siloé or at least following his drawings. It has two bodies, the lower with white marble columns supporting twenty-two arches with medallions with busts on the spandrels, the upper with jonic columns with balustrade. The stairs have three arches with figures of the virtues and coats of arms of the Catholic Monarchs and in the windows there is an interesting medallion that represents Charles I. The stairs were financed by a fine imposed on the Marquis of el Salar by appearing with a hat alleging that he was of Spanish nobility before the king, Philip II admitted that he was but not before the court. At the foot of the stairs is the executioner’s cave where he used to await his instructions from the court.



Located in the heart of Granada with its entrance onto Gran Vía, the cathedral is considered as the first Renaissance church of Spain. Founded on May 21, 1492 by the Catholic Monarchs it was designed in 1505 by the same masters as the Royal Chapel, starting works in 1518 following the Gothic model of Toledo cathedral. From the second third of 16th century, the immense cathedral of Granada paved the way for all new metropolitan churches that were built thereafter. In 1518 the works were commissioned to the architect Diego de Siloé, who created the formula to adapt the previous dimensions and floors, designed a new plan of the temple in Spanish Renaissance style, with its completion in 1704. Diego de Siloé managed to convince the reluctant Emperor Charles V of the possibilities of Christian spirituality within pagan architecture, inherited from the Greeks and Romans.

The main façade is Baroque designed by Alonso Cano in 1667, organised into three spectacular arches with coffering reminiscent of that of the main chapel and including the Roman triumphal arches. Of the two towers designed by Siloé, only one was built at a height of 57 metres instead of the planned 81. In light of the frequent earthquakes in the area, it was Felipe II who ordered a halt on the works of the said tower. The façade on calle Cárcel has two doors, that of el Perdón, masterpiece of Siloé. With regard to the inside the Renaissance temple, built according to gothic layout with five naves and the main chapel is one of the most beautiful and daring works of universal architecture with statues of the Catholic Monarchs praying. The high walls are decorated with very spectacular stained-glass windows, some shipped from Flanders. In the Sacristy, the main treasure is a real-size crucifix by Martínez Montañes and under it is one of the most precious jewels of Spanish art: la Inmaculada, small Granadine Baroque piece sculpted in 1656 by Alonso Cano.


Linked to other important buildings such as la Lonja, the Cathedral and the Church of el Sagrario, the royal chapel was built on the previous site of the Mosque – of which only a small water deposit remains on the right side of its façade-, by royal warrant of September 13 1504 and to convert it into a mausoleum of the new dynasty. This was not fulfilled, however, Charles V would replace it with the Cathedral and subsequently Philip II would decide on El Escorial. We find ourselves before a gothic masterpiece designed by Enrique Egas (1506 - 1517), following the wishes of austerity of Queen Isabel. Built in various stages, distinguishable by the styles that combine Gothic: -production and decoration -, Renaissance -sepulchres- and Granadine art of the 17th and 18th centuries - Chapel of the Holy Cross-. The most important artists of the time came together: E. Egas, Domenico Fancelli and Bartolomé Ordoñez -sepulchres-, Bartolomé de Jaén –the grille-, Felipe Bigarny, Alonso Berruguete and Jacobo Florentino – high altarpiece and of the Holy Cross, Machuca, Siloé, Francisco Díaz del Rivero and Alonso de Mena. Rectangular in shape with a polygonal apse, where the Main Chapel and four side chapels are located. It is covered with vaulted ceilings adorned with gilt rosettes. Four outer walls connect it with the Cathedral, Church of el Sagrario, Sacristy and C/ Oficios. In spite of its late construction (1529) the façade of el Sagrario is Gothic. The shape is trilobular arch decorated with gargoyles and foliage and on the jambs are the sculptures of Saint Peter and Saint Paul by Jorge Fernández. The façade of the Sacristy is a three-centred arch, crowned with the sculpted group of the Annunciation by Jacobo Florentino. The façade that communicated with the cross aisle of the Cathedral, was the main one, the flaring entry span is a semicircular arch framed by archivolts with sculptures of Saint John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, to whom the Royal Chapel was dedicated-, and another of 6 apostles. The coats of arms of the Catholic Monarch, emblems (yoke and arrows) appear on the arch and tiling of the pointed arch. Beams of small columns flank the façade that house-under canopies and on a pedestal - two heralds. This is finished with the sculpture of the Adoration of the Kings Saint Jorge and Santiago. The only exterior façade that opens onto C/ Oficios built in 1526 is Renaissance. The lower horizontal section rebuilt in 18th century shows a semicircular arch framed by sunken pilasters that house sculptures. Three niches in the upper part hold figures of the Virgin and Saint Johns.

The Plateresque grille made between 1518 and 1523 by Bartolomé of Jaén, is considered as a masterpiece of Spanish metalwork. It is structured by way of an altarpiece, into three bodies whose dimensions drop in height, five vertical sections and cresting, which include the Crucifixion and scenes of the Passion of Christ.

