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Convent of the Salesas Reales
Tomb of Ferdinand VI of Spain.

The Convent of the Salesas Reales refers to an 18th century architectural unit in central Madrid Spain. Formerly, a convent, specifically the Convent of the Visitación de Nuestra Señora (Visitation of Our Lady), which was constructed and occupied by the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, which had been founded by St. Francis de Sales and Jane Frances de Chantal. While the Santa Barbara temple is still in use, now as a parish church, the remainder of the complex now houses the Supreme Court of Spain.


The convent was founded in 1748 by Queen Barbara of Portugal, the wife of King Ferdinand VI as a school and home for young noble women. She not only sought to establish a convent, but also a convenient place where she could retire. The convent was designed by Francois Carlier, construction started in 1743, and the original plans were modified and completed by 1750 by Francisco Moradillo. In 1870, the nuns were evicted, and the building converted in the Palace of Justice. During the twentieth century, the palace-convent suffered two fires, and required restoration by Joaquín Roji. The stairwell at the entrance was completed in 1930, opening to the new Barbara de Braganza street.

The present building has a muted exterior compared to the original 18th century design, which while adhering to Neoclassic love of balanced and rigorous design, also was overflowing with decorative elements such as pilasters and lintels on every floor. In addition, unlike many convents, this building was full of windows. The convent commissioned by the Queen was derided in its time with the lines:

Barbara Reina; barbara obra; barbaro gusto; barbaro gasto.

which translates to:

Barbara Queen, barbarous work; barbarous taste; barbarous waste (expense).[1]

The church contains the funeral monuments for Fernando VI and his wife Bárbara de Braganza (Barbara of Portugal.


  1. ^ Art in Spain and Portugal, by Marcel Dieulafoy, Charles Scribner's Sons (1913).

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Coordinates: 40°25′29″N 3°41′37″W / 40.424589°N 3.693659°W / 40.424589; -3.693659



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