Basilica : Michelin's recommendations
The door of this basilica, carved out of the rock face itself, is crowned by a Pietà sculpted by Juan de Ávalos. The bronze doors open onto a fine wrought-iron screen decorated with 40 statues of Spanish saints and soldiers. Beyond lies the immense 262m-long nave (compared to 182m for St Peter's in Rome) lined with chapels, between which have been hung copies of 16C Brussels tapestries representing the Apocalypse. Above each chapel stands an alabaster statue of the Virgin Mary. The mosaic on the cupola, 42m in diameter, shows the heroes, martyrs and saints of Spain approaching Christ in majesty and the Virgin Mary. The lovely painted wood figure of Christ, set against a tree trunk, is the work of Beovides. Such is the setting for the remains of the 40 000 soldiers and civilians from both sides who died during the Civil War. At the foot of the altar are the funerary stones of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falangist Party, and General Franco.