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Guadix, known as Colonia Iulia Gemella Acci to the Romans and Wadi-As to the Arabs, is a city blessed by its prime geographical location, by a wealth of monuments and by its historical centre. Its main attraction is the landscape, nestling at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in a site known as the “Hoya de Guadix”, a depression surrounded by spectacular stacks of clayey soil which, for centuries, have been moulded by the wind, the water and by the hand of man. With the passing seasons, the landscape becomes a varied collage of reds, ochres, greens, blues, whites and greys, a gift to the eyes and to the spirit.
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DISCOVER GUADIX. 1. Monumental Guadix 1st edition, March 2011 © Centro de Iniciativas Turísticas de la Comarca de Guadix © Text: José Manuel Gómez-Moreno Calera © Photography: José Manuel Gómez-Moreno Calera (G-MC) A.D.R. Comarca de Guadix (ADR) Antonio López Marcos (LM) Cartography: Edantur S.L. Design and layout: DSIGNUM Estudi Grafic, s.l. (Barcelona) Translation: AXIOMA SERVICIOS TRADUCCIÓN Y CONSULTORÍA, SL ISBN: 978-84-935722-4-2 Deposit copy: B-19520-2011
Centro de Iniciativas Turísticas de la Comarca de Guadix Ctra. de Murcia, s/n (Antigua Azucarera) 18500 Guadix (Granada) Tel. & Fax: 958665070 – 958665191 e-mail: email@example.com www.guadixymarquesado.com
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MONUMENTAL GUADIX José Manuel Gómez-Moreno Calera
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▇ A short historical review
▇ FIRST ITINERARY: Monumental Guadix
1. The Cathedral
2. Plaza de la Constitución, or the “Plaza de las Palomas” or “Plaza de los Corregidores”
3. Calle Ancha
4. Church of Santiago
5. Peñaflor Palace
7. La Alcazaba Ceramics Cave-Museum
8. Paseo de la Muralla
9. Placeta del Álamo and Plaza del Conde Luque: the Latin Quarter
10. Palace of the Marquis of Villalegre
11. Calle Santa María del Buen Aire
▇ SECOND ITINERARY: The Caves of Guadix
1. Ferro Tower and the Arabic city walls
2. Monument to Cascamorras
3. The Magdalena neighbourhood and belvedere
4. The Cave Quarter
5. Plaza Ermita Nueva
6. Cerro de la Bala Belvedere
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INTRODUCTION An ancient city opens up before us. Guadix is the past and the present. Situated in a very pleasant location, it is the meeting point of many roads, and this may be why it was chosen by the Romans as a settlement for the veterans of two of their legions. To stroll through its narrow, twisting streets takes us far back to a time of cool summer nights alternating with the bustling life of Moslem merchants selling their wares in the bazaar and the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer from the minaret of the Great Mosque. Later, the Christians built numerous town palaces, churches, monasteries and convents and, presiding over it all, the imposing Cathedral, an extraordinary example of architectural dynamism and one of the most beautiful examples of religious building in Andalusia. The most agreeable sensations are to be experienced on a visit to the impressive monuments of Guadix, carving memories in our hearts, where they will find a place and will live on in the echoes of our recollections. This guide invites us to immerse ourselves in this city and to enjoy it. Through two routes, one on foot through the historic city centre and the other by car through the peculiar and picturesque Cave Quarter, you will discover the most important sights and the hidden charms of the city. With this publication, the Centre for Tourism Initiatives of the Guadix District inaugurates a series of historical and artistic guides that will, step-by-step, reveal the rich, varied cultural heritage of our district, in a series of routes through all of our territory, so that those who visit us can feel for this land what we, those who live here, feel for it.
Centro de Iniciativas TurĂsticas de la Comarca de Guadix
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M O N U M E N TA L Introduction Guadix, known as Colonia Iulia Gemella Acci to the Romans and Wadi-As to the Arabs, is a city blessed by its prime geographical location, by a wealth of monuments and by its historical centre. Its main attraction is the landscape, nestling at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in a site known as the “Hoya de Guadix”, a depression surrounded by spectacular stacks of clayey soil which, for centuries, have been moulded by the wind, the water and by the hand of man. With the
passing seasons, the landscape becomes a varied collage of reds, ochres, greens, blues, whites and greys, a gift to the eyes and to the spirit. The city itself is made up of closely-packed houses huddling together, presided over by the imposing Cathedral and the proud Alcazaba, the old Moorish fortress, behind which the town peters out until it blends with the broken, tortuous landscape of the badlands. Guadix is both a historical and a monumental city. It is the past and the present, often locked in an unequal struggle, but it
Panoramic view of Guadix.
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can still today offer a perfect blend of aristocratic and popular, secular and religious architecture, in an urban environment with no end of contrasts to surprise the visitor at every turn. The monumental and institutional focal point, side by side and forming the frontier between the old and the modern city, is the porticoed square, the Plaza de la Constitución and the Cathedral. These are two architectural complexes of enormous artistic and historical value. The Plaza de la Constitución is the main square and the heart of the city, with the elegant balcony of the Town Hall (previously the balcony of the Corregimiento) being a fine example of its architectural quality and prestige. Just beside it, the Cathedral forms an outstanding medley of artistic styles and history. At the very first glimpse, it conveys surprise and a sense of domination, with its dazzling facade and its soaring tower. Entering the historical city centre, with its winding streets and hidden corners, we find numerous townhouses and palaces, with escutcheons over the doors and corner towers topped with graceful brick galleries. These houses bear witness to the noble Guadix and its aristocratic, cultured past. There is probably no other city in Andalusia with a higher proportion of noble architecture in comparison to domestic constructions, although the scale of the buildings and their external sobriety often make this hard to perceive. Among the notable collection of churches and convents in the city, the Mudejar tradition has left us surprising examples such as the parish church of Santiago, with its capricious doorway and its original internal design, the churches of Santa Ana, San Miguel and the Magdalena, 12
and the old monastery churches of Santo Domingo and San Francisco, with splendid polychrome timber framing: here we can sense the religious and festive dimensions of Guadix. Going back in time, an eminent witness to the city’s mediaeval Islamic past, standing tall at the highest point of the city, is the impressive, reddish mass of the Alcazaba fortress. Around it, the streets of small houses are an urban legacy dating back to mediaeval times and to early modernity, with short, no-through roads branching off other very long roads, which are always curved or dog-legged, opening out into different corners, small squares or open spaces, together making up a true labyrinth. But even more surprising than this, and for many people the most exceptional feature of the city, is the famous “Barrio de las Cuevas”, the Cave Quarter, one of the largest areas of its type in Europe. In the past, it was a deprived area, suffering acute poverty, but it is now becoming, not without friction, an alternative area which offers picturesque attractions to the visitor. The recuperation and valorisation of the caves in all of this area has allowed them to be exploited for rural tourism. As well as this, strolling through the streets of Guadix, we find more traces of its rich historical past, such as the Pósito (granary), the Lonja (market) and the Royal Hospital. The Imagen and Mensafíes arches and the San Torcuato Gate, in their simplicity, bear witness to the comings and goings of the people, of their experiences and their devotion. The Ferro Tower and the remains of the city walls in front
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M O N U M E N TA L of the old church of San Miguel are a faithful testimony to an important fortified city whose remains can still be found in the subsoil, rich with archaeological remains. Different hermitages and fountains are to be found here and there, dotted among the houses. Museums of the arts (the Cathedral Museum) and folklore (the Alcazaba Ceramics Museum and the Cave Museum) tell us of the artists and artisans of Guadix. We can see all of this in close-up as we stroll through the streets or at a distance, from the strategic belvedere of La Magdalena or the Cerro de la Bala, prime spots from which we can get a full idea of this exceptional city and its unequalled surroundings.
A short historical review The first stable settlement on the site of todayâ€™s historic city centre belonged to the Argaric culture, in the Bronze Age, at the beginning of the second millennium BC. In the following millennium, a proto-Iberian settlement has been identified and, later, another fully-developed Iberian settlement, which even boasted paved streets and which would later be absorbed by the Roman city. Unusually, it was built on the pre-existing indigenous structure. This was the Colonia Iulia Gemella Acci, established shortly before 27 BC in the area between the Alcazaba and the main square and Cathedral. Its citizens enjoyed ius italicum, the highest legal
Archaeological excavation of a Roman street in the old city centre.
