Las Ruinas de la Capilla de San Isidoro

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An 11th Century Ruin in El Retiro Park

Not to be confused with San Isidro, Madrid’s patron saint, San Isidoro of Seville (560-636 AD) gives his saintly name to this 11th century Romanesque church.

In the 11th century this locale was well outside Madrid’s walls, near the right bank of the Adaja River, and existed as a small hermitage.

San Isidoro’s chapel was originally called the Capilla de San Pelayo de Ávila. It had an interior of wood and stone. Inside and out it had the distinctive stone carvings from the Romanesque that showed humans, plants, and animals in both sacred and profane stories and metaphors.

Though in ruins, you can still make out some of the outer carving if you go around to the apse side of the chapel. There is enough here to help you conjure up an idea of what the chapel might have once looked like.

The church’s name changed to Capilla de San Isidoro in 1062 when the body of the saint of this name was being transported from Seville to León and rested on its journey in this chapel.

In 1896 the ruins were given to the municipality of Madrid and incorporated in the El Retiro Park.

It is a part of the Historic Artistic Patrimony of the city and was restored to its current
form in 1999.

At A Glance

Northwest corner, El Retiro Park

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