The church is extremely old, dating back to the 12th century. It became the oldest church in Madrid after the demolition of the medieval church of Santa María la Real de la Almudena, which was built on the site of the old Aljama mosque of Mayrit. It has been a national monument since 1931.
The church dates from the 15th century and preserves a number of medieval features. The nave and chapels are 17th century and the lovely granite entrance porch with the image of San Nicolás by sculptor Luis Salvador Carmona dates from the early 18th century. Architecturally speaking, the 12th century Mudéjar tower is topped by a 17th century spire.
San Nicolás church used to be the final resting place of Juan de Herrera, favourite architect of King Philip II, for whom he designed the palace and monastery of El Escorial, overseeing the work himself. Herrera's remains were transferred to his home town of Santander some time ago.
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