The sepulchres of the Catholic Kings and their children -Juana la Loca and Felipe el Hermoso-, signal the introduction of the Renaissance style into the Royal Chapel. That of the Catholic Monarchs was carried out by the Italian Domenico Fancelli, in marble from Carrara. It has pyramid trunk shape, with engravings and sculptures on its walls with scenes that represented scenes of the Baptism, Resurrection, Saints and ornamental elements of the Renaissance: griffins, swages, masks and emblems. Above are the idealist figures of the Catholic Monarchs, although the face of Fernando has more traces of realism. The sepulchres of Juana and Felipe were carried out by the Italian-trained Bartolomé Ordoñez. Their structure is similar to the previous one. The High Altarpiece, work of Felipe Bigarny and Alonso Berruguete, is Renascent although with gothic touches. It is structured on pediment, bench, two horizontal sections, five vertical sections and garret. The embossing of the lower part -pediment- represent scenes of the history of Granada: handing of the keys to the city, baptism of the moriscos [moors converted to Christianity], etc., whilst in the rest there are scenes of the life of Christ, the Saints John and Evangelists. The Sacristy is rectangular in shape with cross-vaulting and houses an important museum which constitutes the legacy of Queen Isabel: jewellery, relics, ornaments, books, tapestries and paintings; highlighting the crown and sceptre of the queen and the numerous Flemish tableaux, including those belonging to R. Van der Weiden, TH Bouts and H. Menling. The museum has been fortunate to have a museographic installation, which involved the Andalusian Institute of Historic Heritage. The museum is based mainly on the legacy of the Catholic Monarchs and others of the Emperor Carlos V and the Empress Isabel with diverse items such as jewellery, relics, ornaments, books, tapestries and paintings. The museum was created by Royal Order of July 3, 1913. For some time they were exhibited in la Lonja, but since 1945, when restoration of the vaults of the Sacristy was completed, they were placed here and it was open to the public as a museum.


The Catholic Monarchs built the Royal Hospital of Granada, a Gothic building with subsequent classical elements. It is currently the Chancellorship and Central Library of the University.

It is located between the streets Real de Cartuja, Ancha de Capuchinos and Avenida del Hospicio, where its entrance is located. There was a cemetery here during Muslim times (Saad Malik) and with the Christina conquest the land was ceded to the city as ejido –land for common use for a municipality.

The works were started in 1511, halted after the death of King Ferdinand and restarted in 1522 by their grandson the Emperor Charles V. A fire in 1549 led to the construction of the roofs by Juan de Plasencia and Melchor de Arroyo. Important artists at that time were involved in this work including Enrique Egas, P. Machuca, D. de Siloé.... It is an eclectic work with mixtures of Gothic, Renaissance and Mudejar elements. A Gothic elevation is superimposed on a Renaissance floor plan. The building is Greek-cross layout in a square with four symmetrical patios in each corner, with a dome in the cross aisle. This layout copies the model carried out by Filarete in the Ospedale Maggiore of Milan. It is a two–storey building, but with a further third floor in the south-east angle, open to the elements with arched balconies (Gallery of Convalescents). Its main façade faces the Avenida del Hospicio, it has four highly ornamental Plateresque windows, with the initials and emblems of the founders and of the Emperor. The entrance in the façade is made of stone brought from Elvira and built in 1632. It has a trabeated span, framed with four Corinthian columns and altarpiece adorned with yokes and arrows, on which a second horizontal section rests with a central niche that houses an image of the Virgin and to the side the praying figures of the Catholic Monarchs – carried out by Alonso de Mena-. A circular pediment finishes the group, broken by a royal coat of arms, supported by the eagle of Saint John. It has a rectangular floor and is covered with framework–flat wooden ceiling – whose bridging joists -beams- rest on the feet of supports. The front façade introduces us to the bays -naves- and it constitutes a semicircular arch, with triple thread that rests on small columns and is framed with moulding decorated with balls. The side doors lead to the patios and the upper floor. The cross aisle – intersection point of the four naves – is divided into two. The ground floor is covered with a vaulted ceiling and the upper floor with wooden cupola. The naves of the ground floor is covered with frameworks with varied typed of footings–Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance – and those of the upper floor with Mudejar trusses decorated with ties and honeycomb work. Of the four patios planned only two were finished (those on the left). The Patio de los Mármoles  – the first on the left – is richer, but only the lower part was worked, formed by twenty arches – five on each side – semicircular on slender columns and between the spandrels are the initials of the Catholic Monarchs and on the entablature there are coats of arms and emblems of the Kings and Charles V, as well as the yoke and arrows. The Patio of the Chapel, the only one that was finished has a double gallery formed by semicircular arches on Doric columns on the ground floor and Corinthian columns on the upper floors. The emblems and initials are the same as those of the previous patio, but on the cornice there is an inscription that alludes to the founders and the individuals who completed the works (the Catholic Monarchs and Charles V, respectively). The name of the patio reminds us that a Chapel stood here and an altarpiece of 1647 which housed inside a cross the wood of the stocks worn by Saint John of God.


This represents one of the most commemorative Baroque monumental works of Granada city together with the Basilica of San Juan de Dios. It stands on the hills of Aynadamar and was built over three centuries (16th, 17th and 18th).

