The Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha

Not too far from the Atocha train station (Avenida de la Ciudad de Barcelona, 3) is the Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha. This is the favorite church of the Royal Family and it is a tradition that whenever one of them has a child, the child is presented to the image of the Virgin a few days later. When Felipe married Letizia, they went to this church after their wedding at the Cathedral to present Letizia's corsage of flowers to the Virgin, as a sign of respect and tradition. In the 7th century, the statue of the Virgin was found in a field and the statue had the Virgin carrying the Child Jesus in her left arm and holding an apple with her right hand. The Virgin caused many miracles and devotion to her started. A small chapel was built and in 1523 a big church took the place of the small chapel and the Dominicans occupied it. In 1808 during the French occupation, the French troops destroyed the church. The church was restored by the Royal Family, but again during the Civil War, the church was again destroyed. Luckily the statue was hidden by a devout family until the end of the war.

The present church dates from 1951 and is in the Neo-classic style. The church measures 52 x 34 m at the base and the central nave reaches a height of 13.25 m. The most impressive part of the church are five stained glass windows that are at floor level on the side of the main altar. These are exceedingly beautiful.