Spanish version


Santa Barbara Church

Santa Barbara ChurchIn 1748 Barbara de Braganza, King Fernando VI´s wife, founded the Convent of the Salesas Reales in the area of what is now know as Chueca in calle General Castaños 2.
The convent and the church were designed by the architect Francisco Carlier.
The idea was that young women belonging to aristocracy should be educated here.
On the other hand in those days, Barbara de Braganza´s mother in law, Isabel de Farnesio, was building a palace in Riofrio, close to Madrid.
Both women did not get along well, and Barbara de Braganza wanted to have a place of her own, where she could retire in case of becoming a widow. But in the end things worked out in a different way and she died before her husband.
But so the convent was built in the traditional way of royal convents, offering also a space for the founders.
In 1870 the government confiscated the convent and it became the lawcourt, what it still is.
On the façade we can see the statues of Saint Francisco de Sales, to whom the church is dedicated, and Saint Juana Francisca Fremiot. Both had founded the Visitation Order. These statues were made by Alfonso Giraldo Vergaz.
Inside the church we have the tomb of Barbara de Braganza and King Alfonso VI.Saint Juana Francisca Fremiot
Usually the kings are buried in El Escorial and also those queens who have been mothers of kings. As Barbara de Braganza did not have any children she could not have been buried there. King Alfonso VI was very much in love with her, and he did not want to be separated from her after death, so they preferred to be buried together in this church. The tomb was made by the architect Francisco Sabatini and the sculptures by Francisco Gutierrez.
On the opposite side is another tomb, belonging to General Leopoldo O´Donnell and made by Garcia Suñol.
This second tomb was made nearly a century later, but matches well with the rest of the interior.

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
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