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The Basilica of San Isidro
This church is located downtown at Calle Toledo, 37. The Basilica of San Isidro was used as the cathedral of Madrid from 1885 until the Almudena Cathedral was completed. The Jesuit architect Pedro Sanchez designed the church as a twin-towered Baroque church. Later another Jesuit architect, Francisco Bautista built it in the 17th century. The Jesuits built it using money left to them by the sister of Felipe II, Doña Maria, Empress of Austria. For that reason, the church has a wrought iron gate that has a two-headed eagle, the symbol of the dynasty of the House of Austria. The interior decoration of the church was done by Ventura Rodriguez in the mid 18th century. The church has a Latin cross plan and a dome supported by a tambour with eight windows, covered with slate and lead. The church was completely destroyed by a fire in 1936 and had to be rebuilt. There is a niche at the center of the church with images of the patrons of the city, San Isidro and his wife Santa Maria de la Cabeza. Their remains are found in twin urns on the main altar.
The church has important images of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad and the Santísima Virgen de la Almudena. There are several side chapels that are very beautiful. On the Thursday of Easter week, the two images of the patron saints are taken out in a procession around the streets of the city.