Church Of San Salvador

Church in Granada

San Salvador Albaicin Granada
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Giorgiomonteforti

The Iglesia del Salvador or the El Salvador Church is a 16th century church in Granada, built on the site of the Albaicín Great Mosque. The church has a very interesting architectural style that reflects the blend of strict Classicism with Moorish elements.

Short History of the Church Of San Salvador

The Iglesia El Salvador was built on the site of the main Albaicín mosque. The mosque dated back to the 13th century and was considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. The mosque was built by the Almohads, Muslim crusaders who conquered the region, naming it al-Andalus.

After the Catholic Monarchs conquered Granada, building work started to convert the mosque into a church and the name was changed to the Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador (Church of Our Saviour).

In 1527 it was established as a Collegiate Church which meant its purpose was to teach Christianity to the Morisco Moors after the conquest in 1492. A Morisco was the term given to the moors who had converted to Christian and therefore allowed to stay after the reconquest in 1492. For decades, El Salvador Church was one of only two Granada churches with the right to asylum.

The cloister was used to hang up the so-called sambenitos which were the traditional penitential garments that was worn by those Moors whom the Inquisition had forced to repent. These had previously been on display in the Cathedral.

The rebuilding of San Salvador church began in 1674, nearly two hundred years after the conquest of Granada. Designed by Esteban Garcia, it was completed by Jose Granados and Leonardo de Figueroa. it became a hall church divided into four sections, San Salvador has been refurbished several times throughout its history. The colonnades which surrounded the former mosque courtyard were restored in the 17th century. The church’s main façade is in the Mannerist style, an unusual architectural period sandwiched between Renaissance and Baroque.

In 1771, the Collegiate moved to another church in the center of Granada and it became a Parish Church.

Destroyed during the civil war in 1936, it was rebuilt entirely, trying to respect the style of the original church, but in addition simple: altarpieces especially have nothing to do with the original altarpieces. Note the beautiful renaissance door of Diego de Siloé. There are still pillars of the old mosque inside the church.

Best tours in and around the Church Of San Salvador

If you were wondering which are the best tours of the area around the Church Of San Salvador?  Check out these popular options:

What does the Church Of San Salvador in Granada look like?

The Church Of San Salvador of Granada is known for its extraordinary horseshoe arches, the Arab-style ceilings and the old traditional water tank.   This is a perfect place to contemplate the effects of history on architecture. One of the most interesting features of the church is its Mudedjar ceiling. Another is the courtyard which formed part of the original mosque with its water cistern or “aljibe” for ablutions and this is the only remaining example of a Mosque courtyard in Granada.

The Patio of Ablutions, remains of columns and a very deep well are conserved to this day.

The church’s interior is known for a number of ornate individual sections. These include the Chapel of Christ the Helpless, with its roof decorated with Baroque murals, and the Sacramental Chapel, with a huge, intricate altarpiece which incorporates an entrance door. The main altarpiece is one of the most richly decorated in the city, and perfectly captures the elaborate, dazzling artworks found in Baroque religious decoration.

What treasures does the Church Of San Salvador contain?

  • The church houses artistic treasures such as Bocanegra’s painting of the Last Supper.
  • In the main chapel there is an image of the Savior, from the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, by Pedro Duque Cornejo.
  • The carved sculpture of Pedro Duque de Cornejo or the Crucified ‘Lord of the Blood’, carved in the 17th century.
  • Cano canvases, Atanasio Bocanegra , Juan de Sevilla, Divino Morales.
  • A sculpture of a Christ by Mora, or a Virgin with the child by Diego de Siloe , carved in 1563 and located in the hole from the door of the Plaza del Salvador.

How to get to the Church Of San Salvador in Granada?

The Church Of San Salvador is located on the Church of San Salvador, Placeta del Abad, 7, Granada, Spain. It can be accessed by the C31, C32 and C34  buses.

The Church Of San Salvador appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Granada!

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Visiting Church Of San Salvador


Monday-Saturday, 10am-1pm and 4.30-6.30pm



Address: Church of San Salvador, Placeta del Abad, 7, Granada, Spain
Duration: 20 minutes

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