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status that put the inhabitants of the colony on the same footing as those of the cities in what was later to become Italy. Recent arqueological excavations and findings in different streets and squares (San Miguel, Concepci贸n, Palacio, Hospital Real, Plaza de las Palomas, etc.) have revealed significant remains of houses, city walls, ceramics, capitals and coins as well as
essential infrastructure such as aqueducts, sewers, water pipes, thermae, etc., which give us an idea of the importance of this Roman city. Its location on the natural route between the Spanish Levant and Andalusia was a key factor in its economic prosperity, although the fall of the Roman Empire represented its first great crisis prior to the arrival of Islam.
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M O N U M E N TA L The spread of Christianity bolstered the city’s privileged position: Bishop Felix of Guadix presided over the famous Synod of Elvira at the beginning of the 4th century, and there are also literary references and evidence from coins which indicate the existence of several Visigoth temples, such as the Temple of the Holy Cross in the Magdalena district or the episcopal see with its Cathedral dedicated to St John. In the early Islamic period (8th - 10th centuries), there is documented evidence of the presence of a Mozarabic community. The popular belief in the evangelisation by St Torquatus, one of the Seven Apostolic Men, and the conversion of St Luparia, the first Christian martyr in Guadix, originates from this period. Some authors believe that the Alcazaba and its first defensive structures date from this time. From the 11th and 12th centuries onwards, Guadix, the Wadi-As to be found in Arabic chronicles, was a fully-fledged city (what in the Arabic culture was known as a madina), protected by city walls and with plentiful water, as witnessed by the 12th-century geographer al-Idrisi. In this period, the city walls and gates were built or reinforced for strategic purposes or to improve economic control, the city neighbourhoods were organised, with their local mosques, fountains, baths and ovens, and the main mosque was built in the commercial zone of the city, next to the Jewish quarter and the alcaicería, or silk merchants’ quarter. The city saw the peak of its economic prosperity and population in the Nasrid period, the last vestige of the old greatness of al-Andalus.
In late 1489, the city capitulated to Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic Monarchs, and this was followed by significant social and urban reorganisation. The initial coexistence and permissiveness ended almost immediately with a rising which was soon crushed, after which the Mudejars (the Muslims who retained their privileges, religion and customs under Christian rule) were expelled from the city centre to the outlying districts of Magdalena, Santiago, Santa Ana and the caves. The population living in caves increased after the Morisco rebellion of 1568, and this allowed the return of some Moriscos as they were confused with other disadvantaged peoples, such as the Roma. From this time onwards, there is a clear social, economic and architectural split which can still be seen today in the peculiar urban layout of Guadix. The city was organised in three zones which even today can be clearly seen in the historical city centre: the urban centre (perfectly delimited and which occupies almost exclusively our sightseeing visit); the historical outskirts stretching east and west; and, lastly, the caves, a very large area that was marginalised and independent for centuries, and which is an historical and social reality in its own right, although administratively it has always formed part of the parishes of Santiago and the Magdalena. The new city was organised administratively and religiously around the parishes of the historical neighbourhoods, such as the parishes of Santiago, Santa Ana, San Miguel, the Magdalena (which no longer exists), and the SagrarioCathedral. Unusually, in the original urban centre, the centre of the Roman colony and the Islamic Medina, there has Monumental
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never existed any parish other than the Cathedral itself, with the other parishes being opened on the sites of the smaller mosques in the outskirts, close to the gates of the walled city centre. The same can be said of the original convents and monasteries which were related to the conquest: the Monastery of San Francisco to the south-east, below Santiago and in the prosperous neighbourhood of the city; the Monastery of Santo Domingo to the west, also outside the city walls, above San Miguel and close to the Cave Quarter. Towards the mid16th century, a convent of the Order of St Clare was founded next to the church
of Santiago, and later the Convent of the Concepci贸n was established. In the late 16th and 17th centuries, the Jesuit College of St Torquatus, the Augustinian monastery and the Franciscan monastery of San Diego, (today the Convent of the Presentaci贸n) were established. Throughout the 16th century, the city gradually became Christianised, but this is only an institutional change because the Moriscos (the Mudejars who had converted to Christianity), their way of life, traditions and art were still very clearly present, and their architecture and artisan skill are an excellent example of their abilities and their cultural legacy.
Convent of the Concepci贸n and the Alcazaba from the Cathedral.
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M O N U M E N TA L The churches, monasteries and convents, palaces and commoners’ houses show the enormous weight of Mudejar tradition since, with the exception of the Renaissance cathedral and the first attempt to remodel the Plaza de la Constitución, all of the parish churches, monasteries, convents and even aristocratic dwellings built in the 16th century show clear evidence of mediaeval construction techniques and aesthetics. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the new Baroque style came to dominate, especially in the monasteries and convents (San Torcuato, San Augustín and Santo Domingo) and in the new palaces, though without entirely abandoning the architectural tradition, which was essentially masonry construction, so typical of Guadix. In these buildings, the most remarkable element, which is characteristic of Guadix and the surrounding area, are the splendid timber frames, and in which the polychrome decoration is unique in its virtuosity and originality. In the 17th century, Guadix sought its historical identity and institutional legitimacy, reinforcing the role of the Corregimiento, or town council, as can be seen in the balcony that today looks out over this square. The city also reinforced its ecclesiastical role, a result of the decrees issued by the Council of Trent, reaffirming its authority over the religious orders, which were themselves reinforced by the arrival of the relics of San Torcuatos. But the essentially agricultural and artisan economy of the town sank deep in the great crisis affecting the economy of Spain under the so-called “lesser Habsburgs”, the crisis was even deeper here, as the city had not recovered from the expulsion of the Moriscos,
who left a vacuum that was not filled by the new transplanted population. In the 18th century, as in the rest of Spain, Guadix enjoyed a certain degree of economic prosperity and a growth in population. Its most ambitious building project, the Cathedral, was finished and new palaces were built, others were reformed, the granary was reconstructed and enlarged, the churches were filled with images and reredos, the new Seminary was built opposite the Cathedral and, in the streets, there was, at least sporadically, a festive atmosphere. However, social and economic inequalities deepened and marginalisation was still a serious social problem. The Napoleonic invasion and the crisis of the 19th century were a heavy blow to the institutional identity and the urban fabric of Guadix. Although it was still a judicial and religious centre, it lost prestige on the national stage, the nobility sought new homes and the city lost the Corregimiento. Paradoxically, the population grew sharply, since agriculture and new industries attracted significant immigration that was to continue into the first few decades of the following century, affecting both the outlying areas (the Alquife mines) and the city of Guadix itself. In any event, the stagnation of the city is evident and it lost its value as a crossroads and a main route between the Spanish Levant and Eastern Andalusia, since the new means of communication made it redundant. The city, which was still the district capital, expanded but only on specific streets and only towards the plains, with hardly any change in the old structure of the historical city centre, which stagnated and went into slow decline. Monumental
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F I R S T I T I N E R A RY
Cathedral. General view.
