Church of San Nicolás

Madrid, Spain

San Nicolás church dates back to medieval times, although it has been much altered over the centuries. It is named in the Law of Madrid of 1202 as one of the oldest parishes in the city. Today it is the oldest church in Madrid, after the demolition of the Church of Santa Maria de la Almudena. Archaeological remains suggest that the church and its bell-tower may have been part of a former mosque. It was likely constructed during the 12th century. The nave and chapels were renovated in the 17th century.

By the 19th century, this church was poor in resources and parishioners. The parish was joined to that of El Salvador in 1805. For a time, the building was abandoned till the church was ceded in 1825 to the Third Order of Servites. When the nearby church of El Salvador was destroyed in 1842, this church gained its former status as a parish church.

In the year 1891 the parish was relocated to a church that had been Anton Martin Hospital in Atocha street, today the Parish of San Nicolas and San Salvador, leaving the old building as the church of 'St. Nicholas of the Servites', a name derived from the Servite Order, which still owns it.

At the end of century profile interventions have been implemented, the main one being held in 1983. In some of these interventions was the replacement of the stone, he must be very poor, in the apse, where they appreciate different finishes to the original stone.

The most interesting feature of this temple is undoubtedly its tower, dating from the 12th century except the Herrerian style spire tops, made of slate for the 18th century. It has a square and is constructed of brick decorated with blind arches. The brick has dimensions of 30 x 15 cm in the lower parts, but it was the brick bell tower area are smaller and of a different hue. This tower possibly corresponds to one of the Arab minarets preserved in the city. The tower was transformed in the 14th century, when it changed the cover, which was subsequently replaced by the spire.

 

References:

Comments

Your name



Address

Plaza Biombo 1, Madrid, Spain
See all sites in Madrid

Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Spain

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Robert Pullan (2 years ago)
In excess of 750 years old. A vast contrast to the new ginormous cathedral nearby. Well worth a few minutes on your way to or from Plaza Mayor.
Gabriel Rocha (2 years ago)
Looks nice for the oldest church on Spain but they didn’t open the plaza doors so there was no way to see the church
Maikel Diepeveen (2 years ago)
Nice place, must see for Dutch people.
Vicente Marco (2 years ago)
Nice church
Steve Deans (3 years ago)
Oldest church in Madrid unfortunately it was closed when we were there.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.