The Royal Basilica of San Francisco the Great and a Catholic temple in Madrid (Spain), located not in the Palace, not the historical center of the capital. The current basilica was built in neoclassical style in the second half of the eighteenth century, starting with a project by Francisco Cabezas, and completed by Francesco Sabatini. Or building presents the third largest circular diameter of Christianity, as well as the sumptuous interior decoration, made in eclectic style end of XIX century. His gallery presents representatives of Spanish painting two sections XVII to XIX, with paintings by Zurbarán and Goya. On October 19, 1980, it was declared a National Monument, according to the Royal Decree, receiving the statute of Cultural Interest (BIC).

The place where today the basilica is situated was formerly occupied by a Franciscan convent, which according to legend was founded by Saint Francis of Assisi himself in 1217. When Philip II made Madrid the capital of the kingdom in 1561, the convent was gaining in wealth and importance, receiving relics from the holy places conquered by the Crusaders. In 1760, the Franciscans demolished the original building to build in its place to larger temple, covered by a magnificent dome.
Transfer of the remains of Calderon de la Barca, from the Basilica of St. Francis the Great (pictured left) to the cemetery of St. Nicholas. The engraving corresponding to 1874, when the temple ceased to have National Pantheon function and the mortal remains deposited there were returned to their places of origin.

In 1836 the Franciscans were expelled from the site, and the building passed into the hands of the Spanish state. A year later, it was thought that National Pantheon might be held there, but the initiative did not materialize. In 1838 he served as headquarters for an infantry barracks, before regaining the status of a place for religious worship. In 1869 he was revived the idea of ​​the National Pantheon, which over the next five years housed the remains of different personalities of Spanish history, including the remains of Calderón de la Barca, Alonso de Ercilla, Garcilaso de la Vega, Francisco de Quevedo , Ventura Rodríguez, Juan de Villanueva and Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordova (the Great Captain). They were deposited in a chapel inside the Basilica, but returned in 1874 to their places of origin.

In 1879, the temple underwent major renovation and restoration, funded by the Ministry of State. Rehabilitation was used to redecorate the interior, in a process that lasted from 1880 to 1889, and which involved several Spanish artists specializing in murals and decorative arts, most notably Casto Plasencia, José Casado del Alisal and Salvador Martinez Cubells. Most of his studies and sketches are preserved in the Prado Museum.

In 1926, King Alfonso XIII returned the temple to the Franciscans. On June 30, 1962 he was declared a minor basilica by Pope John XXIII. Throughout the twentieth century the church was a center of reforms and rehabilitation, remaining closed for decades. In November 2001, after decades under construction, the church was reopened to the public in 2006, when restorers began to recover mural paintings.

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