Combine a visit with a relaxing walk in 'El Retiro' or a day wandering the Prado, both of which are just next door.
This church began life as a Hieronymite Monastery in the mid 15th century; due to the site's marshy ground, it was moved to a new position to adjoin a growing royal palace, and rebuilt in Isabelline Gothic style. In 1528 it was used for the investiture of the Princes of Asturias and future king Philip II, the beginning of a long royal association. When Philip moved the Spanish court to Madrid, San Jerónimo became part of the Buen Retiro palace complex. It was subsequently largely destroyed during the Napoleonic occupation in 1808 (today, little remains in Buen Retiro Park of the original buildings).
Further Isabelline Gothic restoration followed under Queen Isabel II in the mid 19th century; a second restoration followed between 1879 and 1883, and the street-facing stairway was added in 1906 for the occasion of King Alfonso XIII's wedding. Only a few external features remain of the monastery's original structure, and the neo-Gothic 19th century remodelling of the façade remains controversial, but it is an elegant and beautiful place.
The church's Baroque cloister was in disrepair for many years, until it was agreed in 2007 that the Prado should have the space. Its inner courtyard facade was dismantled and then rebuilt as a cubic room designed by Rafael Moneo - the red-brick 'Cubo de Moneo' has proved unpopular with many locals. Whatever your own opinion, this extension of the museum holds great temporary exhibitions, as well as some of the Prado's collection of non-Spanish art including works by Titian, Rubens and Veronese.
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