Says the Mayor of Madrid Ana Botella:
From 3 to 20 April, the Spanish capìtal [is] transformed as it commemorates Easter, one of Spain’s most emblematic traditions, and an event that is very much part of the city’s heritage thanks to the commitment and dedication of our much-loved religious brotherhoods and associations. The beauty of the floats [in the religious processions] making their way through the streets of Madrid is very moving and always invites reflection.
Holy Week processions, the tradition of which has been passed on from century to century, is definitive of Spain’s capital city where religion even at its most solemn is never far away from a fiesta. The street processions are a religious ritual that tourists who might not share the fervent Catholicism of the Madrileños will still feel the vibes that could touch the soul if only because they speak of the Madrileños’ profound devotion to their loving God who came to this world birthed by the Virgin Mary and died on the cross to save them from the eternal fires of Hell.
Take it from the veteran and let GUIDEPOST tell you that watching — or, better still, joining — the processions is one way of getting to know the Madrileños that much more intimately, of having a glimpse into the inner self of these people.
Moreover, the itenerary of the processions encompasses the most historic sites of old Madrid such as the Baroque Plaza Mayor whose construction began in the 17th century and is presumably the most famous plaza in Spain; Carrera de San Jeronimo which traces its origins to the 16th century; the Plaza de Ramales one of whose claims to fame is that it was here where Diego de Velázquez (Las Meninas), leading artist in the court of King Philip IV, was buried in 1660 in the vaults of the Church of San Juan Bautista, destoyed in 1811 when Napoleon Bonaparte sent the French army over to Spain to prop up the tenuous rule of his brother Joseph Bonapaerte; and Calle Arenal where Christians lived during the Arab domination of the city and where the Chucrh of San Gines is located. (Built originally in 1645, San Gines is one of the oldest existing churches in Spain.)
To follow the processions is therefore a privileged and infallible way of getting to know Madrid at its most historic and most fervorous.
Never a dull moment even in the solemn Semana Santa!
So here’s the schedule and itinerary of some of these processions.
Basilica Pontificia de San Miguel > Calle San Justo > Plaza del Cordón > Calle del Cordón > Plaza de la Villa > Calle Señores de Luzón > Plaza de Santiago > Plaza de Ramales > Calle de Lepanto > Plaza de Oriente > Calle de Pavia > Calle de San Quintin> Calle de Arrieta > Plaza de Isabel II > Calle de la Independencia > Calle de Lazo > Calle de la Unión > Calle Conde de Lemos > Calle del Espejo > Calle de Santiago > Calle de los Milaneses > Plaza de San Miguel > Calle del Conde de Miranda > Plaze del Conde de Barajas > Calle de Gomez de Mora > Plaza de la Puerta Cerrada > Calle de San Justo > Basilica Pontificia de San Miguel
Cristo de la Fe y del Perdón, 18th century carving by the sculptor Luis Salvador
María Santisima Inmaculada Madre de la Iglesia (HolyMary Mother of the Chruch), carving by sculptor Juan Manuel Miñarro, 1996
Parroquia Nuestra Sra. de Carmen y San Luis > Calle de la Salud > Calle del Carmen > Puerta del Sol > Calle del Correo > Plaza del Marqués de Pontejos > Calle Paz > Calle Bolsa > Plaza de Jacinto Benavente > Atocha > Plaza de Santa Cruz > Calle San Cristobal > Calle Postas > Calle Esparteros > Calle Mayor > Puerta del Sol > Calle Preciados > Calle Galdó > Calle del Carmen > Calle de la Salud > Parroquia Nuestra Sra del Carmen y San Luis
Jesus Our Father of Health, carved by sculptor Angel Rengel, 1998
Our Lady of Sorrows, carving by Rengel, 1998
Iglesia de San Pedro > Calle del Nuncio > Plaza de Puerta Cerrada > Calle de San Justo > Calle Sacramento > Plaza del Cordón > Calle del Cordón > Plaza de la Villa > Calle Mayor > Calle de Ciudad Rodrigo > Plaza Mayor > Calle Toledo > Cava Alta > Calle Grafal > Calle San Bruno > Cava Baja > Plaza de Puerta Cerrada > Calle del Nuncio > Iglesia de San Pedro
Jesus of Nazareth, 18th century carving by an anonymous sculptor
Blessed Mary, carving by Lourdes Hernández, 1999
Basilica de Nuestro Padre Jesus de Medinaceli > Plaza de Jesus > Calle del Duque de Medinaceli > Plaza de las Cortes > Carrera de San Jeronimo > Puerta del Sol > Calle de Alcala > Plaza de Cibeles > Paseo del Prado > Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo > Carrera de San Jerónimo > Calle del Duque de Medinaceli > Plaza de Jesus > Basilica de Nuestro Padre Jesus de Medinaceli
Image: Our Holy Father Jesus of Nazareth, 17th century anonymous carving
Real Iglesia de San Gines > Calle Arenal > Plaza de Isabel II > Calle de Vergara > Calle Carlos III > Plaza de Oriente> Calle Lepanto > Calle de los Milaneses > Calle Mayor > Puerta del Sol > Calle Arenal > Real Iglesia de San Gines.
At the Plaza de Oriente the cortege of the Recumbent Christ which will come out of the Monastery of the Incarnation on Plaza de la Encarnación 1, at 16.30 hours, will join up with the procession of the Virgin of Solitude . The enlarged procession will then proceed to Calle San Quintin > Calle de Pavia > Plaza de Oriente > Real Iglesia de San Gines.
Our Lady of Solitude, 18th century carving by Juan Pascual de Mena
The Recumbent Christ, 20th century carving from Talleres Olot
Procession dates and iteniraries: Semana Santa: Madrid 2014, a publication of the Madrid City government
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