The Cathedral is the most important historical monument in Guadix. From whichever direction we approach the city, it stands out, proud and dominant, made entirely of excellent freestone (except the upper parts of the tower). Its construction took from the 16th to the 18th century, with long periods of inactivity, and as a result, the Cathedral has elements from all of the styles seen in the modern period: Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque and Neoclassical. However, the great leap forward in its construction took place in the 18th century and, consequently, some of the elements and parts built previously were
to some extent blended or masked by the Baroque aesthetics which were dominant at that time. On the outside, the styling is more unified but, inside, some of the elements dating back to the first stages of construction, such as the Gothic vaults or the engaged columns of the ambulatory, remained and were used as a model for the continuation of construction in the 18th century for reasons of functionality and aesthetic balance. This fusion of styles could have produced a hybrid, ungainly building but, nevertheless, as very rarely occurs, its complex stylistic balance has produced an exotic rarity that is today its greatest attraction. Monumental
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The construction of the Cathedral Dedicated to the Encarnación de la Virgen in 1492, it was built on the site of the old main mosque, as was usual in the newly-conquered cities. As the mosque was too small and the space was inadequate for its purpose, a first body in Gothic style was built between 1510 and 1520. This construction corresponds to today’s choir and its two side-chapels. The vaulted ceilings are the most recognisable element since the pillars are partly hidden under the 18th century decoration. Shortly after, the Cathedral was extended towards the west end with another Gothic section, but it was in 1549 when Diego de Siloé, of Burgos, then the master builder of Granada Cathedral and the Monastery of San Jerónimo, designed a new Cathedral in the Renaissance style. With these new plans, construction of the east end began, raising the external perimeter, the walls of the lower body of the tower and the round Chapel of St Torquatus. In 1568, the breakout of the Morisco rebellion and the crisis sparked by their subsequent expulsion set back work until the late 16th century, when there was a half-hearted attempt to resume. It was then that the architect, Juan de la Vega, a master of the Royal Works in Granada, was called in. He designed the ovalshaped main chapel, but work was again interrupted due to lack of funds. In the following decades, the second section of the tower and the vault of the sacristy were completed, but work was again stopped in 1632. During all of this time, and until the 18th century, worship took place in 20
the old building, which was half mosque, half Gothic temple. In the early 18th century, building work recommenced, and this time it was to continue until it was finished. The third section of the tower was completed in 1710, the date which appears above the bells. In 1713, Philip V granted the Chapter free use of one-eighth of the tithes of the bishopric in order to continue building, in gratitude for having supported him in the War of Succession. The master builder of the Cathedral of Jaen, Blas Antonio Delgado, drew up plans for its continuation and he is largely responsible for the configuration of the Cathedral as we see it today. He appointed Vicente Acero as master builder, who restarted work on the east end, closed the ambulatory, raised the next section, with its side chapels, and began work on the pillars of the dome. This stage is recalled in the outer windows next to the round chapel, in the inscriptions “año 1717”, below, and “Agosto de 1718”, above. In 1719, Acero was replaced by the then works master, Gaspar Cayón de la Vega, whose skill was complemented by that of the renowned architect and reredos artist, Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo, who introduced some innovations in the design of the dome (without a drum), the method of joining the new parts with the old and the formal solution he found for the pillars. Cayón continued in charge of building work for several decades, but there arose a curious situation in which Acero, who had been named architect of the Cathedral of Cadiz, also abandoned
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his work there, and Gaspar Cayón was again appointed to take his place. And so, over the following decades, both master builders, Acero and Cayón, took turns in charge of the building of the Cathedral in Guadix since, in Cayón’s lengthy absences, Acero took charge of work, resolving any doubts and finding specific solutions to problems, since he still enjoyed the full confidence of the Chapter. Today, it is quite difficult to determine exactly who is responsible for the design of some sections of the building, since the two architects’ work overlaps and no copies of their designs have survived. Broadly, it can be held that the general idea for the project was the work of Delgado, the pillars and dome were by Hurtado, the side chapels, the St James door and the main facade were by Acero and the St Torquatus door is, clearly, by Cayón, as is the technical solution given to the pillars, load-bearing walls, vaults and roofs.
At last, in 1730, the dome was finished and in 1738 the east end was joined to the Gothic part and the new main chapel was ready for worship. Over the following decades, construction continued towards the west end until the whole of the Gothic part was incorporated into the new Cathedral, as can be seen from the dates on the outer windows (1740 to 1757, on the left-hand side, and 1746 in the windows in the upper rooms of the Museum). In the following years, some of the auxiliary rooms were finished and some complementary articles for worship were commissioned, such as the pulpits and the stalls. A fire in the tower in 1747 destroyed the vault of the sacristy, which had to be rebuilt, together with the walls, slowing down the rest of the construction work but, in the end, the first section of the facade was raised between 1754 and 1762, the second from 1762 to 1767 and the third between 1767 and 1770. The top was designed by the architect Domingo Thomás and finished in 1799, the date that appears in the upper medallion on the facade and which represents the crowning moment and the end of the construction of the Cathedral. The peak of the spire, the railings that protect the facade and the sculpture of the Sacred Heart in the tower are from the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively. External description The most notable feature of the exterior of the Cathedral is its compact volume, robust tower and the architectural strength of its buttresses, which mark out the chapels and counteract the forces generated by the vaults, two lateral doorways and, above all, the main facade. This great Monumental
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facade, called the Anunciación, is one of the most suggestive aesthetic elements and one of the most original works of Spanish Baroque. Without doubt, the most original aspect is the placing of the skewed buttresses,
with groups of three engaged columns, acting as a buttress, which makes the appearance of the structural support very much lighter. This is a technique that Acero and Cayón also used in the Cathedral of Cadiz.
Cathedral. Main facade.
The first body has composite columns, the second, Corinthian, while the third body is made to appear lighter and more uplifting through the use of estipites around the medallion with the Royal Shield and the commemorative inscription. The facade is capped by a riotously capricious cornice and crowned with a multitude of pyramids and balls, a fanciful festoon on this large, light 22
screen. The personality of this facade is further accentuated by the absence of the towers that usually flank cathedral facades. The iconography of the facade is of great interest. The first body is dedicated to St Peter and the Seven Apostolic Men, whose sculptures are a recent work by Mª Ángeles Lázaro. The second is dedicated to the Vir-
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Of the side doors, the artistic quality of the door on Calle Santa Maria stands out. It is dedicated to St James the Apostle and was carved by Francisco Moreno in the mid-18th century. Of note is the positioning of the engaged columns, the beautiful angel that crowns the arch of the door, the carving of the mouldings on the arch, entablature and cornice, and the decorated festoon that surrounds the niche housing the image of the Holy Pilgrim. To its left, we can see a Roman stone incrusted in the wall with an allusion to Aurelio Vero.
Cathedral. Detail of St James’s door.
gin, centred on a marble relief of the Incarnation, the work of Antonio Mo–yano from 1765, accompanied by emblems representing Mary on the panels of the buttresses surrounded by leaf motifs. The third is presided over by the shield of the Bourbons in recognition of their magnanimity and, further up, there is a commemorative inscription and the date 1799.
Cathedral. Roman inscription next to the St James’s door.
The St Torquatus door is much simpler, though its unusual design is worth noting, with the second body on the cornice and a sharp slope in the terrain with a wide perron. This side is flanked to the left by the old Chapter House and to the right by the soaring tower. The Cathedral tower, together with the red silhouette of the Alcazaba, is one of the most emblematic images of Guadix. The first section of the tower was finished in 1556, the second, made of brick, in 1626, and the belfry and the small base upon which it sits, in 1710, as witnessed by the inscriptions in its frieze. Construction of the spire began at the same time, but it was reformed in the 19th century and the Sacred Heart was put into place in 1945. Monumental
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Description of the interior and the Cathedral Treasury
The interior of the Cathedral can help us better to understand its organisation and its stylistic complexity. It consists of three naves separated by composite pillars, a crossing that does not extend beyond the sides nor the height, and the east end, which consists of the main chapel and another section which was added to enlarge and illuminate it, skirted by an ambulatory in five sections which communicates with the presbytery by means of narrow semicircular arches. The vaults are all groin vaults except that of the main chapel and the adjacent stretch which has a cupola. This position of vaults is notable, especially the richness of the construction and the original positioning, between the Great Chapel and the transept, of the cupola on pendentives with decorations that illuminate the interior with some original alveole-shaped abutjours and a small lantern.
Cathedral. Interior and choir.
