Turismo de Alcalá de Guadaíra

Churches and hermitages


As it happens with other Andalusian towns, urban development of Alcalá de Guadaíra from Late Middle Ages is tightly linked to the appearance of various ecclesiastic buildings: Churches, hermitages and convents. Some of them have disappeared in the course of the centuries, while other ones continue like examples of monumental architecture and treasures.

Primitive parish churches of Alcalá belong to the Mudéjar Period, dating back, in most of the cases, form the 14th century. There is a certain degree of discussion in connection with the date of Santa María's construction, placed in the higher neighbourhood of the Castle Hill. It has been traditionally stated the possible pre-existence of a mosque in the location of Santa María, although archaeological researches made at the surroundings of the church have ruled out the existence of an Andalusí city (madina), and no archaeological researches in the church have been made in order to allow knowing its origin.

Among the most remarkable elements of Santa María we find the bell tower, made with ashlars and brick. Its top was restored in the 1940s decade, but along with the main façade it allows us to classify the building in the group of Mudejar Sevillian churches of the 14th-15th centuries. A possible sign of an earlier date (second half of the 13th century) could be the wall fresco dedicated to Saint Matthew, located in the head of the southern nave of the church.

Churches and hermitages

Along the Late Middle Ages (14th-15th centuries) they rest of primitive parish churches of Alcalá are dated: San Miguel (St. Michael), Santiago el Mayor (St. James the Greater or St. Jacob) and San Sebastián (St. Sebastian). San Miguel arose like the parish church of the poor quarter of the same name, within the urban expansion of Alcalá during the 14th century. The building inside has been totally reconstructed, because there is documented record that at the beginning of the 20th century only the façade remained standing, as a consequence of the abandon of the poor quarter from the Modern Age.

In the cases of Santiago and San Sebastián, the Mudéjar buildings were widely transformed in the 18th century, modifying roofs and the general distribution of the buildings. San Sebastián's case is an example of hermitage turned into parish church during the Modern Age, as a consequence of the urban development of the northeast sector of Alcalá de Guadaíra. On the contrary, from the Alcalá's hermitages we know through documentary sources (San Roque -St. Rocco-, Santa Lucía -Saint Lucy- and Santa Catalina -Saint Catherine-), only San Roque's hermitage is left, placed on the hill of the same name, next to the beginning of the Road to Utrera.

Last kind of ecclesiastic buildings are the convents, among those that have reached our time there is Santa Clara (Saint Clair), at the Santa María del Águila Street. It did not happen that way with the San Francisco's (Saint Francis), missing in the last century under a contemporary building. And the case of the Convent of San Juan de Dios (St. John of God) is quite singular, as it is the Town House of Alcalá; the pictures from the cloister could be recovered a few years ago.

Santa María del Águila's Church
Originally Santa María Church constituted the parish church for the parishioners group of the same name, inside the Castle walls and core of the Village of Alcalá from its founding by the end of 13th century.
San Miguel Church
The now visible building is a complete reconstruction carried out during the 20th century, except for the main facade.
Santiago Church
The neighbourhood of Santiago was one of the first settlements outside the walls of Alcalá de Guadaíra, when the population of the parishes of Santa María and San Miguel begins to come down from the Castle Hill.
San Sebastián Church
The oldest news we have date back from the end of the 15th century, and correspond to the present-day preserved plan, of three naves of Late Mudejar style.
San Roque Hermitage
It is part of a former penitential route (Via Sacra or Via Crucis, Way of the Cross), of which still the small temples placed at the slope of the hill bear witness to.
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