Saint Isidore Cemetery

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Saint Isidore Cemetery
Cementerio de San Isidro
Madrid - Sacramental de San Isidro - Fermín de Muguiro.jpg
Saint Isidore Cemetery is located in Spain
Saint Isidore Cemetery
Alternative namesPontifical and Royal Sacramental Arch-confraternity of St Peter, St Andrew, St Isidore and of the Immaculate Conception
EtymologySaint Isidore the Farmer
General information
StatusActive cemetery
Architectural styleVarious
AddressCalle Ermita del Santo 78
Town or cityMadrid
Coordinates40°24′03″N 3°43′40″W / 40.40083°N 3.72778°W / 40.40083; -3.72778Coordinates: 40°24′03″N 3°43′40″W / 40.40083°N 3.72778°W / 40.40083; -3.72778
Construction started1811
OwnerArchicofradía Sacramental de San Pedro San Andrés y San Isidro
AffiliationCatholic Church
Technical details
Floor area120,000 m2 (1,300,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
ArchitectJosé Llorente

Saint Isidore Cemetery is a monumental cemetery in the Spanish capital Madrid. Its first courtyard was erected in 1811 and new expansions were added throughout the 19th Century. Its central courtyard, called “Patio de la Concepción” (Conception courtyard) boasts a notable group of mausolea.


St Isidore Cemetery (left) and St Just cemetery (right), ca. 1928.

The cemetery is located on the upper right side of the Manzanares river, between the Segovia and Toledo bridges. Its full name, “Pontifical and Royal Sacramental Arch-confraternity of St Peter, St Andrew, St Isidore and of the Immaculate Conception” reveals its origins: the arch-confraternity resulted from the 1587 merger of the confraternities of the parishes of St Peter the Royal, St Andrew the apostle, the Immaculate Conception and St Isidore the Labourer. All these fraternities included among their duties the dignified burial of deceased members, for which purpose a request was made to open a cemetery in what was then the outskirts of Madrid, near the hermitage of St Isidore.

The first burial was performed in 1811.

Throughout the 19th century, St Isidore became the cemetery of Madrid’s nobility. It became the final resting place of choice for aristocrats, bourgeoisie, politicians and artists. For this reason its seven courtyards boast a multitude of mausolea of great architectural and artistic quality. The architects and artists used all means at their disposal, embellishing their work with sculptural elements and employing highly skilled stonemasons, smiths, enamelers and stained glass craftsmen. Among the architects we find many of the great names of the period, such as Ricardo Velázquez Bosco, the Marquis of Cubas, Ortiz de Villajos, Arturo Mélida,[1] Agustín Querol, Segundo de Lema, etc. It was not unusual for architects to find themselves erecting grandiose mausolea in neobyzantine, neo-mudéjar or neo-gothic style for the same clients who had commissioned much less adventurously styled houses in the ever-expanding city.[2] St Isidore remains an active cemetery and is considered one of Europe’s most interesting graveyards.[3] An attempt was made to have the cemetery recognized by the Spanish heritage register for listed status as Bien de Interés Cultural (of cultural heritage interest), though to date the relevant application remains under consideration.[4]


St Isidore and St Just at the beginning of the 20th Century.

It is located in the Carabanchel district of Madrid, behind the hermitage of St Isidore on the so-called “hill of souls” (cerro de ánimas)[5] near Via Carpetana street and bordered on one side by Ermita del Santo avenue.

The three oldest of the seven courtyards that comprise the cemetery are of rectangular shape and cloistered structure and contain the niches, giving them the most sober appearance. The oldest courtyard is that of St Peter, built in 1811 by the architect José Llorente.[6] Here can also be found the tombs of Antonio Fraseri (Ferdinand VII’s physician), Bernardo Conde (director of the Buen Retiro Porcelain Factory), the count of Campomanes and the Madrazo family.[7] The courtyard of St Andrew would follow later, in 1829, also designed by Llorente, followed by the courtyard of St Isidro by José Alejandro Álvarez in 1842.[6] A new expansion was necessary mid-century and the courtyard of the Conception, designed by Francisco Enríquez y Ferrer in neoroman colonnades and turrets was built, containing a formidable group of mausolea in all different styles of the 19th century.[6] Throughout the 20th century, these structures continued to be built, though their boom period was during the Spanish restoration.[8]

Notable burials[edit]

See Also[edit]

Cementerio de San Isidro, Madrid (Spanish wikipedia article)


  1. ^ Preckler, Ana María (2003). Historia del arte universal de los siglos XIX y XX. Madrid: Editorial Complutense. p. 134. ISBN 8474917069.
  2. ^ García-Gutierrez Mesteiro, Javier. "Las olvidadas arquitecturas de la sacramental de San Isidro". El País. El País. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  3. ^ Baltés, Carlos (2008). Arte y belleza en la muerte. Madrid: Visión Libros. p. 240. ISBN 9788498214734.
  4. ^ Comunidad de Madrid. "Bienes Protegidos. Inmuebles". Comunidad de Madrid. Dirección General de Patrimonio Cultural. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  5. ^ Amado, M. "Historias del Cerro de Ánimas". ABC. ABC. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Saguar Quer, Carlos (1987). "El cementerio de la sacramental de San Isidro: un Eliséo romántico en Madrid". Goya. Revista de arte (in Spanish). Madrid (202): 223–233. ISSN 0017-2715.
  7. ^ Giménez Serrano, Carmen (1994). El panteón de hombres ilustres en el cementerio de San Isidro de Madrid. 2. Madrid: Editorial Complutense. pp. 1265–1274. ISBN 8474914922.
  8. ^ Saguar Quer, Carlos (1993). "Arquitectura del siglo XX en la sacramental de San Isidro". Anales de Historia del Arte. 4: 261–274. doi:10.5209/rev_ANHA.1993.v4.32930. ISSN 1988-2491.
  9. ^ Rico de Estasen, José (3 November 1935). "En el día de los muertos. El cementerio de San Isidro". Blanco y Negro: 111–117.
  10. ^ Rico de Estasen 1935, p. 112.
  11. ^ Rico de Estasen 1935, p. 115.
  12. ^ Rico de Estasen 1935, p. 113.
  13. ^ Rico de Estasen 1935, p. 114.
  14. ^ Rico de Estasen 1935, p. 116.
  15. ^ Rico de Estasen 1935, p. 117.
  16. ^ Baro Quesada, José (1 November 1956). "Muertos ilustres de los cementerios y templos madrileños". ABC: 15–19.