The pillars of this Cathedral are curious in that, towards the central nave and under the formeret, the capitals are Corinthian, while those of the side naves are Doric, in order to harmonise with the pilasters of the ambulatory, which also condition the capitals of the pilasters that flank the adjacent chapels. Likewise, differences can be seen in the pilasters behind the columns and in the angles of the setback of these pillars, since those of the ambulatory, main chapel and crossing are rectangular, while those in the Gothic zone are circular. It is not widely known that the shafts of the pillars along the nave are carved in plaster and they cover the original Gothic pillars, of which only the circular mouldings between the columns remain. In contrast, in the vaults of the east end, there is a series of decorations superimposed onto the vaults to harmonise them, in this case with the original Gothic vaults. Beside the Gothic and Renaissance flavour of the vaults and Doric columns, mentioned above, the windows, vaults and decoration of the side chapels are full-flown Baroque, with broken pediments and spans, volutes and spiral decorationsb, bandages, sills and very beautiful, varied decoration. The great altar is presided over by a Neoclassical tabernacle with a small, late 18th century image in the style of Alonso Cano representing the Immaculate Conception, by Domingo Lois de Monteagudo, who also designed the rood screen, which dates from the same period. Above the arches which communicate with the ambulatory, there are
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five paintings showing scenes from the life of the Virgin, from around 17301738, well composed and competently painted, though somewhat cold and dark. Dynamic, corpulent angels bearing lamps, by Torcuato Ruiz del Peral, hang from the main pillars. On the outer perimeter of the ambulatory there are three chapels dedicated to St Fandilas, the Incarnation and St Sebastian, all three with 18th century reredos, though the images are modern. At the beginning of the ambulatory is the access to the sacristy, with a 16th century doorway whose upper portion was remodelled in the 18th century, and on the opposite side is the Chapel of St Torcuato, which was designed by Diego de Siloé as a pantheon for an illustrious local family, but it was not finished until the 18th century, when it was dedicated to the first Bishop and evangeliser of Guadix. The archway giving access to this Chapel is notable for the magnificent placement of its skewed voussoirs, a tribute to the geometrical skills of the stonemasons of the 16th century. Inside, double Ionic columns separate the spaces for the reredos where there are saints of special importance to Guadix, such as St Torquatus in the centre, with the relief of St Luparia above it and, to the sides, spaces dedicated to Bishop Medina Olmos and Father Poveda, who were recently canonised. The vaults are decorated with a profusion of branch designs and Baroque mouldings. Other particularly sumptuous and interesting elements in this Cathedral are the two pulpits and the choir stalls. The pulpits were made by Ruiz del Peral in 1737, showing great vir-
tuosity, and made with encrusted, coloured marble, agate, porphyry and jasper, depicting prophets and other biblical figures, all decapitated except Moses; the seat backs and abat-voix are made of gilded wood, with profuse moulding. The choir stalls were begun in 1744 and their backs bore beautiful carvings by Ruiz del Peral, Salazar, Trujillo, Felipe González and Moyano. Destroyed in 1936, new stalls by Asenjo Fenoy are today being fitted. Of the original, the relief of the Crowned Assumption still remains, and above it the sculpture of St Torquatus, capped by a vase of lilies. The richness of the canopies and the filigree in the seats, carved in walnut, is of note in the choir. The Baroque organ has been totally renovated since 1940. In front of the Neoclassical rood screen, carved in coloured marble, there is a fine copy of Michealangelo's Pietà, which is to be seen in the Vatican, restored in 2000 by Mª Ángeles Lázaro. Cathedral Museum Inaugurated in 2001, the Cathedral Museum offers a selection of paintings, sculptures, gold and silver work, embroidery and documents. Among the notable paintings is a collection of Baroque works on copper showing biblical themes and a double Trinity, in the style of Risueño. There are outstanding sculptures by Ruiz del Peral and his school, especially one of Our Lady of Sorrows, and an Immaculate Conception by José de Mora. The collection of gold and silver work is of notable quality, including three monstrances with complicated handiwork, Monumental
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several Renaissance and Baroque ciboria and chalices, a processional cross with numerous medallions and Mannerist ornamentation, a piece of great value made in 1581 by Cristóbal de Ribas, and, of great devotional and historical value, the reliquary which holds the arm of St Torquatus. Sagrario On the right flank of the Cathedral is the temple of the tabernacle. It was constructed from 1765 to 1791, with traces of work by Gaspar Cayón and
finished by Fernández Pachote. It has a more austere style than the rest of the Cathedral and is less ornate. On the outside, it has plain walls, lightened only by a doorway finished in 1770 and among whose decoration there are several Eucharistic emblems (ears of wheat, vines, lambs, monstrance). In its bare, but well-ordered interior, there are Neoclassical reredos designed by Domingo Lois with modern copies of originals by Titian, El Greco, Murillo and Tiepolo painted by Jesús Valverde, a painter from Guadix, in 1951.
Plaza de la Constitución (or “Plaza de las Palomas” or “Plaza de los Corregidores”)
This square is one of the most fortunate urban creations of old Guadix, although the regular layout we see
Plaza de la Constitución or Plaza de las Palomas.
today, completely porticoed, is the result of a historicist remodelling that took place in the mid-20th century.
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Plaza de la Constitución or Plaza de las Palomas. Detail of the Town Hall balcony.
In Islamic times, this spot was crammed with shops, workshops and stores, in the area known as the Puerta Alta de Baza, one of the city’s main gateways. Along the northern and eastern side ran the mediaeval wall, of which some remains have recently been found, together with other Roman remains, which speak of the historical importance of this part of the town. After the Christian settlement in the 16th century, it became a centre for administration and political representation, with the Town Hall, Corregimiento, the gaol and other important services being installed here, such as butchers, the slaughterhouse, fishmongers and the granary, as well as some shops and businesses and the pillory for public executions. From very early times, the Plaza was intended to be a porticoed main square, and shops installed here were obliged to construct porticoes
on the facade, but its transformation into an area of greater nobility began in the mid-16th century. In 1547, a contract between the stonemasons, Juan García de Gibaja and Juan Ruiz, and a haulier to supply stone for their work in this square could be for the construction of the porticoes, since the capitals and arches coincide with the style prevalent at this time. The Town Hall was built in the 16th century on its present site, and it had a balcony that was removed in the 19th century in order to make space for a new room. In front of it, on the side that looks onto the Cathedral, was the Palace of the Corregidores, whose monumental balcony stretching the width of building now graces the Town Hall. It was built by the stonemason Juan Caderas de Riaño and the sculptors Juan de Freila and Pedro de Mezcua and was finished in 1606. Monumental
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Its most notable feature is the wide balcony from the Palace of the Corregidores, with the inscription recalling its construction in 1606 and the royal arms above in the centre and, to the sides, the arms of Guadix and of the Corregidor under whose mandate the construction of this magnificent building took place. The entrance passageway to the square was also remodelled and decorated with a neo-Escorial doorway to allow vehicle traffic and facilitate communication with the Cathedral square. From the balconies of the Corregimiento and the Town Hall and other buildings around the square, the municipal authorities and neighbours would watch the public events (including bullfights), religious and popular celebrations and political proclamations which took place here. Today, it is still a place of recreation, rest and trade, and is at its most festive during the different events and important public holidays in the city.
The square suffered several fires during Spanish Civil War which affected some of the buildings. Starting in the 1940s, the square was remodelled and it was then that the entire perimeter was closed with stonework and the balcony of the Palace of the Corregidores was taken down and installed in the current Town Hall. The oldest and most original parts of the square are the thirteen arches on the left hand side (looking towards the Town Hall) which were the model for the rest. The plaza is rectangular in shape, delimited by robust columns with smooth shafts and highly stylised Ionic capitals discharging baskethandle arches and brackets with acanthus leaves. In the spandrels, the emblems of the Catholic Monarchs (which are also those of the city itself) alternate with the coat of arms of Charles V, with its powerful, crowned two-headed eagle.
Plaza de la Constituci贸n or Plaza de las Palomas. Coat of arms of Charles V.
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Through the arch to the right of the Town Hall, we walk down the zigzagging Calle Magistral Domínguez (named after a prominent member of the Cathedral’s Chapter House), until we come to Calle Ancha. This street was the old creek or wash that used to run parallel to the city walls, which rose up to meet the Puerta Alta, or Rambla Gate, at the corner of the Peñaflor Palace in the Plaza de Santia– go. It was thoroughly renovated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as can clearly be seen in its buildings, whose facades reflect 19th century taste and moderate modernism. Some old buildings were remodelled and hidden under modern facades and, a few years ago, concealed remains of the Old Trading Market, which was thought to have disappeared, were discovered. This build-
ing has three double arches on robust circular pillars, all of brick, which are very similar to those found in the churches of Santa Ana and Santiago. These arches had an inscription dated 1563 and the arms of the city and of Charles V. Next to them, in the street that runs behind today’s Town Hall, is the old Royal Granary, (which was used to store wheat and grain which was then loaned or used to pay workers and citizens in times of shortage). In other places, the granary is known by different names such as cilla or alhorí. The upper part still conserves the characteristic bonded brickwork with rammed earth walls, typical of historic buildings in Guadix, with a stone relief in the centre decorated with leaf motifs, the arms of the city and an inscription dating it in 1759 and bearing the following words:
THIS BUILDING WAS CONSTRUCTED IN THE REIGN OF FERDINAND VI BY ORDER OF THE ILLUSTRIOUS MARQUIS OF CAMPO DE VILLAR, OF HIS MAJESTY’S COUNCIL, SECRETARY OF STATE BY GRACE AND JUSTICE, THE PRESIDENT GENERAL OF GRANARIES OF THE REALM. YEAR MDCCLIX
Below there is another stone, in this case Roman, with the following text: FAVSTINE AUGVSTAE ANTONINI AUG[USTO] PII FIL. COLIVLGEM ACCIS;
And below these words, in more modern letters and with a shallower incision, the following words were added: G-MC
INVENTVS AÑO MDCCLIX Coat of arms of the city and inscription on the old Granary.
That is, the same year as the upper inscription. Monumental
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In front, at an attractive angle, is the Martos Palace, with an 18th-century façade in which the elegant doorway and upper balcony stand out and the vaulted cornice is capped by large shells. Further up the street, there are
a number of buildings and businesses that bear witness to this street’s history as one of the most affluent and commercial streets in the city until it was overtaken by the Avenida Medi– na Olmos area.
