Basilica de San Miguel


Enjoy the music while reading! This music, called ‘Marche pour la cérémonie de les Turcs,’ is different from the others because it is a rock version. We hope you like this Ba- Rock music!


In the 17th century in Madrid, the monarchs (Habsburg king) in Spain were replaced by Bourbon dynasty.

Spain’s political fortunes during the 18th century were against the events in the rest of Europe. But in the 18th century, there was a big difference: Spain no longer called the shots. The Spanish political system depended on their rivals: Britain and France.

In conclusion, there was:

  • A new royal dynasty
  • Centralisation of power
  • Loss of territories.

Economy in the 17th century in Madrid:

Philip II established the capital of Spain in Madrid, so the city started growing very rapidly. Spain continued centralizing its authority… so Madrid became the centre of administration and also the artisan centre in which new institutions appeared. But it was also known as “economic parasite “ because they didn’t generate wealth.

During the 18th century, Madrid was in the middle of a transition into capitalism, but Madrid didn’t became a good city for trading because it wasn’t near the ocean or even a river. So this means that Madrid was a political and social center, but it was also provided with luxury products and agricultural products (grain) from outside the city.


Charles III made many changes in the history of Spain during his reign. In 1767, Jesuits were expelled  from Spain, which carried many consequences in the Americas. They annexed new territories, especially in Paraguay. A new dynasty started, the Bourbon dynasty, which focused mainly on the development of metropolis, and resulted in a suppressed revolt.  

Mysteries and curiosities:

The Bethlehem  is one of the oldest traditions in Catholicism that tells a story through images. It became popular because during the Middle Ages, very few people could read. The Bethlehem shows the life of Jesus and Gospels.

Every year during Christmas time, the ‘The Bethlehem of Mysteries’ is built in the Basilica. This Bethlehem shows many mysteries, like the nativity with the adoration of the shepherds, the adoration of the Magi, the Annunciation of Mary, the Flight to Egypt and the Annunciation to the Shepherds

Also, Luigi Boccherini, who was an Italian musician, was buried in this church until 1927 when  Mussolini ordered to move the tomb to Lucca.


The church is a creation of the best of Italian Baroque architecture of the eighteenth century. The Basilica de San Miguel was built by Queen Elizabeth of Farnese when her son D. Antonio de Borbón was Archbishop of Toledo, which included Madrid.

The Basilica of San Miguel is made of volcanic stone transported from the volcano of San Miguel,  popularly known as “curruncha.” Curruncha is not a rock, but rather a stone material.

The architect of the basilica of San Miguel was Santiago Bonavía.

Santiago Bonavía (in Italian Giacomo Bonavia) was an Italian architect and painter who lived in Spain during the 18th century.

Santiago Bonavía was a member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando from its foundation by royal decree in 1744. Santiago became the director of the Architecture department in 1753. Years before, he had become the master of the cathedral of Toledo. One year after the Basilica of San Miguel was destroyed by a fire, he reconstructed it with a very large staircase. He also reconstructed the façade giving it a convex shape.

Building date:

It was built in 1754 and was originally called the Church of Saints Justo and Pastor. This was the first name of the church from before 1202. It was later destroyed by a fire in 1690.

Who commissioned its construction?

The construction of the Basilica of San Miguel was commissioned by the Clero Secular – Opus Dei, which was a group of priests and deacons of the Catholic Church under the orders of the bishop.

And the pastor and director of the construction of this building was D. Javier Láinez López who was a priest that worked on the basilica.

Original and current function:

One of the most interesting churches from Madrid, it is still a church where baptisms, communions and weddings are celebrated. 

Main architectural and decorative elements:

As we have said before, the Basilica of San Miguel has some of the best architecture of the Baroque period thanks to its convex facade, which is reinforced inside with columns and pilasters. The Basilica of San Miguel has a latin cross plan, and apart from having a convex shape, it is decorated with two spiers, which also have many sculptures on it. For example : The allegories of Charity, Faith, Hope and Strength, made by Roberto Michel and Nicolás Caresana, adorn the two upper bodies. In the upper part of the principal door, it has a bas-relief made by Caresana, which shows the Martyrdom of Saints Justo and Pastor.

The nave is covered with a dome, which is reinforced with pechinas and has straight sections with crossed arcs. In the cruiser, there is an oval dome with balusters. The vaults of the nave are decorated with frescoes by Rusca.

The inside the Basilica is decorated with fake marble and stucco. The lateral chapels are decorated with classic altarpieces. The presbytery is occupied by a canvas of Saint Michael.

State of conservation and restorations carried out:

The current condition of San Miguel is  good because it isn’t so deteriorated, and they are currently fixing some parts of the facade.

In 1739, they started the reconstruction, which lasted until 1745 when they finished it, thanks to Cardinal Infante Luis Antonio de Borbón y Farnesio. But when Bonaparte added a new construction  to the church of San Justo, they added San Miguel. After many years, Opus Dei took control of it and they took off the aisles and constructed a crypt under the building. In the XX century, the basilica was named ‘Basílica Pontifícia de San Miguel’





Do you know the material they used to build it? And how they were extracted and transported? And where we can find them? Just continue reading.

The basilica of San Miguel is made up of intrusive igneous rocks (granite), a sedimentary rock like limestone. Another important material is a special rock material called  ‘curruncha’ granite, which looks granular and phaneritic in texture and can be white, pink or grey color.

 Limestone is a rock with grains of different sizes that can be seen with a microscope. This rock can have grey, pink or reddish color.

Granite can be found in many quarries in Spain, like Pontevedra, Madrid, Alicante, Valencia, Murcia Barcelona, Málaga, Toledo and in many other places. The biggest quarry of granite in Spain is in Madrid with 265 businesses.

Limestone can also be found in many places of Spain, like Valencia, Baleares, Almería, Alicante, Madrid, León… And, just like the granite mentioned earlier, the biggest quarry of limestone is in Madrid with 451 businesses followed by Alicante and Barcelona with 349 businesses.

Add a title here! Why are these listed and what do they tell the reader? -S

1 . Formed by the cooling and solidification of lava.

2. Hard in nature

3. Consists of crystals, so it is also called crystalline rock

4. Examples are Granite and Basalt. These rocks are also formed inside the earth.

5. Fossils are not present in this rock.

6.  It is non-porous rocks


Granite is usually formed in big deposits called slabs. They extract these deposits with cutting methods. All the slabs which have been extracted are polished and then transported to a special factory where they are cut into appropriate sizes. Then the slabs are transported in a special way in order to avoid cracking it. Granite has to be transported vertically on its edge because if it is laid flat, it will crack  


For the extraction of limestone, we need to cut the first cavity in order to insert the saw for the extraction of larger blocks. When we have done all the steps before and the surface is vertical, a piece of rock is separated and horizontally removed. When all the steps are finished the piece of rock is further cut into small slabs. The extraction is called in ‘acorromar’.

Limestone is transported in airtight plastic containers and has to be transported with liquid cement. Because of the cement and because we need special trucks to transport it, it is more expensive to transport.

Alterations that the materials have suffered:

Granite: Volcanic rocks are the strongest ones, but they also endure problems with the passing of the time. The main problem is erosion. But what consequences does erosion have? With the rain and wind, granite starts deteriorating  becoming more and more rough. However, it is a very strong rock, so it doesn’t have serious problems.

Limestone: This sedimentary rock is weaker than granite, so the problems are bigger. The biggest problem of limestone due to erosion is that as the time passes, it becomes more and more porous.

Why did they choose volcanic rocks? And limestone?

It was very common to use igneous rocks in constructions because volcanic rocks are more dense, more durable and harder rocks, so this  means that they endure the passing of the  time.

Limestone is a very important component of grey cement, but it can also be the main component of construction. It is an important component of grey cement used in modern constructions and can also be used as the main component.

Basilica of San Miguel inside

Basilica de San Miguel