Iglesia de San José

Listen some Baroque music with rock style while reading our article.

Historical Context

During the last years of the 16th century and the first ones of the 17th century, Spain was losing its power and economical and international importance. While this building was being built, Philip III was king, and he ruled with the help of his favorite and most important valido, the Duke of Lerma.

As the Spanish kingdom became bankrupt due to the armed conflicts (the cost of them) against France, England and the Northern parts of the Low Countries, a peace treaty was agreed upon between them. Furthermore, in the following years (1609), the moriscos were expelled from Spain, because Philip III accused them of heresy. The king did all of these actions causing an economical and ethical catastrophe to demonstrate his Catholicism.


Original and Actual Functions

At first, there was a convent where they preached and help poor people. Then, when it was abandoned, they established there the Direction of Military Administration. After they demolished it, and they built the Apollo Theater, it was then used as the Bank of Vizcaya. Now, it's a church where they have mass.


San José church was commissioned by Fray Nicolás Jesús y María, in 1586, and it was finished 29 years after in 1605. But, in the next century, it was demolished.


It is located in the touristic zone of the ‘Puerta del Sol’ and the ‘Gran Vía’ at C/Alcalá, 43.

Artistic Style

It is a typical Baroque building, with a Latin Cross plan, (one central nave and two ones at its sides), with a high choir at floor level and three parts with a barrel vault.

Obviously, it is a church. This is a typical baroque church, with a Latin Cross plan, (one central nave and two ones at its sides). Now, we are going to talk about the decorative elements:

-The building has two floors. The upper one has an organ, but this part isn’t accessible because it is being restored.

-In the facade, the gable is decorated with flagons and floors. Also, it has a Virgen del Carmen sculpture. The three entrances have doors with metal grills forged by Juan Gil.

-In the main interior part, there are two big important elements:

The San José Church has a dome decorated with stucco on top, and it has very big and impressive cupola.

Also, there is the chapel. It consists of a St. Teresa representation and has many beautiful paintings.

Here is some information about the secondary elements:

-The arches of the doors are semi-circular. The interior is decorated with many sculptures and representations of religious characters, and the ceiling has many paintings.

-The representative figures (the less important ones) have a Doric style, and the most important ones, the Christ of Desamparo (popularly known as the Siete Reviernes) and a Saint Joseph, (very near to St.Teresa chapel), have a Corinthian style because of the acanthus leaves.

Take a look of our 360 picture! It shows the interior of San José Curch.

State of Conservation and Restorations

The state of conservation isn't bad, but it needs revisions and some restorations. It was restored after its demolition and Military usage. At another  point in time, they remodeled it for the Vizcaya Bank, and another time for the Church. Since December 2017, it has  been in the process of restoration. With this restoration, two Spanish Civil War remains have been discovered.

Materials Used

The major part of the interior is made of granite and the details are mostly made of marble (together with wood, but this isn’t a rock). And the exterior is made with clay bricks and granite, too.


  • Granite: The granite has three types of minerals: quartz, feldspar and mica. The granite is a plutonic rock, meaning it is formed in the interior of the earth crust.
  • Marble: It is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite.



They used granite because it was strong and resistant, perfect for the construction of the church. The marble was used for covering and decorating the interior because was smooth, flat and strong. Clay bricks, they are and were used in most of the buildings, because it was cheap and was easy to use and to stored.

They used picks made of metal to pick the minerals. To obtain them, we deduce that they used shovels to introduce it in carts were they were transported to the city.

They quarries from where the rock was extracted were located in Toledo and Madrid.