Church of Santiago
The area around the church of San– tiago is one of the most suggestive and charming corners of old Guadix. Two buildings have played the main role in the institutional and monumental history of this is square. At the higher end, the Peñaflor Palace stands dominant and proud against the crest which forms the terrain at this spot, making a magnificent backdrop. A zigzag path, with a small pillar at the beginning, communicates this hill with the lower part, a garden square, opposite the parish church of San– tiago and the monastery of the same name. Above this square and on its eastern side, there are neighbourhoods which are not included in this route around Monumental Guadix, but which offer visitors new surprises and sights that will help to understand the weight of history and the picturesque charm hidden in this unique city. This is the case of Calle Santiago and the Plaza del Osario (“Ossuary Square”, a curious name that evokes the existence of an old macaber, or Muslim cemetery), or Calle Moral, Calle de la Cruz and Calle de la Solana, which provide an excellent view of the “Barrio de las Cuevas”, the Cave Quarter. 30
Below the square, we come to the Plaza de San Francisco, where we find one of the oldest monasteries and churches in Guadix. Further to the east, the parish church of Santa Ana, with a beautiful early Renaissance portal and, around it, the neighbourhood of the same name with noble old townhouses, among which the house with the curious arch of the Image stands out. This is the old Fiñana Gate which marked the limit of the second walled area of the ancient city.
Church of Santiago, interpretation of the designs of Diego de Siloé, by José Manuel Gómez-Moreno.
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Santiago is one of the most beautiful and innovative churches and it was one of the most prestigious foundations in 16th century Guadix. The special protection offered by Gaspar de ﾃ」alos, the Bishop of Guadix, Archbishop of Granada and Cardinal of Santiago de Compostela, who was born in this city, was decisive in this respect. He provided lavish funds for the construction of the pantheon for his family and founded the nearby monastery. The church was designed by the great architect and sculptor, Diego de Siloﾃｩ, who, taking a traditional Mudejar temple as a model, in-
troduced some especially innovative elements, such as the monumental portal, the curved cap on the side naves and the frame of the main chapel. It was built by Francisco Centeno between 1533 and 1551. The exterior is particularly attractive for the whiteness of its walls, the irregular layout of the chapels and naves, which give rise to the elegant break in the line of the roof, the ceramic spire on the tower and the monumental Renaissance portal. This portal, finished in 1546, is a piece of great nobility and a magnificent example of Renaissance aesthetics, in
Church of Santiago.
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Church of Santiago. Detail of the timber framing.
which the brilliance of Siloé’s design is complemented by the skill of the stonemason, possibly Cristóbal Nuño. Above the double pilasters, central arch and upper niche, there are capricious decorative elements of candelabras, angels, monsters, emblems, masks and plant friezes which accompany and support the arms of Bishop Antonio del Águila and the Emperor Charles V, with their columnar emblems to the sides. At the bottom of the lower, right-hand pilaster, the figure of a Holy Pilgrim appears almost confused among the profusion of fantastic motifs. On the tower, the spire clad in vitreous ceramics and the jars that bear the cross recall older designs that have been conserved here. Inside, the church is structured in three naves with a small, free-standing main chapel and with side chapels in the lateral naves. These naves have an original design, ending in a curve, which made it possible to open the last chapels with twisted arches and also to curve the frame, creating an extraordinary effect, concentrating the focal point in the main chapel. The central nave has curved pillars supporting semicircular arches 32
and, above them, there is a magnificent polychrome Mudejar coffered ceiling, decorated with woven stars, and tie rods with double corbels showing monstrous figures and plant motifs. The frame of the main chapel takes the form of a huge shell, with quatrefoil cupolas forming the first arch and five panels with coffers which descend to a shell which is very much in the style of Siloé. In the spandrels of the main arch, there are two large shields bearing the arms of Gaspar de Ávalos, the protector of the building. The works of art currently to be seen here are all modern, many of them related to the activities and brotherhoods of Easter week. Of particular note are the Cristo de la Luz, the Virgen de las Lágrimas and the Nazareno (popularly known as El Llavero). Attached to the church is the Convent of Santiago, which belongs to the Order of St Clare, founded by Bishop Ávalos and whose construction began in 1540. It was the first convent for nuns in Guadix and its site had previously been a Roman thermae and, later, an Islamic bathhouse (hammam). On the outside, there are whitewashed walls with overhanging roofs and brick corbels. Entrance to the convent, which is restricted as this is an enclosed order, is through an alleyway which leads to a small brick doorway over which there is an image of the Immaculate Conception. Some of the outstanding features inside the convent are the patio, choir and some of the Baroque images and paintings.
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The monumental scale of the building and the capricious corner balcony, together with its prime site and the picturesque surroundings make this one of the noblest buildings in Guadix. It belonged to the Marquis of Cortes, of the
Pérez de Barradas family, who arrived at the time of the conquest and whose ramifications and alliances lasted into the 19th century, when they received the title of Marquis of Peñaflor, the name which has survived until today.
Its current morphology is the result of a series of remodelling projects undertaken from the 16th to 18th centuries. On the outside, the main facade is extremely sober, yet impressive, with a plain brick wall, barred windows and the only decorations are the four stone coats of arms. On the corners, two towers are capped by open galleries with arches
on octagonal pillars, a characteristic feature of the noble architecture of Guadix. On the left flank, built on the old mediaeval town wall and bearing signs of extensions and reform work, such as a large blind arch, the wall protrudes and is set back apparently randomly, with some walls plastered and others showing the brick bonding and panels. At the angle of both Monumental
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facades, there is a capricious overhanging balcony, with very narrow posts and light arches, a prime viewpoint from which to admire the singular landscape that stretches out before it. Inside, there is a long patio with porticos on two sides, and double galleries of rectilinear depressed arches (recently remade in concrete) on narrow columns of Tuscan marble. The capitals bear the different coats of
arms of previous owners. In the far corner, there is a diaphanous Baroque stairway, covered by an ellipsoidal cupola. The rooms still have some of the old wooden ceilings, the most notable being a trussed ceiling with tie rods that covered the main hall. Some panelled wooden doors have also been conserved. The building is today municipally owned and has been designated as a future local history museum.
Despite having been neglected for years and despite the excessive reforms undertaken in the 20th cen-
The Alcazaba from the Cerro de la Bala belvedere.
tury, the Alcazaba still offers a suggestive silhouette and it is an excellent viewpoint that rises high in the
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Three surrounding perimeters can currently be seen. The first is an esplanade free of all vertical construction except on the eastern side, where for many years there was a football pitch and other school buildings. The most visible remains can be seen in Calle Muralla and Calle Amezcua, with parts of old rammed earth walls, brick and stone work. On the opposite side are the gate and tower mentioned previously, with a stone and mortar wall, extensively reformed. Towards the southern corner of this area is the second perimeter, which is higher and is surrounded by a barbican, creating a fan-shaped area reinforced by three towers towards the southern corner and the remains of clearly visible defensive walls, made of rammed earth, around the entire perimeter. A sturdy tower on Carrera de las Cruces, including a water cistern, the remains
centre of historical Guadix. Its origins are not known for certain, but some authors believe that building began in the 10th century, in the time of the Caliphs, due to its similarity to the Alcazaba of Almeria. Although archaeological research is still in its initial stages, the oldest remains so far identified are a gate and tower of the lower part of the site (south-west corner) dating back to the 11th century. Available information suggests that the configuration of Guadix as a fully-formed city and the consolidation of this Alcazaba as its main military centre, took place in the 12th century, under Almoravid rule or, at the latest, under the Almohads.
of a gate-tower, mentioned previously, near Plaza de Pedro de Mendoza, and the Keep, are the most outstanding features of this fortress. Since the 16th century, it has been modified, reduced and adapted many times, though it was still in military use until the 19th century. The merlons and many of the walls of the Alcazaba were rebuilt in the 1940s but, even so, it has been possible to recover many parts of the original structure. The building has been bought by the City Council and an ambitious rehabilitation plan is being designed, and so access is currently restricted. Monumental
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Descending from the Alcazaba along Calle San Miguel, at number 59, just beneath the city wall, we find this Cave-Museum of ceramics and pottery. It is as simple as it is charming. The museum displays different domestic utensils, mainly ceramics, which were used until relatively recently in houses, farmsteads, taverns and other places where people eat, drink or cook. In addition to the fascinating collection itself, the location of the museum in an original cave, which was later extended and new rooms added to improve the exhibition, makes it a miniature theme park of pottery, a trade with a long tradition in Guadix. Here we can find jars, jugs, pots, plates and other domestic recipients, and more specific specimens of pottery, such as Fajalauza pieces from Granada or the famous jarras accitanas, intricately decorated vases from Guadix, popularly known as the “bride’s jewel box”, a true tribute to the creativity of these artists in clay. There are other domestic and rural objects, such as romanas, a measure for grain, scales, irons and even a carbide lamp. In the kitchen and the
Ceramics. An artisan tradition in Guadix.
pantry, there is an old well, which used to supply water to the house centuries ago. The small collection of clay sculptures by the local artist, Jesús Campaña, is of special interest, with large busts of country people and a curious set of small-scale representations of traditional trades and picturesque characters. A visit to this museum is an excellent complement to a visit to the Barrio de las Cuevas, the Cave Quarter, which will offer more thematic and folkloric background.
Paseo de la Muralla
Continuing northwards on Calle San Miguel and turning into Calle Almorejo (or skirting the Alcazaba along Calle Amezcua and Calle Mu36
La Alcazaba Ceramics Cave-Museum
ralla), we come to Paseo de la Muralla. Here we can enjoy another beautiful panoramic view of Guadix, looking out over the old monastery
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and gardens of Santo Domingo and, further down, San Miguel el Viejo, currently being restored, behind the Magdalena district, with the silhouette of its church crowning the hilltop, and to the left, the caves a stone’s throw away, with their white chimneys growing out of the entrails of the earth.
The walk continues along the western wall of the old city which descended from the Alcazaba to the Ferro Tower, along the edge of the gully occupied by Calle San Miguel. Remains of towers and walls that have disappeared under modern buildings are periodically discovered along the edge.
Placeta del Álamo and Plaza del Conde Luque: the Latin Quarter
Descending this street, we pass Calle de la Tercia and Calle Doctor Oliva on our right, which take us to the upper part of the Latin Quarter, the Convent of the Concepción and from there to another monastery, the Monastery of San Agustín, until we reach the Peñaflor Palace. But if we follow the signposts
for this Monumental Guadix Walk, we will come to the Placeta del Álamo, a calm, charming corner of old Guadix. To the right, we are greeted by an 18th-century portal, with its wooden porch roof which until conserves some wooden pulleys, a testimony to olden times.
Townhouses in the Latin Quarter.
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Opposite, on both sides of the entrance to Calle Marmolillo, the towers with arched galleries of two 16th-century mansions appear to be squaring up to each other in an age-old combat, although in their current state they appear somewhat decrepit. Further up, a bend in the street takes us into a maze of streets and views that seem to have been suspended in time, with numerous townhouses, mansions and more popular dwellings, many with their coats of arms and elegant turrets, and galleries boasting arches and brick pillars, which are so typical of Guadix. Turning down the street, Calle Ă lamo takes us to the Plaza del Conde Luque, passing the facades of two mansions on the right, the first with a discreet Ren-
Palace of the Marquis of Villalegre
Villalegre Palace from Calle Mendoza.
aissance portal which bears the date 1563 on the lintel, and the second with another, older stone door, with small capitals and Gothic imposts, above which there are the coats of arms of the Bourbons and heraldic crosses. And so we come to the Plaza del Conde Luque, originally smaller and more secluded, but which since the 17th century has been enlarged. It is surrounded by the noble houses of the illustrious families of Guadix in times of the conquest, such as the Benavides, the Mendoza (one of whom, Don Pedro Mendoza, was the founder of Buenos Aires) and, of course, the family of Conde Luque. All are very sober on the outside, but they conserve delightful interiors arranged around central patios, full of life and freshness.
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arches with a frame and small pillars which serve as an alfiz. On the roof, ceramic vases are used to support the crosses which cap the building, a very typical tradition of Guadix which is, sadly, disappearing. The walls of the other three facades are the typical panels with bands of brick which, together with the timber frames and ceilings, indicate traditional Mudejar construction techniques, which had long been used in Guadix. The portal, on the other hand, is in the late-Renaissance style, carved in stone and with a lintel. The two enor
Along the Calle Mendoza, with its iron balconies and galleries which indicate the presence of the houses of the nobility, we come to Plaza de Villalegre. Here, we find the second great monumental palace of Guadix. It is the family seat of the Fernรกndez de Cรณrdoba family, a branch of the family of the illustrious soldier, popularly known as the Great Captain, and one of the noblest families of Guadix, who arrived with the conquest. Centuries later, they were to receive the title of Marquis of Villalegre, by which name the palace is known today.
Villalegre Palace. Coats of arms on the facade.
It is a large, robust, rectangular mansion built on the location of a mediaeval Nasrid palace. It was built during the 16th century, with subsequent reforms and additions, and the patio was not terminated until relatively recently. Its powerful facade, entirely of brick on a base of masonry, is flanked by two large towers, very much in the Guadix style, with octagonal pillars and semicircular
mous coats of arms stand out on this faรงade and together with the central balcony, they give it an air of the dignity and pride of the nobility. Above the lintel, the date 1592 was added later, and 1946 in a more recent restoration. The interior is arranged around a beautiful patio with a double gallery of arches on slim marble columns Monumental
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whose corner capitals bear heraldic shields. Of these arcades, that opposite the portal and the one on the right-hand side were built recently, there having been no arches in these positions before. The rooms and
stairway boast fine wooden ceilings, especially that over the stairs. Pedro Antonio de Alarcón set part of his novel El Niño de la Bola in this palace.
Calle Santa María del Buen Aire
Calle Santa María del Buen Aire with the Cathedral in the background.
We end this route around Monumental Guadix on Calle Santa Maria del Buen Aire, a fitting end to our stroll. As everywhere in Guadix, this street is a monumental and historical continuum, and the buildings show a progression of dif40
ferent styles and functions. The majestic facade of the Cathedral, of which we can see the delicate St James door, is the perfect backdrop and this offers a new opportunity to enjoy it again. On the right-hand side, on the corner of the
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square, is the old Royal Hospital (today the employment service offices), a building which, according to tradition, was raised on the site of an old synagogue. Archaeological excavations in the area have not identified any remains of a synagogue but they have unearthed remains of the main sewers from Roman times, parts of which can still be seen inside the building. All that remains of the original hospital is on the short side of the square, a modest brick construction and some wooden beamed ceilings in some of the rooms and the stairway. This is followed by two small townhouses with historicist decoration which are the product of reform work performed in the 20th century. The first is known as the House of Don Adriano and the second belongs to the Divina Infantita School. The illustrious author, Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, was born in the small street just to the side of the Royal Hospital, called the Callejón del Hospital Viejo, or Old Hospital Alley, in 1833.
The facing side is occupied, in an almost uninterrupted succession, by the bishop’s palace, the Roman curia and the Cathedral. What we can see today is the result of a thorough remodelling and extension of the 16th-century building, carried out by Bishop Fernández del Rincón in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as other more recent changes. The result is a historicist building on the outside (half neo-Gothic, half neo-Renaissance), which has, on the side adjacent to the Cathedral, a small, raised walkway which communicates with the Cathedral, creating a charming space under whose arcade modern Guadix can be
seen and, in the distance, the rocky outcrops of the plain. In the Roman curia, some elements of the original 16th-century structure can still be seen, such as the arches of the patio, numerous wooden ceilings with corbels bearing Gothic tracery and, above all, the beautiful staircase of the old children’s choir, with its delicate carved stone hand rail and a frame of octa– gonal timbers decorated with geometric Mudejar designs and clusters of mocarabe, or stalactite work, in the decorated ceiling. As already mentioned, this area and the area above it is known as the Latin Quarter and, without undervaluing any of the other neighbourhoods of old Guadix, it contains an enormously picturesque and historical collection of buildings and streets. Bordered by Calle Concepción, Calle Santa Maria del Buen Aire, Calle San Miguel, Calle Doctor Oliva and Calle Ibáñez, it occupies the site of the old Roman city, which was later the Jewish quarter and the old silk market in mediaeval times, and was a bustling centre of trade in Islamic Guadix. After the conquest, the neighbourhood was settled by many families of hidalgos (a rank of Spanish nobility), clerics and other institutions of high intellectual rank which gave name to the neighbourhood, for their “Latinness” or their use of Latin as a cultured language. The accumulation of historical monumental heritage is, therefore, enormous. As well as the novelist Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, this neighbourhood was also the birthplace and home of the writer Mira de Amezcua, Magistral Domínguez and other leading names of the intellectual life of Guadix. Monumental
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S E C O N D I T I N E R A RY THE CAVES OF GUADIX Our second route begins in the Paseo de la Catedral, a recently developed area, which is very open and a sharp contrast with the narrow, winding streets of the old city centre. From here, and from the esplanade which stretches out before the Cathedral, we can sense the monumental strength of this building and its surroundings. At the same time, we can understand how it became a border between the Guadix of today and the Guadix of yesterday. Paseo de la Catedral runs parallel to what was once the mediaeval city wall and chemin de ronde (the watchman’s round along the walls), which defended the city at
Ferro Tower and Arabic city walls
The city walls of the Islamic medina of Wadi As (Guadix) stretched 1,230 metres and enclosed an area of over 10 hectares. Its trapezoidal layout can be seen in the street plan today: parallel to Calle San Miguel, it continued along Calle Cruz de Piedra, Calle Puerta Alta and Calle Ancha, continuing through Plaza de las Palomas and Paseo de la Catedral until it finally reaches the Ferro Tower, the best preserved defensive construction, which protected one of the gates to the city. Its decrepit walls reveal its rammed earth construction (with pebbles, earth and lime, which was then plastered over), on a masonry base. Although many quadrangular towers with rammed earth walls crowded the whole defensive perimeter at regular intervals, all that remains of most of
this point. In fact, some 16th-century documents mention its existence and that there were even rooms built into the walls. Excavations in recent years in preparation for the new Cathedral Museum unearthed some of its remains. The city walls ran from Plaza de la Constitución along all of this flank, passing behind the Bishop’s Palace (today, the Instituto de Estudios Pedro Suárez, an institution for research into the culture, history, religions, geography and art of the district), and continued around the back of the Villalegre Palace as far as the Ferro Tower.
