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It is one of the six basilica churches in Madrid along with Basílica de Jesús de Medinaceli, San Francisco el Grande, St Michael’s Basilica, Basílica Hispanoamericana de Nuestra Señora de la Merced and Basílica de la Milagrosa.
On November 12th 1863, the Atocha church was given the Basilica status by the Pope Pio IX at the petition of Queen Isabel II. The current building dates from 1951 and has a rectangular plan of 52 by 34 meters with the central nave rising up to 13.25 meters featuring beautiful stained glass neo-Romanesque windows depicting Mysteries of the Rosary by Carlos Pascual de Lara. The main altar and the Virgin’s alcove were finished at a later date.
The Atocha Virgin is the oldest patron saint of the city and her cult is thought to date back to the age of the Visigoths. She was considered a protector of the Royal family and a patron saint of the monarchy, especially in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.