Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar

Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Antara Bate

24 Mar 2021
Image Credit: dsaprin / Shutterstock

About Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar

Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar was constructed in 1732 in a colonial style including a square tower and a dome.

Its interior includes a central nave opening up to two chapels. It sits across from the Recoleta Cemetery, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar History

Construction of the church was authorised in 1716 by royal decree of Felipe V of Spain. Merchant Juan de Narbona sponsored the building of the work under the condition that the church remain under the dedication to the Virgin of Pilar in memory and tribute to his hometown of Zaragoza Spain.

It is believed that Italian Jesuit Andrés Bianchi was the original architect on the project. The first cloister was finished in 1718 and the second in 1721. In 1725 the church was completed and the San Antonio de Padua bell was placed on the belfry in 1731. The 30-meter tower was completed and the church was inaugurated on 12 October 1732. It is the oldest church in the city, preserved in its original Baroque style. The Franciscan Bishop of Asunción de Paraguay consecrated the church on 30 May 1734.

In 1821, Governor Martín Rodríguez and his Minister of Government Bernardino Rivadavia expelled the Recollect friars and expropriated their property. The convent was closed for years and the Recoleta Cemetery was created on the site that had been its garden. The Recoleta Cultural Centre was created on the site of other monastic dependencies. On 18 November 1829, it became a parish and Pope Pius XI elevated it to the dignity of a minor basilica in 1936.

Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar was declared a National Historic Monument in 1942. In 1994, a restoration project of the church began, recovering the white colour on its façade, as the enhancement of each altar.

Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar Today

Inside the building, there is a small museum area home to religious vestaments, paintings, writings and artefacts. There are views of the Recoleta cemetery and in the courtyard, as you enter, a tiled artwork depicts 1794 Buenos Aires.

Getting to Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar

The Basilica is situated in Recoleta district in the Barrio Norte area, to the immediate right of the Recoleta Cemetery. The Agüero and Facultad de Medicina underground stations are both in walking distance.

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