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them are the stone bases, some of which are still visible in Calle Almorejo. The date of construction is difficult to determine, but some authors maintain that the city walls of Guadix were raised in the time of the Caliphs. Whether this is true or not, what is certain is that in the mid-12th century, the walls must have been of considerable importance for the Arabic geographer, al-Idrisi, to mention them in his Geography. The Ferro Tower is at the beginning of Calle San Miguel, one of the main streets of Guadix today, as it has been for centuries, since it runs along a deep depression in the terrain and it has had important strategic and urban functions. In mediaeval Guadix, it was a kind of watchman’s round that separated the centre of the medina from the outskirts. Under the Christians, it was still a street which brought communication and structure to a very active neighbourhood where the church of San Miguel was founded, with the Monastery of Santo Domingo further up and, behind, adjoining the Cave Quarter, the Magdalena church and neighbourhood. Up this street, opposite the old church of San Miguel, there is a plot where, not too many years ago, remains of the old Argaric settlement were found, together with other Roman remains and, of course, Islamic remains on top of them, as was usual, forming strata and different levels of great archaeological wealth. Old church of San Miguel This was one of the four parishes created after the conquest, and it was built on an old mosque. This church 44
was soon replaced by another smaller one for which the tower that we see today was built. Taking the arms of the Bishop Antonio del Águila, which we can see on the tower, as a guide, we can place its construction at between 1537 and 1546. Around 1560, it was decided to renovate the church, in a more ambitious project, to bring in the Renaissance style. The main promoters of this renovation were the Fernández de Córdoba family, patrons of the main chapel. The design, possibly by Juan de Arredondo (then the master builder of the Cathedral), reveals unexpected airs of grandness in comparison with the other parish churches of Guadix, but the crisis which arose after the Morisco rebellion in 1568 paralysed construction work. Years later, and at different times, the Fernández de Córdoba family tried to resume building (which was to continue until the end of the 17th century), of which all that had been completed was the east end. The building was nevertheless consecrated as a church (as also occurred in the case of the church of San Torcuato). Of the parts that were constructed, the breadth of the crossing is remarkable, with its coffered domes and vaults, the high main arches and the springing of the vaults in the unfinished side chapels which can be seen from outside. The stone used in the lower walls is believed by some to be the remains of a Roman temple, though this is improbable. Today, the church is being rehabilitated and is closed for worship; services have been transferred to the neighbouring parish church of Santo Domingo. Next to the east end of the church is the charming Mensafíes Arch, which used to be the city gate
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that led to the village of Paulenca. Behind this arch, we can lose ourselves in an intricate labyrinth of narrow
streets and small houses, all imbued with the flavour of the old and the unusual.
Monument to Cascamorras
Going up Calle San Miguel, we come to the junction with Calle Real de Santo Domingo, at the beginning of which a monument has recently been raised to Cascamorras, one of the most curious figures in the festive and religious traditions of the old city, and which illustrates the age-old rivalry between Guadix and the city of Baza. This character is related to the discovery of the image of the Pietà, around the year 1490, by a citizen of Guadix, Juan Pedernal. From
5 to 9 September, the unsuccessful attempt by Cascamorras to rescue the image is commemorated. He appears in effigy in this monument in his full costume, as a buffoon or harlequin with bright colours and a bladder as his only weapon. Behind, on ceramic panels, there are different scenes representing his departure and arrival in Guadix. In 2006, this fiesta was declared to be of National Tourist Interest, a “must-see” event.
The Magdalena neighbourhood and belvedere
Walking up Calle Real de Santo Domingo, we see to our left, the Church of Santo Domingo (today the parish church of San Miguel). Originally, this was the church of the Monastery of Santo Domingo, founded by the Catholic Monarchs in
1500. Behind the modest exterior, in which there is a portal with simple Renaissance motifs and hounds with torches in their mouths, an emblem of the Dominican order, hides one of the most spectacular places of worship in Guadix, constructed in the
Church of St Dominic. Detail of the timber framing.
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first half of the 16th century. Here, the beauty of the Mudejar timber framing over the central nave, main chapel and the old chapel of the Rosary shines with a personality all of its own. The capricious figures in the filigree of the woven stars are spectacularly enriched by a dazzling polychrome finish in which there are curious portraits, the shields of patrons and of the order and a whole repertoire of garlands, grotesques and other chimeras typical of ornate Renaissance art. In the old chapel of the Rosary, the perfect interlocking of the octagonal frame can be seen in the ten-pointed star, with the centres adorned with golden fleuron. At the west end of the church is the new chapel of the Rosary, with its niche for the image, which was constructed in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. It displays Baroque ornamental and spatial features and is completed with a series of images alluding to Virgen del Rosario. The Magdalena neighbourhood, under its modest appearance, has a very important history, as it is considered the original site of the Mozarabic community during Islamic times. Later, it was home to the Muladies, or renegade Christians who had converted to Islam. The heart of the neighbourhood is Calle Real de la Magdalena, today somewhat disfigured by the renovation and the ruin of many of its buildings, but it still preserves the intimate, popular nature of yesteryear. The church which gives the neighbourhood its name was founded quite late and its construction, which began in the mid-16th century, shows features 46
typical of the Mudejar tradition, with wooden roofs and a tower, which is typical of Guadix churches, and a simple belfry. The door was built in 1621, and is early Baroque, with the shield of Bishop Tosantos and the image of the beata peccatrix, or “holy sinner”, Mary Magdalene. In the immediate area, there are some interesting historical houses, such as number 20 of this street, called the Bishop’s House, just on the corner of the road to the Paulenca Gate with its simple Tuscan brick portal. The Magdalena belvedere Going behind the church, though it is also accessible from other directions, we find this curious belvedere which is a fine vantage point, perfectly integrated into the surroundings, where we can admire the spectacular landscape of Guadix. Singular buildings stand proud among the closely-packed houses, and we can see, from left to right, San Miguel, behind the two towers of the Villalegre Palace and, beyond, the impressive bulk of the Cathedral; then comes San Torcuato with its tower close up to the body of the crossing and, a little to the right and nearer, the side of the Convent of the Concepción. This is followed by the red and white profile of the old Monastery of San Agustín, later the Seminary, with its fine bell-gable. Behind it, we can just see the point of the spire of the Santiago church and, continuing upwards, we come to the imposing bulk of the Alcazaba. From here, to the right, the architectural scale descends in the curious Cave Quarter, which reaches almost as far as where we are standing.
