Hermitage of Santa Maria la Antigua – Madrid, Spain - Atlas Obscura

Hermitage of Santa Maria la Antigua

The oldest building in Madrid. 


This old church, built on top of the remains of an even older church, is now, sadly, partially covered in graffiti.

Located next to the Carabanchel cemetery of Madrid, the Ermita de Santa Maria la Antigua was built in the Romanesque-Mudejar style in the 13th century.

The chapel’s design is simple yet elegant, with its whitewashed walls and arched doorway. The interior is just as striking, with a vaulted ceiling and colorful frescoes.

One of the most unique elements inside the hermitage is the well that, according to legend, San Isidro built. It is said that the patron saint of Madrid performed two miracles in this same church, one involving a wolf and the other a loaf of bread.

The Ermita de Santa Maria la Antigua has played an important role in the spiritual lives of the people of Carabanchel for centuries. It remains a place of quiet reflection and contemplation, offering respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Despite its relatively small size, the Ermita de Santa Maria la Antigua is a true hidden gem and a must-see for anyone interested in the rich religious history of Madrid.

Know Before You Go

Metro stop Eugenia de Montijo (line 5 of the Madrid Metro) is the closest to the hermitage.

Once outside the metro, locate the wall of the Carabanchel cemetery (you'll see the hermitage tower) and cross the little park.

In case you want to see the interior, the church is only open on Saturdays from 10.00 am to 1:00 pm, the visit is free of charge.

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April 6, 2023

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