We can see how work has taken place over different periods but the most significant is work from the Baroque period, such as the canvases in the church, which depict the life of the Virgin Mary, carried out in the second half of 17th century by Pedro Anastasio Bocanegra, a master of the Granadine school, follower of Alonso Cano. Other canvases were also carried out by F. Juan Sánchez Cotán, a Toledo painter.

The Baldachin of the Presbytery was carried out in 1710 by Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo housing a sculpture of the Assumption created by José de Mora. He also made the Sagrario or Sancta Santorum, whose dynamic decoration harmonises architecture, painting and sculpture. Conceived as a low chapel, an enclosed place which houses the veined-marble tabernacle. The cupola with al fresco paintings is the work of Antonio Palomino (18th century), representing the triumph of the militant church, faith and religious life.

Parts of the sacristy are also attributed to F. Hurtado. In simple proportions, its scope makes it more intense, thanks to the clever lighting. Facings and vaulted ceilings are covered with white plasterwork that with their curved shapes give great dynamism to the building. The marble altarpiece was made in 1780 and houses the sculptures of Saint Bruno and La Inmaculada. On one side of the altarpiece is a small sculpture of Saint Bruno by José de Mora.

There are four chapels in the gallery of the cloister next to the nave of the church, one of them housing “Ecce Homo”, in polychrome clay and another “Virgin with Child”, by José Risueño (17th – 18th century).

Other rooms contain works by Sánchez Cotán on the origin of the Carthusians in the Refectory, of Vicente Carducho 17th century.


It is one of the largest commemorative works promoted by the contra-reformist orders. It was designed as a sanctuary and a burial place of Saint John of God. Located on the street and in the quarter that takes his name, between monuments such as the Royal Hospital The Square of Triunfo de la Inmaculada (Public monument dedicated to the Virgin, in 1626 the plans were carried out, entrusted to the architect Francisco Potes and sculptor Alonso de Mena, its first location was to be on the esplanade before the Puerta Elvira and it was moved in 1960 to the place where it is currently found) and the Monastery of San Jerónimo.

Commissioned by Brother Alonso de Jesús y Ortega and designed by José de Bada, master of the cathedrals of Granada and Malaga and the Padres de la Compañía de Jesús (Companions of Jesus). It was built between 1737 and 1759. It is a Latin-cross floor plan: nave with side chapels – two on each side -, cross aisle, high chapel and chorister. Behind the high chapel is the room where Saint John of God is laid to rest.

The façade is flanked by two high towers with slate steeples, on it is an iconographic programme referring to the Order, a niche with the sculpture of the namesake of the Basilica.

Inside is the high altarpiece of the main chapel, which was made between 1744 and 1753 by José Francisco Guerrero. It is structured on a single body, with highlighted dimensions of three vertical sections delimited by four large supports. It has ornamentation with geometric plates and plant motifs. The sacrarium is in the central vertical section that joins with the side room and in its attic there is an urn with the relics of the saint and above inside a niche there is an image of la Inmaculada. It is worth highlighting the canvases and sculptures, the majority of which were carried out by artists belonging to the Granadine school.

Next to the basilica is the Hospital that has been caring for the sick since 1552. In 18th century the Hospital was extended, making the second cloister, the covering of some rooms and the main staircase that links the two cloisters with decorative diversity: tiled borders, wall paintings, polychrome marble and Mudejar truss of its roof.


Located between the streets of Gran Capitán and López Argüeta, in the quarter known as la Duquesa, created during 16th century with the urban expansion of Granada after the conquest by the Catholic Monarch in 1492.

This monastery was built under the orders of the Catholic Monarchs in principle according to a gothic project. This was later changed to a Renaissance model, however, when taken over by the wife of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba and would be converted into a funeral chapel for the tombs of the couple.

The Monastery, built in 16th century, except for the mural paintings that were created in 18th century, comprises the church and two cloisters, around which various rooms are distributed. A large group of artists took part in this work: Jacobo Florentino, Diego de Siloé, Lázaro de Velasco, as well as the most important artists of the Granadine School: Pablo de Rojas, Pedro de Raxis, Pedro de Orea among others.

The church: basilica floor plan, a nave, cross aisle, side chapels and high Chapel. The nave is covered with vaulted ceiling; the High Chapel with annular vaults and on the cross aisle, cimborio (cupola). All these ceilings are richly decorated: embossing in false ceiling in the cross aisle and the High Chapel (work of Diego de Siloé and his followers).

The altarpiece of the High Chapel was carried out between 1570 and 1605 detailing characteristics of the Renaissance and Manierism.

In the choir, located at the foot of the church and high up, the magnificent masonry by Siloé is highlighted together with the organ from the end of 18th century.

The façade has three bodies, inside the access door opens: the semicircular arch framed by fluted columns, where the entablature has a niche which houses embossed work of San Jerónimo. In the second body on the coat of arms of the Catholic Monarch and their initials, is a large window flanked by ornamental figures- with the busts of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. On its right side is the Tower of three bodies plus the bell tower behind.

Autora: Vanesa García Hernández