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The Cave Quarter
We leave the districts of San Miguel and Magdalena to enter one of the most unusual physical and human environments in Guadix. Despite the enormous wealth of the architectural and urban heritage of the city, there is nothing so surprising or excep-
tional as its famous neighbourhood of the Caves, which is even larger than the old city centre itself, in a quite extraordinary setting. In many cities, and much more so in the past, caves were quite commonly
The Cave Quarter.
used as dwellings and they are yet another example of the capacity of human beings to adapt to the natural environment. But in this case, what is particularly astonishing is its size; in the not too distant past, the caves housed almost half the population. Even today, despite the fall in population seen over recent decades, this is an area which is still full of human and urban activity and which is even recovering once again becoming more dignified and valued,
both by outsiders and the traditional inhabitants. Whether it is viewed from a vantage point or strolling through its intricate paths and trails, like country alleyways, it is surprising to see how this ancient way of life has been conserved, something which has been lost in most places, but which survives here and is even being expanded as an alternative for tourism and rural dwellings. The phenomenon has been made possible because, as well as the specific charMonumental
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acteristics of these dwellings, which maintain a constant temperature in winter and summer, there are now new modern conveniences which were once unthinkable (water, electricity, telephone, asphalted streets). In the very apt words of J. Sermet, this cave landscape, like everything else in Guadix, is not to be described but to be seen. Its strange profile offers an absolute, astonishing contrast between the yellowish clay into which the caves are excavated, the white of the simple facades and fences, the chimneys protruding from the earth behind and, here and there, the small pens for animals, a vine or flowerpots forming a small garden. But underneath this picturesque surface, there is a way of life based on organisations of artisans and very complex family and ethnic groups which, from the social point of view, are mainly made up of the less favoured sections of society. Old photographs and the images exhibited in the New Hermitage can give as a vague idea of the misery and deprivation that has always been suffered here, although the panorama today is somewhat improved. There are no records of the existence of this area in mediaeval Guadix, and so its origins are believed to lie in the first revolt of the Mudejars, shortly after the conquest in 1489, and their subsequent expulsion, and especially after the rebellion of 1568, after which many returned here and blended in with the Roma and other 48
minorities. Recently, this theory and the theory that the Moriscos made up the majority of cave dwellers is being questioned. What is known for certain is that the population of this neighbourhood and of the surrounding district practically doubled in the final years of the 19th century, the first decades of the 20th century and until 1960, when the decline, now more or less stabilised, began. The social and human importance of the caves can be seen from the fact that, in around 1985, the Santiago neighbourhood had 3,223 caves but only 2,684 houses. Each cave, with small variations, has a fairly standard structure which is, in all cases, adapted to its own terrain. On the outside, they have a small facade, with an overhanging tiled roof covering the entrance door and, at most, one or two windows to provide light in the kitchen or the front room. Inside the door is the living room, which leads through to several bedrooms. There are pens, a stable and a store or granary, since most of the inhabitants live an eminently rural lifestyle. Although some private houses may be visited, the Cave Museum of Popular Customs can offer a very interesting insight into the advantages and disadvantages of this type of dwelling and the lifestyle it offers. The official route signposted in the streets is one possible visit, though there are other alternative means of discovering this singular neighbourhood in all its dimensions.
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Plaza Ermita Nueva
This square and its surrounding area are impregnated with special historical significance thanks to the presence here in the early 20th century of Father Poveda, (now, St Pedro Poveda), who performed such excellent evangelical and educational work in this neighbourhood. His time here was brief, but the seeds he sowed have lasted over the years, and testimony to this are the recentlyerected monument, the plaque which commemorates his canonisation, the school he founded and other signs of gratitude for his selfless work. The New Hermitage of Nuestra Se単ora de Gracia The origins of the hermitage date back to the 16th century, when it was just a cave, like the dwellings around it. It was remodelled in the early-20th century and again in 1944. In 1964,
the new place of worship was inaugurated next to the old hermitage, which then became a parish church. The church is a modest but spacious building. Access to the old cave-hermitage is by a short, narrow passageway on the left-hand side. The architectural scale, the temperature and even our spirits change radically when we enter. Despite being excavated from the earth and very small in size, it still boasts its nave, several side chapels connected by passageways, with a pulpit in one of them and a small presbytery, with an image of Nuestra Se単ora de Gracia, attributed to Domingo Chavarito, painted in the first half of the 18th century. This image received its canonical coronation as Patron Saint of the Caves in 1960. At the foot of the altar, there is a relic of St Pedro Poveda and all
The Cave Quarter. Old Hermitage of Nuestra Se単ora de Gracia.
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around, there is a series of ornamental motifs in the style of the local popular culture. One of the chapels contains the altar of the Child Jesus Saviour of the World, which became part of the collective memory of Guadix through the novel by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, El Niño de la Bola, which includes descriptions of some of the ancestral customs and festivities of this neighbourhood. Cave Museum of Popular Customs The City Council has adapted a cave for use as an ethnographic museum in this square. The Museum contains an exhibition of a cave-house and the spaces where agricultural implements and animals were kept, complete with all of the
Cave-Museum of Popular Customs.
furniture, chattels and utensils typical of these dwellings and which formed part of the way of life and working tools used here. And so, at the entrance, we can see the mesa de camilla, a table draped with a thick tablecloth and the space underneath for a brazier, a sewing machine, copper artefacts and the earthenware vessel, the botijo or pipo, which kept drinking water cool. The second room contains some of the popular characters of the city and the surrounding districts, such as the figure dressed as Cascamorras (a contemporary of Floreo, another atavistic character who took part in a peculiar traditional dance, the baile de ánimas, or “dance of the souls”) and two others with typical local costumes. Further inside is the bedroom, the true sanctuary
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for goat-herding accessories and, at the end, a small pigsty, all full of implements, objects, tools and all manner of gadgets, each one stranger than the last, which will be unrecognisable to younger visitors, but not so to their elders, especially those who have lived or worked in the country. .
Cave-Museum. Interior view.
of the home, with a metal bedstead, linen sheets and a red damask bedcover, the bedside table with a jug and a glass for the last drink of the day, a spittoon, a trunk, blanket, mirror, oil lamp and a small washstand with a jug and basin. Entering, on the left, we find the kitchen, the stable, the room for the agricultural instruments and another
Finally, on the right of the entrance, there is a newly built ancillary room used to display publications and to show audiovisuals. All of this is offered to visitors with great simplicity but also with the care, attention and directness that characterises popular culture and the generous, friendly nature of the local people. Adjacent, another cave is devoted to Father Poveda, his foundation and the teaching work he started, and other caves in the area are being rehabilitated for use as alternative tourist accommodation.
Cerro de la Bala Belvedere
The signposts will guide you through this labyrinthine neighbourhood to an open area with trees from which you can walk up to the Bala belvedere. From this splendid vantage point, you can once again contemplate the singular human and urban landscape of old Guadix, but from a completely different angle, completely surrounded by the caves, with the looming presence of the Alcazaba to the north, the belfries, towers and spires of churches and palaces, with the Cathedral behind them and, in the distance, the trees on the sur-
rounding plains silhouetted against the cliffs of clay. To the east, the Vega, or plains, which lead us along the leafy ZalabĂ Valley and beyond to the Marquesado del Cenete, another surprising landscape. Looking to the south, we see the crests and droversâ€™ roads against the blue sky and, in the distance, depending on the time of the year, the white or brown peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Just this sight, where the hand of nature and the hand of man have come together to create a unique landscape, is worth a visit to Guadix. Monumental
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BIBLIOGRAPHY Numerous books and research articles have been used as sources of information about the historical, artistic, archaeological, geographical, anthropological and cultural heritage of Guadix. It is impossible to list them all but we would recommend that those interested in learning more to about the city consult the following guides, which are for general information but which have a solid scientific basis:
- ASENJO SEDANO, CARLOS. Guadix: guía histórica y artística. Granada, Diputación Provincial, 1989 (3ª 1996). - FERNÁNDEZ SEGURA, FRANCISCO JOSÉ. Nueva Guía de Guadix. Encrucijada de culturas. Guadix. Instituto de Estudios “Pedro Suárez”, 2000. - RUIZ PÉREZ, RICARDO; RODRÍGUEZ TITOS, JUAN. Guadix y su tierra. Granada, IdealDiputación Provincial, 2005. Colección “Granada en tus manos”, nº 6.
For tourist information visit: www.guadixymarquesado.com
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THE ROUTE OF THE CAVES DWELLINGS
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Guadix, known as Colonia Iulia Gemella Acci to the Romans and Wadi-As to the Arabs, is a city blessed by its prime geographical location, by a wealth of monuments and by its historical centre. Its main attraction is the landscape, nestling at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in a site known as the “Hoya de Guadix”, a depression surrounded by spectacular stacks of clayey soil which, for centuries, have been moulded by the wind, the water and by the hand of man. With the passing seasons, the landscape becomes a varied collage of reds, ochres, greens, blues, whites and greys, a gift to the eyes and to the spirit.