PLAZA DE LA PAJA, Capilla Del Obispo

Audio File length: 2.39
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

At the corner of Plaza de la Paja and Costanilla de San Andrés you'll see a gate: once you've walked up the steps and gone through the gate, you'll find yourself in a small cloister protected by large windows.

You're at the entrance to the beautiful Capilla de Nuestra Señora y de San Juan de Letran, which the people of Madrid call the "Capilla del Obispo". Outside it looks like a Renaissance-style granite building with the façade opening up at the top with a beautiful gallery with seven windows.

Crossing the beautiful Renaissance-style walnut door carved with scenes from the Bible, enter the silent beauty of this late Gothic-style chapel with a single nave, a polygonal end, and star-studded roof vaulting. Above the altar you can see the beautiful Renaissance masterpiece which is divided into three parts and depicts scenes from the life and passion of Christ.

The alabaster sepulchers that you see belong to the chapel's patrons, Francisco de Vargas and his wife Inés de Carvajal. On the right wall rests their son Gutierrez, bishop of Plasencia: he is the 'obispo', or bishop, from which the chapel got its name. It was he who built the chapel in memory of his parents, in exactly the place where the mortal remains of San Isidro the Laborer had been kept, who was the farmer-saint who had worked in the service of the Vargas family and later became the patron saint of Madrid. When the saint's body was transported to the Collegiate Church of San Isidro, as we've already seen, the chapel simply became the family pantheon of the illustrious house of Vargas.

To fully appreciate this gem of a chapel, I suggest attending one of the "hermanitas of cordero" masses led by a group of pilgrim nuns. Within the walls of the chapel their songs will take you to a heavenly dimension: try it, and listen, to believe!

 

FUN FACT: while you're in the chapel, don't forget to look through the "archaeological window" located at the foot of Bishop Gutierrez de Vargas' tomb. From there you'll be able to see all of the previous buildings, ranging from 1100 to 1500.

 

Thus ends our visit of Plaza de la Paja in Madrid: MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!

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