Basilica of San Francisco el Grande

Madrid, Spain

The Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande is a Roman Catholic church in central Madrid. The main façade faces the Plaza of San Francisco, at the intersection of Bailén, the Gran Vía de san Francisco, and the Carrera de san Francisco. It forms part of the convent of Jesús y María of the Franciscan order. The convent was founded in the 13th century at the site of a chapel.

The basilica was designed in a Neoclassic style between 1761 and 1768, based on a design by Francisco Cabezas, developed by Antonio Pló, and completed by Francesco Sabatini. The church contains paintings by Zurbarán and Francisco Goya. The temple once functioned as the National pantheon and enshrined the remains of famous artists and politicians.

The dome is 33 metres in diameter and 58 metres in height; its shape is very similar to the Pantheon's dome, having a more circular shape than the typical domes built in the 18th century.



Your name

Website (optional)


Founded: 1761-1768
Category: Religious sites in Spain


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Anneka Austin (16 months ago)
One of the most stunningly beautiful churches I have ever seen, completely worth the visit. A must see!
Lilia Subkhankulova (16 months ago)
Most beautiful church at a nominal entry price. Some really beautiful frescos and paintings. I am glad we went - just be aware of the opening times.
macedonboy (16 months ago)
This is without one of the finest churches in Spain. From the outside it's not much to look at. It's only when you get to the front facade that you see it's been built in the Neo-Classical style, albeit decorated simply. The simplicity of the exterior belies the exceptional interiors with it's walls decorated with some of the most stunning paintings I've ever seen. Like most large churches, there are dedications to the twelve apostles. Here in this church there are larger than life statues dedicated to each. The cupola and alter are exceptional in it's artistry and are worth the entrance fee alone. As befits a church dedicated to Saint Francis, the church also contains a very large and special collection of paintings dedicated to the saint and the Franciscan order. A must see if in the city and totally worth the entrance fee. As an added bonus, there are guided tours, the only downside is that the tours are in Spanish only.
Sharon Blackford (16 months ago)
Gorgeous paintings and side chapels in this domed basilica. If you understand Spanish, the guided tour is excellent.
Glenn A. Jaspart (17 months ago)
Impressive basilica. One of the most beautiful cupolas in Spain (more than 30m in diameter). When inside, you can't help but feel belittled by such grandeur. The entrance is free but access to the museum will cost you a few Euros. A must-see if you are interested in breathtaking architecture.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Narikala Castle

Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Kura River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997, it replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire. The new church is of 'prescribed cross' type, having doors on three sides. The internal part of the church is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia.

The fortress was established in the 4th century and it was a Persian citadel. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder (1089–1125). Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished.