The Church of Saint Sebastian of Madrid !

In my walking tours of my beloved city of Madrid, and with the coming of age to keep alert on the architecture all around me i came to see many buildings usually overlook by many. This is the case of the Church of San Sebastian ;and what a history it has this little church indeed!

The Church of San Sebastián  is one of the churches in the historic center of Madrid,  located on  Calle Atocha ,No. 39.  It is known for housing the mortal remains of playwright Lope de Vega, although its exact situation is unknown today, and for the famous characters of all kinds that were counted among its parishioners.


The origin of its name is due to a hermitage that was on the road to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Atocha, on which it was founded in 1541. The current plot on calle Atocha was purchased in 1553, and from 1554 to 1575 the church was built. This church, retained the right of asylum, that is, those who feared the persecution of justice could take refuge in it! Over the years, new chapels would be added: the Chapel of Bethlehem or the Architects, designed by Ventura Rodríguez in 1784; the one of the Actors,or that of the Guards, project of 1793. As for the main chapel, it was carried out between 1787 and 1788.


The Chapel of Our Lady of Bethlehem or the Architects.  The chapel is to the right of the entrance, protected by a glazed fence. The Chapel of the Sacred Heart located to the left of the entrance. The Chapel of Our Lady of the Novena adopted by comedians (theater actors) for their devotion. The Chapel of Maravillas de Jesus (wonders of ) dedicated to the Saint Maravillas de Jesus.


The Church of San Sebastian cemetery was located behind it, where today Calle Huertas and Calle San Sebastián meet. After its disappearance due to the remodeling of the area, it was replaced by a florist shop that has not closed even during the bombing in the Spanish Civil War. In it Lope de Vega was buried, but it is also famous because it was the scene of an overwhelming event, after burying the body of the well-known actress María Ignacia Ibáñez aka la Divina, her lover the writer José Cadalso, unable to withstand the loneliness that the death of her beloved produced, returned one night to the cemetery to dig up her body, being surprised by a full police action, and thanks to which he resigned to continue and return home. Interesting indeed!


During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) it is sacked shortly after its beginning, to be destroyed on the night of November 19 to 20, 1936 by a Franco’s aviation bomb. At the end of the contest it was restored between 1943 and 1959,with the changing of the orientation of the church and leaving the old tower, which was one of the highest in Madrid, sadly unfinished.


Some of the famous baptisms here were those of Ramón de la Cruz (1731) Leandro Fernández de Moratín (1760) José de Echegaray (1832) Jacinto Benavente (1866) and Tirso de Molina (1579). As to funerals here were some such as Miguel de Cervantes (1616); Lope de Vega (1635) Juan Ruiz de Alarcón (1639) Ventura Rodríguez (1788) Ramón de la Cruz (1794) , and Juan de Villanueva (1811). These along should be a welcome visit by many interested in famous burials and men of arts !

The Madrid tourist office on the Church San Sebastian

The Lope de Vega museum house has a bit on the Church

There you go folks, so much to see in this wonderful Madrid, been coming to it since 1970 but each time it amazes me with the things to see and do, full of life vibrant ,lively, gorgeous just feeling a need to go back lol! Hope you enjoy the post on the Church of San Sebastian at Calle Atocha Madrid!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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