Church of San Nicolás de la Villa: The building.
The Church of San Nicolás de la Villa has a floor with three naves arranged from west to east, the central one being wider and higher than the rest, and its apse consists of three rectangular chapels. This makes an essential difference compared to the general tone of the Fernandine Churches, where the polygonal apse with buttresses outside is the main feature. The naves are connected among them through three big pointed arches, supported by cross-shaped pillars with red marble bases. The central nave is covered by a stunning wooden ceiling made in 1558, with a polygonal structure and decorated with octagons. On the other hand, the side naves are covered by false Gothic groin vaults, hiding the original wooden ceiling.
At the foot of the nave of the Gospel, we can see the entrance to the inside of the tower, as well as the Chapel of Baptism, a small rectangular space that can be accessed through two round arches. The chapel is thought to have been built between 1540 and 1555 under the mandate of Leopoldo de Austria, as his crests are located in the spandrels of the entrance arches, whose traces belong to Hernán Ruiz II the Young and the decoration, to Sebastián de Peñarredonda. The nave finishes with two small sections of Gothic ribbed vaults, like in the nave of the Epistle.
In the nave of the Epistle, there are the rooms of the church, which can be accessed through a door flanked by two Doric marble columns, supporting a beautiful triangular parted pediment. The clearly classical façade has quality reliefs, of which we can highlight the representations of the "Evangelistas" or the "Anunciación de María" (The Annunciation of Mary). We will explain these rooms in the section dedicated to Altars and Chapels of this magnificent building.
The main façade of the Church of San Nicolás de la Villa is not preserved, as it was demolished in the 18th century in order to build the choir and open a window, which later became rose window. However, its tracery was also reformed. It is thought it could have followed the typical scheme of the churches in the 13th century, flanked by buttresses and an entrance with a pointed opening and moulded archivolts over small columns.
The façade on the side of the Epistle does keep its medieval appearance and, as we can see, it follows the typical scheme of the Fernandine Churches, with the difference that it is protected by a 16th-century portico, covering the remains of a likely roof supported by round modillions, which was very traditional in our city. The portico is believed to have been originally wider, more specifically occupying part of what the antesacristy is today. With an almost rectangular floor, it is elevated through round arches supported by plain-shafted columns with reused capitals, probably from Caliphal times.
The façade on the side of the Gospel does not keep its medieval appearance. It is thought to have been remodelled after finishing the works in the tower, whose building was commissioned to architect Hernán Ruiz II the Young, after completing the Chapel of Baptism. The Plateresque façade is characterized by its great simplicity, where we can highlight an alcove on the second section containing the image of the main saint in the temple.
The tower was erected in 1496 according to an inscription on its base: "This tower was built at the expense of this Church in times of Pope Alexander VI, and the Very High Prince Fernando and Princess Isabel when Granada was taken during the bishopric of Iñigo Manrique. It was finished on the 13th May 1496 before Our Lord Jesus Christ". It is a great original example in Córdoba, as an octagonal section was erected over a square one, and at the top, there is a bells section which was added in the 18th century.
If you are wondering what to do in Córdoba, we recommend you visit the Fernandine Churches hiring one of our guided tours. We will dedicate there a special chapter to the Church of San Nicolás de la Villa. Choose to do high quality sightseeing with qualified staff. Do not hesitate, ArtenCórdoba is the best option.