10 November 2021 marks 500 years since the burial of the Catholic Monarchs in the Royal Chapel.
In the city of Granada, in 1492, the unification of the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula culminated, initiating the integration of the modern state of Spain. It was from Granada that the Atlantic expansion of the Empire towards the New World began.
In fact, one of the most important squares in Granada is that of Isabella the Catholic, where there is a statue representing the moment when the Queen and Christopher Columbus signed the Capitulations of Santa Fe, which sets out the agreements relating to the expedition that was planned from the east across the sea to the west.
But there is more.
On 13 September 1504, Isabella of Castile signed the foundation charter for a chapel. In this chapel, her remains and those of her husband Ferdinand would rest eternally in Granada. As a result of this wish, the architect Enrique Egas built the Royal Chapel between 1506 and 1517, where today, following that last royal mandate, the tomb of the Catholic Monarchs is located next to that of their daughter Juana (the Mad) and her husband, Philip I (the Handsome).
History of the tomb of the Catholic Monarchs
It was Emperor Charles I who ordered that the remains of his grandparents – Isabella had died in 1504, Ferdinand in 1516 – be solemnly transferred to the temple, as they had wished. Until 10 November 1521, the bodies of the monarchs had been in the Convent of San Francisco de la Alhambra.
In love with Granada, Charles I decided to convert the tomb of the Catholic Monarchs into the pantheon of the family dynasty.
The Royal Chapel of Granada
It can be said that the Royal Chapel of Granada marked the end of the Middle Ages with the Catholic Monarchs and the beginning of modernity. In fact, the royal tombs gaze eternally at the great main altarpiece of the Chapel, the work of Felipe Bigarny. The tension between its rigid Gothic architecture and its ornamentation is a reflection of this transitional period. The Renaissance style of the Modern Age came to replace the Gothic of the Middle Ages.
It is worth mentioning the marvellous Reja Mayor, which protects the whole of this space of the Royal Chapel. The work of Bartolomé de Jaén, it consists of three floors presided over by a large coat of arms and its characteristic emblems:
- The yoke (Y, of Ysabel)
- The arrows (F, for Fernando)
Before her death, Queen Isabella I expressed her wish for some of her most precious possessions to be buried with them. All this royal legacy is now housed in a museum set up in the sacristy annexed to the chapel, which hides authentic historical jewels such as the crown, the sceptre, the chest and the mirror of the queen and the sword of King Ferdinand.
500 years since the burial of the Catholic Monarchs in the Royal Chapel
The Royal Chapel will host a thanksgiving mass on 10 November (18.00). It will be presided over by the Granada Archbishop Javier Martínez.
It will be followed by a civic-religious act, with the arrival of a historical procession and the municipal corporation. They will walk from the monastery of San Francisco de la Alhambra to the temple, as they did five centuries ago. The royal standard will be raised and there will be a floral offering in front of the crypt of Isabella and Ferdinand.
The event that will take place in Granada will be unique and unrepeatable, don’t miss it!